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.