Customer Service in Taiwan

I’ve never heard anyone mention their experiences around here. i mean in stores, shops and restaurants, etc. My cousin recently came back here for 3 days and commented on it to me. I guess you get used to it, the good and the bad. She loved how you are always greeted when you enter a place. The fact that the staff usually tries to be polite in most situations and don’t seem to have an attitude. But she did not like people following her every move around the store. You know how I mean not like a crook. Salesperson: “Try this, how about this, this one is good…(commission + not looking lazy???)”. Or the fact that we got the wrong food at a western restaurant and it took almost 10-15 minutes to resolve it. She laughed it off as did I. It seems like everyone is afraid of the boss or mistakes here she noticed. I said “YUP”. Anyone want to share their stories. It can be plesant in Taiwan but also like a real Twighlight Zone.

Overall I give service here a thumbs up. When it comes to people getting me what I want/answering my questions in-store, service here is generally excellent. People here seem to go the extra mile for you in this regard, and they never have that I-hate-my-job-and-take-it-out-on-customers problem.

I’ve also had good experiences with stuff like service from chunghwa…very prompt and no BS, much unlike companies like Rogers and Bell in Canada.

The fast food industry is another example of good service here…well ok they are kinda slow with getting the food, but again you never get the typical hate my job attitude there.

But, the following you around in desperation when you enter certain stores here is incredibly annoying…whenever I get this I will never buy anything from that place, and make a point of exiting quickly. Far and away that is the worst thing you find here, especially in local places.

Another thing that kind of sucks is the service in restaurants…I guess tips are less prevalent so once food is served they don’t give a toss anymore if you want anything. It’s also kinda lazy how they just bring you the final bill without confirming you wouldn’t like something else.

But when you stack it all up, I find customer service here to be much better than I would find back home. They just do stuff for you here if you ask, instead of rolling their eyes or seeming to be put out by a request. I can walk into my local 7-11 and request they order a certain product for me, and they say ok and write it down. When I first got here I drunk-emailed wellcome about stocking some mayo at my local store. I swear they called me back 4 or 5 hours later on my cell at about 8 am to ask me what brand and what store. And they followed through. That one was really amazing.

This is your new tag. You are no longer “Shoe-wielding Legislator”. :laughing:

In a decade here I’ve only had two problems ever. Both male cashiers at 7-11 who were “curt” with me and not the usual jovial service you often find with them. Not sure why, and they weren’t exactly rude, but at the time I thought it may have had something to do with the good looking Taiwanese girlfriend I had with me. Then again, maybe they were just having a bad day. Everyone has them. :idunno:

But otherwise I’ve always found people here to be friendly and helpful in terms of service in stores.

I find service to be mostly good in the sense of polite and willing to help. Where service is very poor here though is if you need the staff to understand the product they are selling enough to help you make an informed choice. This is particularly bad in a lot of outdoor shops, bike shops, and so on. The staff won’t know how to fit a pack, but will simply recommend a brand. It’s not rude, just not helpful so for many purchases I wait till I go back to Canada.

So overall, I like things here but wish there was more expertise where it’s needed.

I think a lot of staff are not trained by the company they work for, hence the lack of product knowledge. Also, at the kind of money most of them get paid, why should they care?
Apparently people that work in 7-11 gets paid NT$100 or less an hour…!

That said, in as much as people are always friendly here, asking for something that doesn’t compute for a local makes for some really awkward moments and it doesn’t matter how you try to explain sometimes, you’re just not going to get what you want.

On the other hand, go to somewhere like the computer market and they’ll spend half an hour explaining the pros (but never the cons) of any product you glance at for more than a second.

But yeah, the stalkers are annoying and I tend to get out of those kind of shops ASAP as well, it just feels creepy.

Restaurant service is very poor. Almost always unprofessional, part-timers or young people, can’t get any recommendations, passive, basically don’t make any extra effort and seems impossible to find a manager. Other things are pretty good in general.

Everyone has stories about people fucking up their food orders, but it is just because a certain percentage of the population goes full retard when they deal with a foreigner and their brain waves get jammed by static. I hate it however when foreigners act offended or get angry at local workers. If you don’t like the service, or if you feel like you have been disrespected, just get up and leave, that is what I do, no scene, no lip, just out the door. It is the only way to better things, people here DO NOT want some fuckin big nose telling them how to do their job.

I don’t have a problem with restaurant service, but then I’m not used to the standards people in the US are used to! I remember thinking ‘wow’ the first time I was in a restaurant there (and then, after having to add tax + tip to the bill, thinking ‘wow’ again). I don’t mind having to call the waiter over or getting my own chopsticks or double-checking that the order’s been copied right, so service here is fine by me. If they mess it up they’re usually really happy to fix it for you, too.

You nailed it … in most small places, restaurant workers aren’t professionals, not like in Europe where you can make a profession out of waiting … because here, in most places it doesn’t pay, and no tips to make up the lack of salary …

[quote=“Dangergyrl”]But she did not like people following her every move around the store. You know how I mean not like a crook. Salesperson: “Try this, how about this, this one is good…(commission + not looking lazy???)”.[/quote]I totally felt like a crook the first few times. Then I learned how to say “Thank you, I’m just looking” in Chinese. That does the trick.

Why do they do that? Everybody knows you never go full retard.

On a side note, I went to a new local “Italian” restaurant a few weeks ago with the GF…overpriced but the pizza was ok…anyway we were the only 2 people in this nice little place to start. We ordered our food, and some kiwi drinks. We had the typical server who could not even attempt to communicate with foreigners when I asked how big the pizza was, complete with sign language (and My GF’s attempts…she speaks enough Chinese to ask). But someone else there was normal and spoke a little English and confirmed our order.

20 minutes later we had still not received our kiwi drinks and had to ask for them…the whole time the 2 people working there/serving were just kind of lingering around the counter 15 feet from us. I guess they thought they should bring the drinks with the food and us having nothing for 25 mins wouldn’t be a problem? I’m pretty sure it was a family operation too. What are they thinking?

At the end I didn’t want to eat there again, but I did like the pizza and considered coming back to pick some up. I asked if they had takeout, but they don’t even have boxes for the pizzas. They thought we lived across the street and told us they could bring it on a plate lol. Ok I don’t quite live in the city.

Nice enough people but so many here just don’t get the effort it takes to attract and maintain a loyal customer base in the restaurant biz. Location, correct pricing, food quality, service, comfort…very rare you find all of those things in one place here, which is why I rarely venture out to new restaurants without a recommendation.

I think customer service is generally poor in Taiwan. This is probably due to lack of training and low pay. Surprisingly Mac Donalds is pretty good in terms of service (comparatively). I would guess they get some training at Mac. The worst place for customer service in my experience are cell phone service providers and some banks (not all).

Restaurants usually ask when you want the drink. Many Taiwanese actually prefer it after they’ve eaten. Sounds like communication issues to me. Brush up on those language skills. :wink:

I like the service here; very expedient! Tell 'em what you want and they will usually try to give it to you as quickly as possible. If there’s any doubt about whether or not they can do something for you, they’ll simply say, no, we can’t do that. No farting around. :thumbsup: I get impatient with the western service model; I do not want to get to know the guy who is checking me into my hotel room or the girl serving up my coffee…I just want to get in the room or get the beverage and go on with my business.

That’s true, might be a local preference to get drinks later. Not a biggie, but they still could ask. They did put a lot of thought into the look of the restaurant, so to me it’s weird they were not thorough in the service aspect. Main reason we didn’t go back was the price and mediocre pasta though.

I agree about the western customer service model being annoying and inefficient…very bureaucratic in many ways. Here there’s no BS.

Foreigners that go out to for a meal, mostly order a drink (beer, wine etc.) ‘we’ want it now, before the meal … Taiwanese go out to EAT … not drink … they order when ask for, but not always … they just have their potable water, sip it … if it’s a set menu they’ll have their coffee or tea afterwards …
In most western countries you’re expected to order a drink, and you rarely get drinking water on the table for free …

I had to tell my waiting staff … if people order beer, bring it to the table before the meal, and surely when they are foreigners … but I guess that people couldn’t complain about waiting to long as they got appetizers as soon as they sat down …

This reminds me of the time my husband and I went shopping in the “high-class” furniture shop with the special slippers and tea and stalking salespeople. The salesman was following us so closely that we made up a secret code word and whenever one of us said it, we both stopped suddenly and he crashed into us. Then we turned around, really upset and he apologized profusely. Alternately, one of us would suddenly about-face into his face. After about seven times, he gave up and trailed at a more comfortable distance.

Overall, my experience with customer service from “utilities” in Taiwan has been excellent, and in certain mom and pop shops it has, too. There seems to be a lack of training/incentive in other industries, but a person gets used to it. Getting the hinet fixed over the phone in thirty seconds or having the cable guy come over the same day make up for any minor inconveniences. That being said, what is the “service” charge in restaurants for if it doesn’t go to the servers? I’ve always wondered about that.

Restaurant service i found to be passable but not the best as nobody really puts forth any effort to ensure you are having a good experience or if you want something else.

When it comes to customer service at places such as phone, internet, and banks etc, I found everything I requested to be the equivalent of pulling teeth. A few times I asked for a manager and the person outright refused. I assume this may be because the manager may have told them to handle all the complaints themselves. It took a couple of times of just refusing to go before someone would get the manager. And heaven forbid you ask for something that is ‘outside the box’.

I know it is a bit of an OT, but if you think customer service is bad, you see what the local Human Resource office does to the company’s employees.