Customer Disservice

As we can see here- the kettle keeps quiet because it knows better than to rebut.

Having worked in the service sector for some time, I have come to the unfortunate conclusion that the residents of Singapore have the idea of customer service totally wrong.

Most of us like to think that good service is a one-way street and that the onus is on the sales associate to provide a fantastic, out-of-the-world, shopping experience.

Even the Singapore government has jumped on the bandwagon by starting numerous initiatives to raise service standards like the Go-the-Extra-Mile for Service (GEMS), but all of these are in vain because they are based on the fact that the customer is always right.

Let me tell you how this mentality can go very wrong; I was serving a big family who was buying something for a young girl, everything was going very well until halfway through when the aunt approached me with a confrontation tone:

Aunt: “How much is the item?”

Me: “Well without the…”

Aunt: “Can you speak softer? I’m buying it as a gift for her and I don’t want her parents to know.”

Me (softer): “Well without…”

Aunt: “Can you speak softer?”

Me (so soft the aunt had to lean in to hear me): ”Well without the clothing…”

Aunt: “I just want to know how much is it naked.”

Me: “It is $34.90 but…”

Aunt: “Okay, can you swipe my credit card first because I don’t want her parents to beat me to it?”

Me: “Well I’m not the cashier maybe you would like to…”

Aunt: “Then can you go and tell the cashier to do it?”

Me: “Ok…”

Aunt: “Now. Can you do it now?”

Me: “Ok.”

Having only managed to complete one sentence that contained only one word which was worth only two letters, you could just imagine how pissed I was at the end of that conversation.

Now the purpose of this article isn’t to whine about my terrible customers but to call for a moment of reflection and to remind us that salespersons are humans too.

More importantly I would like to share with you my readers the “correct” attitude to carry with you when you shop to not only get the best experience for yourself but also create a win-win situation when everyone parts happily.

The idea here is that sales associates are required by the nature of their jobs to provide a minimal level of good customer service. What you do to reciprocate that goodwill could very well define the rest of your shopping experience. Even a simple smile would suffice.

The salesperson, just like any human being, likes the feeling of being appreciated. And when they feel that they are, they will more than likely go the extra mile for you.

You want these people on your side. They know their store and products inside out; what are the good deals, the hot promotions and which products are the better ones.

If you still aren’t convinced about treating sales associates nicely here’s one more nugget of information that might change your mind- we love to gossip about our customers, especially the bad ones. Some of us do it in the storeroom during our breaks…while others like to write about them. 🙂


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