Chris Reed
Nov 20, 2014

Singapore customer service effects brand perception

According to a recent survey in Singapore 60% of people who suffer from bad service never complain. That means that for every four people who complain, another six are just as angry but never tell you about it. This is a staggering number and should be a big worry for everyone in the customer experience sectors in Singapore and those who market the applicable brands.

Singapore customer service effects brand perception

The reasons why people feel that complaining makes no difference range from the channels available to reach decision makers to cynicism that even if they did complain it would make no difference. In many cases they are of course correct.

The culture of service in Singapore in particular is mostly appalling by comparison with other similar competing countries on the world stage such as America, the UK and Australia and even places like Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia in Asia show more passion, energy and drive to give that personalised customer service experience than places in Singapore do.

Most of these people who complain just never come back or will just inform their friends instead. This can cause wider damage to the brand being complained about as the company will never know why they are losing trade. Many of the people who give the servicer either 1) won’t be there or 2) just won’t care so how will the quality of service change?

Shockingly 40% of those that did complain did not receive any kind of response from the company concerned. Is this all about manpower? Is this pure complacency or merely apathy? Is there a lack of care for the brand that customer experience people work for?

The service sector in general is looked down upon by Singaporeans as not being a role of sufficient status which leads to less able and customer focused people taking up the roles in customer service.

75% of people who did complain expected a response within 36 hours but only 30% of thosepeople received one. Something so simple but why isn’t this done with immediacy? Imagine if a brand actually did this, imagine the positive feeling that they would give to their customer as a direct result of doing something so simple.

All the time you’re waiting to respond that complainer is out there telling their friends and sharing their experience on social media and damaging your brand. Other surveys show that people who complain can become a brand’s biggest advocate if their concern is addressed immediately and they are offered something for their inconvenience/bad service.

Why isn’t customer experience in F&B and hospitality sectors in general seen as something to be proud of? I know many people who live in Singapore will now choose their restaurant and hotel based upon levels of service and are happy to pay the premium price to get it.  They are choosing brands based on customer service, forget the fancy advertising or clever 2:1 promotions, get the fundamentals of customer experience right and you’re onto a winner here.

Otherwise these customers will go elsewhere but accept beforehand that the level of service will be around the “Fawlty Towers” variety. That’s a sad state of affairs for Singapore.

With social media platforms like TripAdvisor and HungryGoWhere there is no hiding for brands with regards to customer service. Every angry customer will angrily denounce customer service for every four you see another six feel the same way.

Two out of three people questioned in Singapore had suffered from bad service. This was usually in food and beverage, telecommunications and financial services. Anyone who lives in Singapore and goes out on a regular basis will know that this is true.

Anyone who has dealt with the three telcos based here and many banks will also know that customer service appears to be bottom of their list of priorities. Time for a fundamental change of focus in Singapore if they brands here don’t want to become synonymous with bad service.

The amount of times I have rung up an airline, telecom or bank and been asked to key in my account number/loyalty number/telephone number “to speed things up” only for when I actually get to speak to an agent that they request it all again happens so frequently I have almost stopped arguing about it! Almost!

Also the amount of times I get a call on my mobile and am asked “what is your mobile number” as a form of ID staggers me. “But you just rang it” I say in exasperation.  Where’s the customer service in annoying the customer by asking him for information that you already asked him for? What does that do to the brand?

Source: IPSOS


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