The Truth Behind Customer Service Satisfaction
by: Jerry Liao
Everytime you watch television, drive along Edsa, turn the pages of newspapers and magazines, listen to the radio and browse the Internet – what is that one thing that you see in all the mediums that I mentioned? ADVERTISEMENTS.
Companies spend billions to advertise their brand, products and services for one purpose – to increase their sales and eventually earn more profit. The name of the company is to get a major share of the market, control or dominate it as much as possible. But how much is being poured into customer service? How important is customer satisfaction to these companies?
My fellow CNET Asia blogger Michael Tan shared a very interesting story a about a Singaporean woman by the name of Ms Tan Geok Hoon. Here’s her story (http://forum.omy.sg/showthread.php?t=2120):
I bought a Nokia phone in Aug 2007 through Starhub with 24months contract at $388.
The phone was not functioned properly in the very first week. I tried to ask for a one to one exchange and was replied, “Nokia has no such policy”. I got no choice but to send to Nokia Care Centre for repair. Between Aug 2007 and Nov 2007, countless of visitation and many phone call were made to Nokia. So much time was wasted but the phone was getting from bad to worst.
I gave warning to Nokia that I was considering to file a claim against them through Small Claim Tribunal. I finally took action as there was no proper follow up from Nokia after one month. Nokia authorized a young girl to come for the first consultation and then in default of attending before the Tribunal for the rest. I finally won the case and was awarded $778 by Small Claim Tribunal in 18 Dec 2007.
Nokia was given 15 days to make the settlement, but they did not respond to me. I called to check about it on 22 Jan 2008, and Nokia said that they did not receive such notice.
I went to their HQ the next day, after presenting the Order of Tribunal to the Manager, he finally agree to pay. However, Nokia would pay me if only I agreed to sign a conditional letter. They wanted to keep my mouth shut and I was not allowed to disclose this claim to any third party. I refused as they had no right to impose any condition because this was not an out of court settlement.
I then applied for WSS (Writ of Seizure and Sale) the next day. An appointment date was scheduled on 11 Feb 2008. I accompany the bailiff officer to Nokia HQ. Nokia was then given two options by the bailiff officer. One was to make settlement and the other one was let the bailiff officer to sticker their movable assets.
They finally woke up and agree to make payment. By then, they got to pay $1,018.43 instead of $778.
By sharing this experience, I hope that many have a better idea of what to do if encounter similar situation in the future. Many of us wouldn’t want to take the trouble to make such claim. Some may have no time, and some may think that Nokia is such a big company and no point goes against them.
The Relations Manager of Nokia, Ms Serene Teo, told me that I won’t be able to win the case and the most I could only get back $388. This was what she believed, but she was wrong.
Straitstimes also carried the story at http://www.straitstimes.com/Latest%2BNews/Singapore/STIStory_209885.html
This story could be an isolated case but something does not add up here. Companies worldwide will spend billions to advertise their products but will not even lift a finger to address a legitimate complain? Nokia is not alone here, there are other more companies who are doing the same as well. And I am sure other consumers have their own stories or nightmares to tell with regards to their purchased products. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org so that like Ms Tan Geok Hoon, we can fight for our rights – consumer rights that is.