t Double Yellow's Musings: Serving You <i>wif</i> Pride
The warped mind of Double Yellow craves for humor everyday. His daily dose comes from The Straits Times, The Sunday Times, Today, Channelnewsasia, etc. He also thinks that because of this preamble, this blog will never get featured in the local media. And of course, please read the Disclaimer before embarking on the journey.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Serving You wif Pride

Welkum Sir, please come in. How may I helpch you?
Good evening Ma’am, we gaw a new collection of shoes. Would you like to see them?

The articulation aside, such statements from retail sales staff are rare in Singapore. The gahmen and the big shopping malls in Singapore realize this shortcoming and seem to have put in place an extensive training program for their sales assistants. But in our drive to be super-duper efficient and to quickly reap the benefits (read $$) of the extra effort, we may have created a ‘plastic’ culture among the service personnel.

In true National Education style, businesses which provide public services have tried drum the notion of customer service in their shops. How? By blatantly telling the customer that their customer service assistants are doing their job with delight. I found this sign on a public bus....

.... the driver is supposedly serving me with PRIDE. But to put a plastic sign like that smacks of arrogance. If there is any kind of pride in the customer service staff, it is for me, the customer, to determine that and if necessary make it known. You don’t become a world-class service company by putting up a sign like that when the actual service leaves much to be desired.

I’m still scratching my head as to how we can call our services world class when we still have stuff like this around….


Blogger AG said...

i think they meant, their employees (should) take pride in serving you. whether they do or not is another matter. :X

there was this lady serving me really politely, mouthing all the right words, but her face said otherwise.

while we're complaining about the quality of service, we might want to take a look at how we treat them. singaporeans aren't exactly known for their graciousness. :X

8:24 AM  
Blogger doubleyellow said...

AG, i think u bring up an important point. Is customer service being forced on retail staff here? Cdnt agree more on the way sporeans treat the retail staff...

i think we need more public education but not in the form of another "be gracious" campaign :)

6:50 PM  
Blogger Heavenly Sword said...

Singaporeans in general (including both service staff and customers) seem to feel uncomfortable making any sort of eye contact...And that, I think, is the root of all the service-related problems...

9:15 PM  
Blogger doubleyellow said...

ah HS, interesting point that... which leads me to the question as to whether singaporeans feel a sense of shame serving their fellow countrymen? is that also prob why singaporeans are hesitant to take up occupations like part-time maids?

10:03 PM  
Blogger AG said...

right, you know even though it's been said before and all, i think singaporeans tend to lord over people who are serving them, trying to squeeze out every last drop of service, freebies, discounts, etc.. they can get.

i always make a point to say thanks to those who are serving me, whether they are polite or not doesn't matter, as long as i myself am. but those places with good service makes going there a pleasure.

eye contact is the most important point IMHO. when they look past you and ask what you want, sometimes i feel like i'm transparent. :/

2:33 AM  
Blogger doubleyellow said...

hey AG, yeah... i think a good place to start would be for the customer to say thanks to all retail staff.

Both you and HS bring up this issue of 'eye-contact'... i wonder if there is anything the customers can do to resolve this problem? i mean, rather than relying on the gahmen to solve it for us :)

5:52 AM  
Blogger Heavenly Sword said...

Govt can make 'eye contact' strictly compulsory...Otherwise, fine $500! :) (What can customers do? I doubt we can do anything if the service staff don't even look at us!)

8:04 AM  
Blogger doubleyellow said...

haha HS, thats a fine system that you suggest there... :)

maybe the next time a retail staff does not make 'eye contact', maybe the customer should go... "excuse me, are you talking to me?" :)

8:16 AM  
Blogger Heavenly Sword said...

I have another proposal - an Eye Contact Campaign :)

8:40 AM  
Blogger AG said...

i think so far the only successful campaign is the "stop at two" campaign. lol~ it's still working. XD

8:48 AM  
Blogger Heavenly Sword said...

The 'Stop-At-Two' campaign is too successful - people are stopping at one... :)

7:15 PM  
Blogger The Big Kahuna said...

But DY, this is Singapore. We 'know' we become whatever when we 'declare' it. The gahmen believes in mind over matter. ;-)

9:56 PM  
Blogger doubleyellow said...

heavenly sword, i am thinking of stopping at zero leh...:) we just need some dude to conduct a study that comes to the conclusion that when retail staff make 'eye contact' with the customer, there is a greater chance he will buy stuff. Confirm success... boy, don't i lurve these 'social scientific' studies :)

big kahuna, what you say is so true.... why do we know we are a hub in everything? coz the gahmen tells us so.. :)

10:15 PM  
Blogger Zim said...

doubleyellow, I'm not sure that works. I mean, sure, good service will sell more than bad service any day of the week, but to say that eye contact sells? Next thing you're going to get staff staring at you all the time!

But seriously, I think that with most commodities, Singaporeans just don't reward good service. Even if someone serves you well, you're quite likely going to go to another nearby shop and look to compare the price right? And unless the service elsewhere totally disses you, you probably won't come back just because the service is good. And even if the price is good and the service is good, you might not go back to the same staff..

5:08 PM  
Blogger doubleyellow said...

hey zim, do you believe that price triumphs over service everytime? if two retailers offer the same product at comparable prices, I will go for the one with the better service :)

Of course lah, eye contact does not mean staring into customer's eyes... at least look at me when talking mah :)

I have issues with the signage that i found on the bus because it creates an environment where the company is telling me that their employees are serving me wif pride but the actual employees are not. In other words, a 'plastic' service culture...

7:32 PM  
Anonymous Benton Samsel said...

OMG! Thank you for this.

9:08 AM  

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