Thursday, December 24, 2009

Sweet and sour

Two encounters with service staff just before Christmas left me with contrasting impressions -- one sweet, one sour. I shall start with the sweet one.

On Wednesday (Dec 23), I was having problems transferring photos from my telephone to my computer because I was not able to download the software. I called Samsung, hoping to get some advice.

The person who answered my call was truly heaven sent. He was polite, had a pleasant voice and was ever-ready to help. When I related my problem, he knew exactly what it was and immediately told me what to do.

I thanked him for the instruction, but before we hung up, he said: "Call me back if you still have a problem". I did. And he sounded as eager and cheerful as he was the first time, patiently guiding me through every step of the way.

He even had time to indulge in small talk, inquiring whether I had taken a day off as it was Christmas season. When I replied that I was a retiree, I could almost sense that he became even more patient.

Before I called off the second time, he again reminded me to contact him if the problem persisted, assuring me that it was not something that I could not solve.
He was right, of course. And I was relieved -- and grateful.

Thank you, Winston, you are indeed a model worker. You deserve a BOUQUET.

THE second encounter -- a totally contrasting experience -- took place one day earlier in my daughter's apartment. I was there to receive the service technician from a company that sells a French brand of kitchen appliances, De Dietrich.

He was called upon to check on two broken hooks in a cooker and to replace them if possible.

On arrival, he proceeded to check the cooker even though he knew that it was working fine and that the only thing wrong with it were the two damaged hooks.

Instead of addressing the problem of the broken hooks, he told me that "other parts" needed to be changed as well and that the total bill would be more than $400.

On hearing that, my antennae went up. I asked him what was wrong with the "other parts"? He simply said they could break down. I queried why they had to be changed when they had not broken down. He couldn't give me a satisfactory answer.

When I said that we were not going to change the "other parts" and would let him know later our decision about changing the broken hooks, he replied that I still had to pay him a service charge of $66.40.

I had no choice but to comply. However, I was happy that I was not taken in by his attempt to make me change those "other parts" that were still in good working condition.

Compared to Winston of Samsung, this guy's service was way below par. I also felt he was not totally upfront about what he was recommending and had backed down too quickly when I challenged him on his recommendations.

I did not have a good feeling after he left. For that, I would give him a BOO-QUET.