An article in the 9 Nov 2006 edition of the Straits Times caught my eye. It was titled "Singapore's customer service rating takes a drop. Survey ranks Republic 26th despite its efforts to improve standards". The World Economic Forum's (WEF) annual competitiveness survey ranked Singapore at 26th spot this year, down from 17th a year ago. This ranking is even lower than the previous low of 23 in year 2001. The nationwide Go the Extra Mile for Service (Gems) movement was launched last year to develop a culture of excellent service in all sectors of the economy. So is Gems really "Go the Extra Mile for Service" or "Gone's the Excellent and Marvellous Service"?
I have previously blogged about my personal encounters of different standards of customer service when buying an LCD TV. It was quite amazing that the salesman who provided a "less than acceptable" standard of service found my post the very next day. He wrote a comment which offered an "apology of sorts" although he did not exactly say "sorry". As Elton John sang, it seemed that "sorry is the hardest word" for him. I feel that the advice given in the above poster is especially appropriate for him.
Lest you think that I am a demanding customer, let me state that I do understand that a sales person's job is no piece of cake. Sometimes I empathise with members of this profession. They have to work long hours and also on weekends and holidays. They have to stand most of the time. On top of that, they are supposed to smile and remain friendly even when dealing with difficult customers. Most of them earn a low basic salary, with the rest of their pay made up of commissions from sales. If they don't sell enough, their pay packets suffer. And so do their families whose mouths they have to feed.
It is a mistaken notion that providing good service only involves sales people and those working in the hospitality industry. In fact, providing good service should be of concern to all working people. Even if you do not serve your customers directly, it is not wrong to say that anyone who has a job is in effect selling his services to his employer. Civil servants are also ultimately performing a service to the public, whether directly or indirectly. Hence, loosely speaking, the majority of us are working in the service industry and we should constantly strive to do our jobs well and provide good service at all times.
To conclude, here are more posters containing sayings regarding good service which all of us should know very well. However, sad to say, putting the adages into practice is a very different matter altogether for most of us: