Monday, December 15, 2008

there's something about ..... customer service

We often heard that Singaporean are nasty customers. I wouldn't disagree because to some extend, I am nasty. Nasty to customer service officers.

It's not my fault really. Or rather, yes.. I had a problem which is why I called them or speak to them. Otherwise, why is there a need to have Customer Service officers if the end result is still "no".

Or maybe Customer Service Officers are stationed wherever they are, or in call centres to tell customers "no" nicely.

But, I never take "no" as an answer. I am nasty. But I am only nasty if their response is below par.

Just like how I called Credit Card companies and tell them to waive off my subscription charges and so often they obliged.

This is a story of 3 customer service situations I encounter.



I have been a customer of Starhub since Day 1. Not necessary the biggest fan but I am a customer.

One day, my wife exclaimed that my reward points just expired. The numbers looks big, something like 3000 over points.

You know these things, for months and months when it's there, you don't take notice, and when it expired, it alerted you.

And so my wife asked me to talk to them about reinstatement of my expired points.

And so I call 1633.

Moomooman: Hi, (my verification details) my starhub reward points just expired, could you please reinstate them for me.

Customer Service officer (CSO): No. Sorry we can't do that.

At this junction, the response from them shocks me. There wasn't any niceties, no beat-around-the-bushes, no "let me check", no "hold on a moment and let me check". Nothing.

Her response was as immediate as the end of my sentence.

Me: why can't you do that?

CSO: We can't. Once it's expired, it's expired.

Me: I dunno it was expired until I saw the bill.

CSO: It was stated in last month's bill that it will be expiring.

me: I didn't notice the last month's bill, and there wasn't even any instructions on how to redeem those points.

CSO: you have to log in into Internet with your user id and password.

Me: So you are assuming that I know how to operate internet and I am rich enough to have a computer to do that?

CSO: Or you could call in and we could redeem for you.

Me: I don't even know what's on offer.

CSO: It's in the internet.

Me: Anyway, I want to speak to the person in charge of reward points.

CSO: They would still not be able to reinstate the points for you.

Me: I still want to speak to them.

My line was transfered. This time round, a gentlemen manages me and he was polite, apologetic and promised to put up my request and get back to me the next day.

My reinstatement was approved. In fact, immediately, that gentlement redeem my points for $$ reduction off my next bill. And I realised that whatever it was reinstated was worth about $100.



Who isn't a fan of Ikea? yes... they may not necessary be durable furnitures, but their accessories rock!

And being a member called "Friends", I get to again gain points for every purchased.

Recently, I was making some big purchases on behalf of my client, (That comes as part of my job description) but I forgot to bring along my card to gain points.

And I thought, well, just have to come back on another trip then.

On my next trip, I went over to the "friends" counter. I brought along my receipt and my card, and I asked them to top-up my points.

Yes. I sounded like it was so natural. So logical. So possible.

Until, the CSO told me that this can't be done. She explained that points can only be given at the cashiers at POINT of purchase. And that they do not have the equipment to do that.

I knew it was pointless to argue. And So I decided to go to the cashier instead.

At the cashier, the cashier told me that she can't do that because she can only add points if the purchase is made on that day. She can't "backdate".

Not giving up, I decided to go to the customer service counters. There wasn't any sections that would deal with such things. I mean, how many people would even bother to ask for such things? Probably me. I am a sadist. I like to torture CSO.

I didn't know which counter to go, until I saw a CSO walking past me. She is probably the manager so I shall call her CSM.

I stopped her and told her my full story. She repeated that this was not possible.... UNTIL I gave that "ARE U KIDDING ME" look... and she immediately told me that they could top up for me only for "THIS TIME ROUND". And she told me to go to the "friends" counter.

I told this CSM that the other CSO at "friends" counter told me that this could not be done, and this CSM told me that she will call her to approve it.

And I remain a fan of Ikea.


This is customer service of a different type.

This HK cafe situated along Siglap Road was a totally different customer service experience. I really have to compliment the chinese waitress with her product knowledge.

In times like this, it's always good to know that there are people there who bother to know their products to give their customers a good all-round experience.

Me: 小姐,请给我一碟 “猪肠粉”(chee chiong fun)

waitress: 先生,对不起,我们只有肠粉,不是猪的。

Told you, it was a good all-round experience. It was amusing.

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