23 November 2005

Just For the Record

The Straits Times, Home section
22 November 2005

Service With A Smile...

Helpful gesture from neighbourhood store

I would like to say a big thank you to Mr Tan of Thong Seng Home Appliances, a neighbourhood store at Block 121, Bukit Merah Lane.

I had ordered and paid for a refrigerator from Mr Tan on Oct 25, and had scheduled delivery to my mother's place on Nov 11, the same day she was due to move into a new house.

The shop did not have stocks of that model, so he arranged for the manufacturer, which has a base here, to deliver the refrigerator directly to us.

The day it was to arrive, though, the manufacturer called to say that it could not deliver that day as it had "system problems".

The earliest it could deliver was almost a week later.

I explained that my mother had medication that needed to be refrigerated and that she had not taken the old refrigerator to the new house.

The medicines would not last a week outside the fridge.

But the person on the line offered no viable solution, and told us to either contact the store or cancel the order.

I called Mr Tan and explained my situation, and he offered to see if he could secure a faster delivery. He called back 10 minutes later, saying he got the same answer.

But he then offered to loan us a second-hand refrigerator, at no cost, to refrigerate my mother's medication and food.

Just before midnight that day, Mr Tan and his colleague delivered it and said he would collect it after the new one was delivered.

My family was most impressed and touched by the exemplary service offered by this neighbourhood store.

Mr Tan, who is in his 50s and speaks only
1 dialect and a little Mandarin, might not have had detailed technical knowledge of the products he sells, but he certainly understands — much better than the manufacturer — what customer service is about.

Choo Kok Fah

After this letter was published, Mr Choo called up the Mr Tan in question to tell him about it, causing him to happily purchase a copy of The Straits Times2 (even though no one in the family reads it).

Mr Tan then proudly showed me the letter, and even read out a few lines from it. Hehe.

Yes, Mr Tan is min far.

In a country that's, unfortunately, not exactly known for good customer service (just ask any Singaporean), it's nice to know someone appreciated Mr Tan's service so much as to write to The Straits Times.

Now, if only The Straits Times will publish letters such as this. Prolly in another lifetime (or two, or three lifetimes), I reckon.

1Actually, Mr Tan speaks (not-so-good) English, (colloquial) Mandarin, (colloquial) Cantonese, (colloquial) Hokkien, and a smattering of Malay.

2We'd be keeping this.

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