The experience of customer service in Khrungthep vascilates between the obnoxious (see “Aqua Filter” previously) and surprising. On Sunday I encountered the surprising, which was… in a word, surprising.
Our Electrolux coffee brewer, which we had purchased in January, crapped out on us shortly before my trip to the United States in March. For weeks now we’ve made do with a single serving size French press brewer. Coffee for two takes a long time and is quite involved.
Replacing the brewer would run us at least 1500 baht (US$ 40) and that would get us the same thing we had before. Nicer models were well north of that point. I asked whether there were any places to repair small appliances. Tawn suggested that we bring it back to Central, the department store where it was purchased, to see if they’d do anything for us.
Thailand is known for its friendly service, but not for its “the customer is always right” attitude. From my experience travelling, the US really is home to the best customer service. You can bring almost anything back any time and you’re likely to get a replacement or some compensation. That is not the case here.
But we decided to try. So we brought the coffee maker into the store in a canvas tote bag and took it to the home electronics department.
After explaining to a supervisor that it wasn’t working (and noticing her shock that the carafe had not been washed out after our last attempt at making coffee – my mistake!) she went to plug it in and inspect it. In an unprecedented (for Thailand) display of customer service, a few minutes later she brought out a new coffee brewer in the box and swapped its contents for our broken coffee brewer.
No further questions, no need for a receipt or other documentation. The odd thing, though, was that she kept the box: we had to carry the new brewer home in the tote bag.
I’m glad the “buyer beware” mindset is changing, at least on this small scale. I’ll have to be sure to share this story with Paul, Tawn’s cousin, who is a VP with Central’s retail group. (Hmm… should have just pulled some strings, huh?)