Monday, June 02, 2008

After sales headache (oops, i mean service)

quoting from an article by SC Chen on, "Our attitudes are our most important asset and based on a study by a US consulting firm with the personnel directors of a selection of American largest companies on their reasons for firing an employee, the results were interesting and underscore the importance of attitude in the business world: incompetence (30%) and attitude problem (52%) ranging from dishonesty and lying, negative attitude, lack of motivation, communication problem and failure to follow instruction. "

i'm wondering whether this also applies for malaysian companies. well, obviously it doesn't apply for sen heng (company selling electric/electronic products) as a certain number of their staff are incompetent and display attitude problems (the 2 failures mentioned in the preceding paragraph). INCOMPETENCE: chinese male staff (presumably the manager or at least someone with authority in the branch outlet) unable to communicate (both verbally and comprehend) at all in english and faces immense difficulty using bahasa malaysia (leaves me wondering how he would serve malay or indian customers who do not speak chinese). it is also obvious that the aforementioned staff does not know the trading policy "the customer is always right" which was coined by Harry Gordon Selfridge (of the Selfridges). albeit it may not always be the best policy, but as someone in the 'customer service' line, you'd think he'd strive to be more tactful and humour the customer and also stick to the brand promise of his company... but no, the sad fact is he chose to ignore (or maybe he isn't aware of) professionalism and go with the "china-man bussiness mentality" (no offence intended for the people of China)

ATTITUDE PROBLEMS: as outlined in the first paragraph, dishonesty and lying, communication problem and failure to follow instructions, these are the qualities which were displayed by the chinese male staff and his female conspirator. let's start with communication problem. in an attempt to improve communication with me, male staff (speaks zero english) ropes in his female colleague (speaks english well) to contact me via phone. for this, i give them credit however when i wanted to know what repairs have been made to my laptop and refreshed their memory about the broken down disc burner, her respond was "your burner working fine mar..." that's when i found out they were feeding me a pack of lies. they told me that my hard drive had virus and needed to be formatted (fee of rm70) but other than that, my laptop was perfectly normal. at that time, it did not occur to me to rebutt that statement as i am 100% sure the problem wasn't a virus. you see, since the windows platform is the most widely used platform therefore most virus are encoded to attack windows. on the other hand, the mac osx and windows platforms are very different (i myself do not understand the technical details) causing a windows application (.exe files) to be incompatible with mac osx (which uses .dmg files). and the three main routes of virus infection (in cyber terms not biological), are from downloading files off the internet, email attachments and file transfers using removable storage devices. since for the last 6 months or so i have been busy with my thesis, i conducted many file transfers using my removable USB drives (pendrive and kingston) between my laptop (windows platform) and my imac g4 (mac osx platform)... go ahead connect the dots... and you'll see that if there was a virus, i'd immediately be able to see extra incompatible files in the USB drives when i accessed them on the mac. but the fact is, i did not see these extra files leading to my conclusion that my hard disk was free of virus (yes, i do know that a couple of posts before i had an encounter with the IOImall virus but i managed to completely get rid of that vermin... the registry damages caused by it, is another matter).

so this leads me to my second point, dishonesty and lying. what is the problem with admitting that you do not know the information which i requested and perhaps refer me directly to the repair technician? even in AIESEC (a student organisation), we're taught that during our marketing calls/appointments if we are not sure about a detail in our traineeship program (that we are trying to sell to the companies), we are not to 'simply crap some seemingly passable info' but to give a response such as "i'm not too sure about that, can i get back to you about it?" 'crapping' some tall story reduces your credibility (as a person and also your company's).

which leads me to the last point, failure to follow instructions. i had clearly written out all the problems of my laptop on a post-it (the original post-it brand, mind you) using language as technical as i possibly could muster (took me some googling...). but when i spoke to the repair guy from ftec, he told me that his job sheet did not include the problem of the loose MMC slot (which i had listed in my post-it). luckily the guy accommodated my request to please check it out since it was not my fault that the sen heng people are so incompetent in their data entry skills. on top of that, the ftec guy explained that the hard drive problems were caused by software problems and NOT a virus (he was even chuckling at the idea of the make-believe virus championed by the sen heng staffs).

so goes my first encounter at shouting at multiple strangers in the service industry. oh, i forgot to mention that since i had missed the call from the ftec guy (was learning dreamweaver in my ACP class) i had to call their service centre and the female receptionists put me on hold for at least 5 minutes (i was on a handphone... please don't hesitate to calculate how much that costs) returning to the phone to ask me what i wanted 2 times (and it was the same person's voice, so goodness knows what she was doing... learning her ABCs right next to the phone in the hopes i'd get tired and cut the line?)... so when she asked my again what i wanted, i raised my voice and said "this is the third time i'm saying this, can you just direct me to someone who can tell me about the repair progress of my laptop!?!" i was so mad already, so the girl quickly took down my phone number and repair info. the computer guy called me about a minute later and at last there's actually some living being who can tell me what i needed to know about the status of my laptop and who actually knows what he's talking about! (i didn't shout at him, mind you... in fact, i felt relieved after that call)

however it's been 3 weeks going on four since i sent the laptop in for repair and still no news about the return of my laptop (i was told to expect its return this week)

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