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Customer Service in Singapore

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Posts: 961
Joined: Tue, 24 May 2005

Postby banana » Mon, 07 Jul 2008 1:31 pm

ksl wrote:
You see it everywhere in the world, it's just that we've given a name to it and for some bizarre reason, embraced it as indicative of our culture
Such low class don't you think, and I thought i was bad! :) No offence meant really, it's just so funny, that where I from I only see it in the workingmens' club. :( on a bingo night, but i guess it serves its purpose. Until you meet the one that doesn't give a shit. Then what do you do? :-| Just curious.

I'm not sure what you mean. Who doesn't give a shit about what?
some signatures are more equal than others

Petales Soufflez!
Posts: 110
Joined: Sun, 08 Jun 2008
Location: Shanghai, China

Postby Petales Soufflez! » Thu, 24 Jul 2008 5:22 pm

From what I could see on my last trip home, customer service as far as I've had it was really quite good. But like with animals, they could be naturally friendly, or you must know how to bring out the friendliness in them :P .

From the POSB to Wild Wild Wet, Sentosa, Zoo, restaurants and shops, I find that most people were ready to go out of their way (maybe because we are quite kaypo as a nation) to help - if they can communicate with you and vice versa.

To illustrate, at most fastfood joints we now use retirees. They speak and understand English, but if you do Mandarin or dialect, you'll do even better. Because if you do not have an alternative way to verify what they've understood or not of your demand, it wouldn't work. I asked "auntie" to change my pepsi to a rootbeer in Mandarin and she said no problem, my dear. The Filipino tourist behind me asked for a "7-Up Small Size One" she heard "7-Up and Small Fries". The tourist kept repeating her order with no attempt to improve understanding until I stepped in and helped her rephrase her order to "Small 7-Up" which was understood immediately. Then auntie tried to add it to MY order!!! :roll:

In Italy, my French spouse would get upset if we eat Chinese and they serve the noodles or rice 1st and wouldn't serve the dishes till we have finished consuming it. But if you understand that in Italy pasta or risotto is a 1st dish, then you just have to remember to tell the waiter that you want the noodles to be served at the same time as the dishes and not Italian-style. When I cook I serve my dishes as and when they're ready which upset the spouse since in France you eat one course at a time and it has to be served to everyone at the same time.

Then the fact that we are hiring more and more foreigners in the service industry does have an impact. We ate at a rather expensive local restaurant in Sentosa. The Filipino waitress has a good service attitude and no problems with English. But when my mom asked if she could also have yellow noodles in her lobster laksa, the girl looked at us blankly and kept pointing to the picture of their laksa (with only white noodles) as in like that's how a laksa should be. If she's local, she'll know that we can also have yellow noodles in our laksa. A local Malay waiter came over and no problem, of course you can have yellow noodles in your laksa too!

They use many Chinese in foodcourts nowadays. If you order Chicken rice, they have no problems with hello I want roasted or white chicken, set A, B etc. But an American girl turned up asking to buy just the soup and the guy blanked out. Kept wanting to sell her the chicken and when she kept saying no he started to ignore her and pretend she wasn't standing there. I had to tell him in Mandarin that she just wanted the soup and couldn't he just sell it to her for 50 cents? And that's what he did.

But service in Sim Lim Square sucked. And that was because most sellers were just not motivated enough to sell. Nothing to do with communication. It depressed me so much I lost interest in buying. Maybe they only want to sell to ang mohs because they thought they could chop them :P .

I think that more training should be given to service staff in Singapore and that as customers we also need to encourage good service with a good attitude and some readiness to help prompt it. And not hesitate to provide (constructive) feedback. Because if we come across simply as "difficult" or "painful" most people will automatically put themselves on the defensive and justify to themselves that we can be ignored.

Though I've yet to find the courage to tell shopkeepers and salespeople that they should really stop hounding me when I walk into a shop because I like to figure out the goods and prices unobserved and that if I need help I'll ask for it. :?
Je pense donc je suis. Le reste du temps, je ne suis qu'une fleur.

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