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some thoughts from Dozer
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Customer Service Woes

I’ve been off the net for a couple of days. ipStar down again. Sunday I was on the phone to tech support in Bangkok to no avail. Then Monday morning I went into Wattana Computer (Pattaya branch) and took in some diagnostic screen prints showing the problem I was having. She said they could come out Tuesday to look at it. ‘Can’t you come out today? I really depend on being able to hook up to the internet at least daily.’ ‘No, because the Bangkok office needs to send a ticket over and we won’t get it until 1 PM, so the earliest we could schedule from there would be tomorrow’. I don’t really get irritated, but it is ever so true that customer service in things like this just suck.

Finally the guy does come by and swaps out my modem, which solves my immediate problem. I get in a discussion with the tech guy about why ipStar sucks so bad, and will the new satellite help anything. Yes, the new satellite is up now and will be dialed in by the end of the year. It will make ipStar a viable entity, a better option that even ADSL. Sometimes ADSL has problems with the cabling. In any event, the upgrade is going from last years technology (on the satellite) to new technology, so it should really help a lot. This all according to the tech guy, but it does give me hope!

The other customer service ‘incident’ happened recently at Big C. Customer service isn’t a strong suit here, so I’m just writing of a couple examples which come to mind. At the Big C, I bought about 10 items, one of which was a carpet segment that I was going to put in the floor of my truck. So as I’m checking out it rings up at 39 baht. I remember a sign saying something about 17 baht, but I’m not sure. I finish up the transaction, check my bag in at the service counter and then go double check. The big 17 baht sign which I now read in detail says the price is 39 baht, but if you can buy 3 for 100 baht (saving 17 baht). So I pick up another 2 and head back to the check out counter.

I explain to the counter lady (in Thai of course) that I just purchased one and would like to add an additional two to get the special price. First off she isn’t listening to a word I’m saying so I have to stop everything and say something like ‘can you please listen when I’m talking to you’. I explain the situation and she is totally flustered. She yells over to the check out girl on the next counter and asks her how it should work. They confirm that to get the special price on 3 carpet segments you need to purchase them all on the same receipt.

So I leave the 2 segments there and head over to customer service. The lady there understands what I’m trying to do and sends me over to counter 7 to complete the transaction. So I take my original receipt, original carpet segment and head over to front of counter 7. She goes to take me as the next customer, and starts to ring up the transaction. She does a return transaction on the first carpet segment and then rings it in again. She goes to ring in the next 2 carpet segments and says they are not the same ‘code’ as the first carpet segment. She tells me to go get 2 that are exactly the same.

So I head back to the rear of the store and look at the pile of carpet segments. They all look about the same and are all in the 3 for 100 baht section. I call over store clerk and ask shouldn’t you be able to get any 3 for 100? No he says, they have to be matching. Wow, what a confusing system! So I find 1 that matches the last 2 I took to ring up and go back to counter 7.

I hadn’t realized that she had shut down the entire line. People were just starting to figure that this crazy farang might not finish up with his crazy transaction for a while and were going to other lines. With the new ‘matching’ carpet segment the clerk was able to do the transaction.

I would just have kind of expected that somebody somewhere in the food chain can just take the 3 carpet segments and enter an override code or something that avoids having me go back and forth, shut down a line for 5 minutes, tie up a supervisor etc. etc….. but I guess not.

Is customer service bad for everyone, Thais and Farangs? Yes, of course it is, just the Thais in general are used to it and just kind of take it, where I think it kind of irks foreigners. As for myself, I’m kind of used to it, don’t get upset but still like to see it work out in the end….

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