Cutomer Service or the Lack of it in Thailand
Customer service in Thailand totally sucks. If you bought something from an independent company, you have about as much chance of getting your money back or receiving some good customer service as me becoming a ladyboy. They are all smiles and yes sir, no sir, we will do anything for you sir before you slap down your cash, but as soon as the folding stuff leaves your grasp, the yes no's have been replaced by IT'S NOT OUR PROBLEM!
From my own point of view, the worst customer service was when I made the mistake of booking a tourist tour bus coming back from Krabi. I rarely travel by bus, and if I do, I go on the Thai only tour buses, much cleaner and better overall. Anyway, the bus was due to leave Krabi at 6pm, but rather than leaving from Krabi we were transported to a grotty restaurant on the outside of town, where we waited and waited as more and more people arrived. After about 2 hours of waiting a double decker bus arrived. Everybody (about 100) was hearded onto the bus. I was lucky enough to get a seat, but there was standing room only. At about a 9 hour bus ride, I must admit, I felt sorry for these people. As you would expect, tensions began to rise, and eventually broke when the bus stopped to let on some Thai lady and her screaming kids. The people on the bus revolted, which was met by, if you don't like it, get off the bus. Being in the middle of nowhere, the passengers soon shut up. Now these people will go back home and give a glowing report of Thailand (not!)
Here are a couple of examples of after sales service that Bangkokmouth's Phil received in Bangkok.
a) I bought a brand new Mitsubishi color TV from the Mall department store in Ramkhamhaeng and within 2 months it developed a major fault. I returned it immediately to the place of purchase. The staff in the Mall electrical department looked at me quizzically before shoving the address of the Mitsubishi service center into my hand. They then told me it was my responsibility to lug this great big 21 inch TV to some service center in the middle of nowhere.
b) I bought a new computer from Pink Computer in Panthip Plaza. Within 3 months it developed a problem with the hard drive and was useless. I took it back and the young guy at Pink ‘fixed’ it and told me that I had loaded too many programs onto it. I thanked him, took the computer back home and it still didn’t work. Back at Pink computer for the second time that week, the idiot who had fixed it the first time admitted that the hard-drive was faulty and that I hadn’t been responsible for the original problem. I told him that I had dragged the computer 10 kms from my home in Ramkhamheang, and if he didn’t fix it properly this time, I was going to torture him……slowly and painfully.
After sales service in Thailand leaves a lot to be desired. It stems from a business mentality of viewing each customer as a one-off hit. Pay no attention to the damage that customer can do if you don’t look after him. Pay no consideration to the fact that he’ll tell 20 people of the bad service he has received. So when you are in a department store, shop or wherever, and you are cooing and purring over the wonderful service you are receiving as you buy your new TV - keep in mind that if a problem does arise, it won’t be the Land of Smiles when you take the damn thing back. And people have the audacity to tell me that the Chinese in Thailand have good business sense. I thoroughly disagree with that argument. The only reason they accumulate so much money is that they don’t spend it.
If I make a large purchase or pay a lot of money for something, I try to shop at large department stores (only when they have a sale) and pay by credit card (not cash). The benefits are that, often the goods are insured free for a limited time, and if you have been sold a pup, and are not getting any satisfactory service you can report them to the card company, who will take it up on your behalf. In most cases the prices in the malls or department stores are pretty competitive, and offer great value when there is a sale. These happen every other month in the malls.
Q: Had a service problem? Let us know, and we will send the boys round.
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