Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Has It Come Down To This?

I have a love/hate relationship with ST's Forum pages because sometimes the letters they print make me go a bit crazy with anger, and somehow seeing it PRINTED makes it worse because its real and validated.

May I treat you, my lovely friends who do not read this particular section of ST, to the wise musings of a certain Ellouisa Chen:

It's Singapore, serve us in English first, please

WHY IS it these days that whenever I step into a retail boutique, I am greeted by the sales assistants in Mandarin instead of English?

They then follow me around the shop, promoting their products to me in Mandarin.

I find this shocking in Singapore, a country where we are trying to emphasise world-class service standards.

This is not to say that speaking in Mandarin equals mediocre service.

But it seems to me that gone are the days when storekeepers would converse with customers in English in Singapore, a cosmopolitan country with many foreigners who live, work or visit.

Sales staff recruited from overseas should be given to understand that they must serve customers in English first for two reasons. Firstly, because it's more professional. Secondly, not all customers understand Mandarin and sales staff should not assume that Chinese customers are as eloquent in Mandarin as they are.

Retailers should look into this problem and ensure that their frontline staff master at least the rudiments of English.

Singapore is gearing to host top international events like the world's first Formula One night race and the first Youth Olympics.

Surely, we should not subject visitors to a mediocre level of service or allow them to think that our level of communication is so limited.

Ellouisa Chen (Miss)

I wouldn't recommend reading through the following 350++ comments this post received, nothing really very constuctive, but some stuff was funny (someone called her "Lousy Chen" and another wrote. "greet also complaint, never greet also complaint, greet in Chinese also complaint."


ghimlay said...

I can explain this. Tell you more when you get back :)