Essential not to lose the customer service touch

For 20 years of my working life, I was attached to the Ban Hin Lee Bank in Penang. Sadly, this bank does not exist anymore. At the turn of the millennium it was swallowed up by Southern Bank in a merger which caused a lot of distress to the Ban Hin Lee Bank staff. Ironically, Southern Bank also does not exist anymore as in turn, it had been bought up by CIMB.

But all this is not the reason why I’m writing this post. What I want to say is that at Ban Hin Lee Bank, we worked up one of the best business-to-customer relationships ever seen in the banking industry. All the customers of the bank were truly appreciative of the staff’s efforts to serve them. Visibly, there were the counter staff. Invisibly, the backroom staff were trying their best to meet customers’ expectations for the bank as a whole.

Sadly though, this simple but essential business strategy is lost on modern-day companies. We don’t have many companies who value the goodwill that they can build up with their customers. But maybe they do, but the top management’s efforts are being stymied by their employees who work for them.

As an example, I’d want to say that I haven’t had a 100 percent satisfaction dealing with Mastery Academy in Kuala Lumpur. Mastery Academy is owned by Joey Yap who is perhaps the most renowned fengshui consultant in this part of the world. I have outstanding with them two more Bazi consultations that I want to conclude as soon as possible. I’m sure that they would also want to close their books as quickly too. However, getting in touch with the right persons have been problematic. Telephone calls not getting replied, messages left on their website not getting the attention. So in desperation – one last act if I may call it – I emailed the top guy himself. To his credit, he does read his emails often enough and I had the company call me back within 50 minutes of giving my feedback! Here’s the email I sent him:

Dear Joey,
Although out of politeness I will wish you a Happy Chinese New Year at this time of the year, this is not exactly a standard CNY email to you. This is actually a feedback which I want you to read.
When the Fengshui For Life programme was held in Penang last year, I had signed up for four Bazi consultations for my family. Two have already been completed while the remaining two are still outstanding. I am not very mobile outside my base of Penang and have always been waiting for the opportunities when the team from Mastery Academy come up to the island. I do realise that it will be far easier to visit your office and get them done in Kuala Lumpur but my travels to KL are very, very infrequent.
Now, knowing that you are coming to Penang this Feb 12 with your team, I had contacted the Bazi people at Mastery Academy as long ago as mid-December to arrange for the other two consultations. I was told by Kevin that they would look into it and get back to me. BTW, I had also spoken with Jenna on this matter several times earlier.
My beef is this: until today I haven’t received any reply from Mastery Academy, verbally or by text. How tight a ship is being run by this company? Just this Monday, I tried sending a note through the webpage, hoping for someone to pick up the message and relay it to the relevant person. All I got back was an automated message which you can read below. Getting in touch with me very shortly? I had hoped so. But as it turned out, I was mistaken.
Then this morning I telephoned Mastery Academy and asked to speak to Jenna. Was told that she was on the line. So I left a message requesting for her to call me back. She must still be very busy on the telephone because sadly, four hours after calling the office, my mobile hasn’t rang.
I am a retiree. I retired from a service industry more than two years ago. We didn’t need to be told by our top management that, one, all customer inquiries must be attended to as quickly as possible and, two, the customer is always right. We didn’t need to be told; we knew it by instinct. Accordingly, we built up one of the best business relationships with our customers. Unfortunately companies today have lost sight of this business strategy.
I am sorry if this is not the flattering email that you would wish to read from your fans but it is important that you should know exactly what is happening to sabotage all the good work you have done. Again, Happy Chinese New Year…
SS Quah
Penang, Malaysia
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