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09 Sep 2019
Out of the box
Suggestion View - 200
Remove obstacles to better customer service

Customer service in Singapore is terrible. It takes 4 days to get a reply from a customer service inquiry. Sometimes, there is no reply at all.

This is not caused by insufficient customer service officers, or a high volume of work. It is caused by a bad SOP (standard operating procedure) that can be rectified immediately.

What is this issue?

When I interact with a customer service officer and they need additional information, I asked them to make contact with me by email or WhatsApp. They are not allowed to.

The SOP requires them to use the company's website for communication. Their standard message is - we will give you a reply within four days. Their standard excuse is the high volume of communication.

If all the replies have to go to a common database, it will surely take a long time to sort of the inquiries. 

Why can't they allow their staff to use a personal email or mobile number for communication with customers? 

The reason is that all communication has to be tracked. It is a bad reason. Only important communication that create a business or legal transaction need to be tracked. Simple inquiries or clarifications do not need to be tracked. 

Let me quote my experience with Alibaba website in China. I made an inquiry. I get a reply within two hours by email. I can reply to that email or communicate with that staff by telephone, skype or whatsapp. And I get a reply within two hours. 

What takes weeks to be completed in Singapore will take just one or two days with the Alibaba supplier.

If I decide to place an order, I have to go through the Alibaba website. This is a business transaction that need to be recorded. 

I wonder how long it will take large companies and government agencies in Singapore to realize that their SOP need to be changed. It will improve customer service, customer satisfaction and staff satisfaction without adding any cost. It just improves efficiency.

Will the top management of these organizations listen?

Tan Kin Lian

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