Recently I read that The Institute of Service Excellence at the Singapore Management University has released the 2013 full-year results for the Customer Satisfaction Index of Singapore, which indicated that customer service level in Singapore has reached a record high.
Caroline Lim, Director of ISES said, “Three straight years of improving national customer satisfaction levels is very encouraging.”
She’s got to be kidding!
I’ll leave it to textbookish academics in their ivory towers to convince you but I for one am not convinced.
Customer service is not just conducting surveys, interviews, or focus groups with random tourists and local consumers. (By the way, typically, tourists from the west are more “generous” in their rating of service levels here.)
Customer service – good or bad – is what I experience the moment I step out of my house. Measuring customer service levels is barely scratching the surface of national consciousness. It has to do with our national psyche. What confronts me is usually symptomatic of something way deeper. Attempts by organizations like ISES are at best, superficial.
Do my neighbors greet me? Do their kids offer to help carry my stuff? When I call for a cab, do I interact with a warm, helpful human being or do I listen to recordings of mechanical voices? When I phone my bank, do I tear my hair out because getting to speak to a human, or one located right here without a Filipino or Indian accent, is near impossible? In crammed, narrow aisles of the supermarket, do staff insists on getting their way, rudely cutting across my path, instead of stepping back to let me go first? On the roads, do motorists exhibit courtesy? Do cyclists stop demonstrating that they harbor death wishes? Do pedestrians stop jaywalking? In a restaurant, do staff insist that I pay for tap water even if my total spend is 500 bucks? Do I get asked about the dessert I want while my companion is still eating? Do they give me one – just one – toothpick when I ask for toothpicks? At the food court, do grouchy cleaners use the same foul-smelling, blackened rag to wipe my table as they clear away other diners’ plates and bowls, often plates and bowls filled with used tissues? (Why do people do that, throw used tissues into their used plates and bowls?) In a retail store, do sales people with bad halitosis breathe down my neck and follow me everywhere I move and quickly re-arrange merchandise I’ve touched, giving me the impression that I am nothing but a major irritation in their lives and that they can’t wait to go back to their Facebook updates?
Customer service level in Singapore has reached a record high?
Yeah right, and pigs fly our fighter jets.