Saturday, December 18, 2010

Living In Malaysia: Don't Apologise. Fix It!

Malaysians are very big on apologies.  If something goes wrong, customers expect fulsome apologies before any discussion of solutions.  This drives me absolutely nuts.

In most cases I'm buying from one person, and then when something goes wrong, I usually end up talking to someone completely different who has no idea what has gone before.

Therefore, I'm not interested in apologies beyond a "I'm sorry to hear that," as they're a waste of my time.  I want solutions.  I want to hear, "What can I do to fix it?" or even better, "Don't worry, I'll fix it."

I believe that this is one of the reasons why overseas customer service centres are so horribly difficult to deal with.  They teach operators basic language skills, but no cross cultural skills.

In Malaysia I have to learn to deal with local manners, but if I'm put through to India or whatever, I hang up.  I can't be bothered leaping the cultural gap.

The other thing that bugs me is, "That is our company policy" as an excuse for not doing something.  It's hugely popular in Malaysia as a well-that's-the-end-of-that conversation but it carries no weight with me.

If a company police is based on a good reason, why don't they EXPLAIN the reason?  If they don't have a reason for their policy, get rid of it!

I realise that many customer service staff don't have the trust of their employers and are little more than slaves with a script.  All they can do is apologise and stall.

Which is why I prefer to write.  An email or a fax helps me get straight to the point.  Then, if whatever I want can't be done for a reasonable reason that's fine, and if it can't be done for no apparent reason except for "policy", then I take my custom to a company that works in a way I like better.


dArtagnan Rumblepurr/Diego Hamlet Moonfur said...

Rumblemum is nodding in agreement.

Katnip Lounge said...

Very good idea!

The Island Cats said...

Oh yeah...our mom can relate to this! She's been dealing with the customer service of a Chinese company and is getting nowhere!!

NAK and The Residents of The Khottage said...

Woo have our votes!

Khyra and Her Mom

The Chair Speaks said...

Drives me up the wall too. Many do not understand English. Suspect those in customer service are usually temporary staff as most don't stay long and doubt they are properly trained too.

Angel MoMo and Charlotte said...

Oh yes, we can relate, especially in cases where the complaint department is outsourced to a different country.

Ramblingon said...

I feel that pain! I sure know what you mean. This is the Admiral
's mom. I just haven't switched from my own blog before I commented. :-)

Whisppy said...

I am frequently sent to the call center at Philippines which frustrates me. Nowadays, when asked if I want to speak in Malay or English, I choose Malay so I get routed to a call center in Malaysia where the operators can also speak in English. :)

The customer service here has a lot of bucking up to do!

Anya said...

Geweldig idee :-)

Geniet van het weekend

Kareltje =^.^=

Hannah and Lucy said...

Sometimes speaking to someone who has a grasp of your language would be a start!

Brian said...

I don't think it is just Malaysia, it seems that the "it is the company policy" attitude has taken the U.S. by storm. We are often amazed when we run into good customer service as we just don't see it much any more.

Annie Bear said...

First, I want to say that I love the photo. Too funny!

I too can definitely relate. The company I work for (it's an American company) has outsourced a lot of things to India including IT, so it not only effects customers, it also effects the internal employees.


We call it "customer NO service" because that is what it has become. We hate having to deal with someone when you know that they do not have the ability (the companies fault not theirs) to resolve the problem.

고양이 아줌마 (Cat Lady) said...

I like your kat customer service! Cute! :)

Even though I'm a Malaysian, I can relate to how you feel. It frustrates me no end, too, and the worst part is, threatening to write to the papers only elicit another "I'm sorry, it's our company policy." Company policies are made by humans, and if a situation demands that the company rectify their mistake and not charge me for their mistake, why can't they bend their policy? "Case-to-case" is not in their vocabulary. Sorry...I shouldn't be ranting in your sincere apologies, err, again, sorry, I can't do anything about it... :)

~CovertOperations78~ said...

In Malaysia, no-one really believes that the customer is always right. It's more like: "The customer could be right, but I don't really care, it's someone else's problem, and I'm not going to do a ding-dang thing about it."

I've had to ask lots of friends to bring their complaints to the Consumer Claims Tribunal and small claims court when things like robotic vacuum cleaners and gadgets stop working but the customer care lines pass them from one line to another.