15 May 2009

The customer is not always right

Highlighted in red was my letter to a small newspaper I happened to have read last week. It was a response to another reader's letter talking about how customer service in Singapore can improve. And of all the things that could improve customer service, the writer said complaints could. I know it could, but the writer stated, and I quote:
"In fact, Singaporeans don't complain enough."
I thought... what?? We don't work enough, don't spend enough, aren't Kiasu enough, don't have enough sex, don't have enough babies, don't have enough trains, buildings, cars, people. We always want more! What for? Don't know. Just more.

It was also mentioned that hardly any service provider in Singapore takes complaints seriously (don't we know why?). There are a number of bad and dishonest service providers here, just like anywhere else in the world, but this is with regards to businesses that are honestly run.

After seeing that the writer suggests there should be more complaints because it could improve customer service in Singapore, I felt that I should let my thoughts go just for a second. I know what it's like being the customer and I know what it's like working in the service industry. Service providers put up with a lot of unnecessary problems from aggressive customers all because of this one statement: 'The customer is always right'.
And from my experience, most of the customers who came to me to complain were emotionally out of control. Some were aggressive and verbally 'polite'. Yet the matter was almost always quite small and required no drama at all.

Reasonable complaints are sought after, but more complaints regardless of whether or not they are reasonable? Hello. I know business is business, and it's clear that complaints are important provided that they are reasonable, realistic, and leaves little to no room for drama. But customers who claim that they are always right, supported by service providers that are afraid of losing customers, only allows the madness to prevail.

Anyway, the newspaper edited my letter to sound less frank. It kinda diverted my point a little though. But I can see that the media wouldn't want to put up with 300,000 complaints, haha.
I didn't expect it to be published but they probably did because they know it speaks for a lot of people who's been in the service industry a lot longer and have seen a lot more crap than I have. I salute them for being true shit takers. Anything as long as we get paid. Money, money, money. Mmmm.


  1. wow Ira..you can be a freelance writer...journalist...cool..

  2. glad u send them in to the papars!
    make them open up their damn eyes.