I recently came across a video on Facebook that I found hilarious at first, but later when I gave it some thought, I realised how much sense it really made.
It depicts a woman facing the camera and having a conversation with the viewers, portraying the stark difference between the employees of two major cosmetics brands. When the woman was dressed up as an employee of one of the France-based companies, she exuberated confidence and approachability, seemingly friendly and ever ready to help.
When she switched characters to the other major cosmetics brand, which was founded in Canada, there was a complete 180° turn. She was cold and arrogant, and stand-offish to the point of coming across as awfully rude.
I had no problems relating to both characters; finding myself vigorously nodding in agreement as I watched the short video, because I knew that it was as accurate as it could ever get. You see, I’ve been to both brands’ outlets all across Kuala Lumpur for the past year, which was more than enough to know for sure if the employees in these companies were really precisely described.
The video garnered many likes, shares and comments from my friends, as a number of them shared their experience when they visited the outlets in KLCC, Mid Valley Megamall, Pavilion and Sunway Pyramid. With a small number of them admitting that even the company that was positively portrayed had some snobbish employees who had been quite rude when approached, the vast majority collectively concurred that the employees of the other company were far worse and their behaviour bordered on impoliteness and utter disrespect for customers in general.
That was what got me thinking — this is not something only my friends and fellow Malaysians have complained about. I can’t seem to fathom the logic behind this matter. Many people around the world have made it a point to bring up this issue whenever they walk into one of this particular brand’s many outlets.
So my question here is simple: why has this company not tried to make a change for the better? Why not try to improve the quality of its customer service?
We now live in an age where there are a hundred different companies (at least!) selling the same products in almost all parts of the world. The competition to come up top has never been stiffer. Yet, there are still so many companies that aren’t doing enough to keep customers happy, much less appreciated. They are rude and simply do not care much for anyone, especially those who do not look “good enough”.
I know that for a fact because I have walked into shops selling branded items wearing shorts, a torn T-shirt and slippers, and got completely ignored by the sales representatives. Just one month later, I walked into the very same stores and was immediately entertained by the employees just because I was dressed up well and had put on make-up that day. It’s very disheartening to see that customer service is going down the drain, with many companies these days, be it cosmetics, healthcare or anything else.
Perhaps these companies have forgotten one tremendously significant fact — the demand for a certain product may be continuous, but it can easily transfer elsewhere because one is able to get almost anything within a stone’s throw away in all directions.
I feel it’s time these companies (and I’m not only talking about the brands in the video) buck up and rethink their priorities regarding customers. It’s high time they learn to manage and achieve overall customer satisfaction because it is the customers that determine a company’s success.
Perhaps it is due to the fact that certain companies have no need to tend to their customers because deep down, they know that the customers will not go anywhere and will keep coming back.
It’s simple, really.
Treat us right, and we’ll keep coming back. Treat us right, and we’ll buy your products. Treat us right, and you’ll continue making money.
Take us for granted, and that will be the day you start losing your customer base, in addition to reputation and status.
Ashley Greig, a lecturer at Sunway College, is a Malaysian-born Eurasian with Scottish/Japanese/Indian lineage. She believes in a tomorrow where there is no racism and hatred