Mrs Isabel Wee's shopping experience at Toys "R" Us in Vivocity in March this year was totally spoilt by the indifferent attitude of one of its employees. Here's her story:
"Toys "R" Us is a reputable, well-known international retail company that has served the needs of many parents and children throughout the years. That is why I am utterly dismayed by the abysmal shopping experience I recently had at Toys "R" Us, VivoCity.
On March 11, 2010, at 4pm, I visited the VivoCity outlet with the intention of purchasing a baby’s product known as Intex Soft Sides My First Gym. I had travelled all the way from the Tampines outlet to the VivoCity one in hopes of purchasing this product as it was sold out at the Tampines outlet.
At the VivoCity outlet, I had difficulty locating the product in store. So I walked to the “Babies ‘R’ Us” section to look for any available staff for help. I had even printed out the detailed description of the item (including the serial number SKN# 256870) so that it may facilitate the staff to help me locate the item more easily.
It was then I noticed a male staff standing at the "Babies 'R' Us" section. He was a Chinese national who spoke in China-accented Mandarin. I approached him and politely asked if he could help me locate the item in the store; I even showed him the printed details that I was holding.
To my utter disappointment, he did not even spare a glance at the piece of paper I was holding. He immediately said that he could not help me at all and told me to look for the customer service counter. Not only did he not bother to take a look at the product details which I had printed out on paper, but he also did not bother to listen to what I wanted. He simply kept cutting me off and telling me to approach another person for help.
I was thrown off-guard by his complete lack of helpfulness and apparent rudeness to me, a potential customer. I had taken the effort to go to the section where the product would most likely be found and had even taken the effort to print out the product details and showed it to the staff. The least he could do would be to listen to my request.
I tried to find out the name of this unhelpful staff, but he had failed to display his name-tag. (I noticed that the other staff at Toys R Us had displayed their name-tags prominently.) By not displaying his name-tag, could it be that this particular staff was trying to shirk responsibilities without being found out by his bosses?
In the end, I had to look for another staff, a Malay lady, who was more helpful. She immediately helped me locate the item among the shelves.
Unfortunately, the unpleasant experience caused by the Chinese-national staff was so upsetting to me that I chose not to buy from the store even though the item was on discount.
My subsequent feedback to Toys “R” Us yielded only empty promises and half-hearted apologies from their customer service officer and manager, with no action taken whatsoever to win back my trust or my desire to shop at their store.
In light of recent news reports that the retail sector in Singapore still suffers from poor service quality, some questions still beg to be answered:
1) Should a company, particularly a retail one, continue to allow unmotivated foreign employees to work in Singapore when they could hardly contribute to the local society?
2) When a big retail company like Toys “R” Us has failed a potential customer, what kind of symbolic gesture should the company willingly show in order to win back the customer?
Sure, Toys “R” Us may have apologized to the customer either verbally or in writing. But how would they show it in action? After all, words with no concrete action still remain as empty promises.
(P.S. I have previously sent my feedback to Toys "R" Us, but they merely apologized without offering to take any concrete action to win me back as a customer. Only after repeated prompting did they offer to sell me the said product at full price and waive the delivery fee for me... Of course such insincere actions by Toys "R" Us, which smacks of a lack of initiative to 'rectify' the situation, only adds further insult to the customer. That's why I have not purchased the item from Toys "R" Us -- I refuse to give in to such lousy service.)"
No doubt Isabel will give Toys "R" Us a BOO-QUET.