Customer Service Thailand Style
Upon reading Sawadee’s latest praise of the customer service he had received, I felt compelled to add more copy to Sawadee’s
Customer Service experiences. You have all read of some truly interesting experiences with Thai logic and service. After living here over 4 years now, I have encountered quite a few and am always ready to shake my head in amazement.
Those of you who live and visit only the cities will be totally unaware of what we who live outside major cites endure so far as water is concerned. I live in a farang housing estate, just outside the town of Hua Hin and my water supply comes from the local water agency for the area. The quality and flow of this water varies considerably depending on the wet or dry season. During the wet season, water is fairly clear, clean and plentiful. During the dry season (now) it becomes quite chalky in color, with lots of particles of whatever being delivered to the meter outside our plot. After moving here we found the water coming from the tap was brown in color. The water tanks silted up quickly and I was faced with cleaning the two large tanks we have fairly regularly. My wife got very upset because the water was so brown it was coloring the clothes she was washing. My white undies became tan after just one washing. Something had to be done.
Went to the local farang favorite hardware store in Hua Hin (Home Pro) and purchased a fairly inexpensive water filter that I had installed to try to filter the sand out of the water before it reaches the water storage tanks that supply the water to the house. Of course it was a “special order” item for which Home Pro is famous for by not carrying stock for many of the items in their store. Two weeks later the filter came but no bracket to mount it.
Customer Service #1: We went to the store to ask where the bracket was and all hell broke lose when the manager got involved. Bottom line was bracket got ordered and delivered to our house by the salesman who sold the filter to us in record time. My Thai wife and I were amazed and impressed.
Since that time I could tell that our filter clogged up quite rapidly and there was no way to clean the silted up cartridge.
More research and I purchase sand filter #2. This time the information I had stated the filter was specifically to filter out sand and large particles. Had it installed and sure enough, the color of the water cleared up considerably and we had clear water again in the house. Was not perfect, however, as over time the filter would get clogged and sand would be forced by it and water would turn brown again. Changing the filter always cured the problem. Now I change it every 1-2 weeks in the season and 4 weeks in the rainy season. When the floods hit central and northern Thailand in November I went to my local Home Pro and was surprised to find no more filters for my water filter on their shelves. Salesperson said she did not know when they would arrive in stock but certainly must be because of the floods and disruption of supply. Upon returning home, I went to my trash and retrieved my most recently removed filter. For the next several weeks I cleaned the outside of the filters as best I could, dried them out and exchanged them weekly. Not the best but it worked.
Two weeks ago on our return from our condo in Bangkok we stopped at two Home Pro’s on the way.
Customer Service #2: Neither Home Pro stocked the filters BUT one salesperson volunteered to sell us the filter in the unit on display and would order one to replace it inside the unit when it came in. Both I and my wife were bowled over by this absolutely amazing (for Thailand) gesture by the salesperson. She could have just said as others had, “no hab” and turned away which is what we're all used to hearing from Thai sales people. We walked out with one new water filter.
On the following Tuesday, December 6, I decided to go down to my local Home Pro and “special order” two more water filters (don’t know why I didn’t think of that one before). Went through all their processes, paid my money and they told me they would be available in two weeks on the 21st. This week when I went in on Monday, Dec. 12, I made my usual check of Home Pro and the water filters and low and behold there were four of the filters I had on “special order” sitting on the shelf. I told the salesperson that I had “special ordered” two units and asked if I could I pick them up now. I had to go through 4 people up the chain to a manager before they understood what I was requesting. Taken to the front desk by the manager and given to the order desk to find my paper work so I could take the filters home with me.
Customer Service #3: Several times I asked the personnel why I was not called when the filters arrived with no response. The answer I finally received from the manager was that the listed date for their availability on the paper work I was given was the 21st of the month so they would not call me until that date. It was difficult to contain myself after receiving that illogical answer from management of the store.
Yes, Amazing Thailand. Two steps forward and one step back.
This is a side to living in Thailand that those who are just casual visitors might not see. Unfortunately these sorts of frustrations can permeate every aspect of life!