Being able to foresee the future demands of the market and courageously respond to its emerging needs of the market are two of the basic qualities of a successful entrepreneur. In the Philippines, I think CD-R King is one of the many local business ventures that adhered to this idea. If I am not mistaken, CD-R king started as a wholesaler and retailer of blank CDs. However, the relatively lower prices and varied choices made the company a household name from CDs to computer accessories.
However, CD-R King’s efforts of increasing their line of products and branches created a trade off with one important aspect of entrepreneurship, customer service.
I am not a direct victim, but I have personally witnessed and heard a lot of incidents of poor customer service encounters among the sales personnel of different CD-R King branches. Allow me to enumerate ONLY SOME unforgettable incidents I have witnessed.
- CD-R King Gateway Branch (2nd floor of Gateway Mall near Cubao LRT 2 Station) – I bought two blank CDs and gave a Php 50 bill. The total amount of my purchase was around Php 20. The saleslady requested for a smaller bill. I courteously told here that my Php 50 is the least I have. I stood for more than 10 mins. The saleslady did not bother to apologise for the long wait. She made me wait until another customer paid Php 20 bills. I could understand that shortage of coins and bills becomes an everyday problem of any shop. However, passing this burden to your customers is not so right. I hope shop owners or even other sellers would realize more than the provision of quality goods and services, handling of payments is also your responsibility.
- A Backstabber Saleslady (same branch) – I arrived at the same branch to purchase a laser presentor. A dissatisfied lady went out of the shop. I never heard the lady utter anything but by looking at her face, I’m sure that she experienced and said negative things. While I was waiting for my turn, one saleslady said, “yang mga customers na yan akala nila sila ang nagpapasweldo sa atin.” (Those customers act as if they are the ones paying for our salary) I wanted to reply, “Miss, bakit hindi nga ba?”
- Deadma Personnel – While I was waiting for my turn to purchase CDs, one lady went to the electronic gadgets area and inquired for a tripod. There were two store personnel who were just chatting and laughing. They never managed to render a single reply to the lady’s query. The lady repeated what she said in a sarcastic voice. The female store personnel said, “anu pong klaseng tripod?” (What kind of tripod?) The customer replied, “yung para lang sa digicam.” (the one intended for a digital camera). The female store personnel went out and never showed up. The customer then talked to the remaining store personnel. He replied, “ma’am wala na po.” (ma’am, it’s no longer available). The lady customer was fuming mad and left the shop saying, “sana kase kanina pa sinabe.” (You could have said it earlier.) I thought the incident was over but the female store personnel emerged from nowhere and imitated the voice of the irritated customer. All the store personnel later went on a full blast laugh trip. Laughing over a dissatisfied customer? This is definitely a perfect approach to gradually destroy the company that provides your employment and salary.
- Unending long lines (good for all branches) – The long and sluggish movement of lines is a common attribute of most CD-R King branches. In their SM Manila branch, they once implemented a number queue system, which gave them more troubles. Why? The queue machine is not accurately working. Where can you see a queue machine that skips numbers? On a positive note, long lines is indicative that people really prefer to patronize and trust CD-R King’s products. However, if this problem is not resolved, CD-R King might soon miss the benefits of having long lines in their shops. They should remember that the Philippines is a free enterprise economy. In the near future, better competitors will soon emerge.
- Slow Manual System of Preparing Receipts – This is I think one reason why CD-R King became notorious for the long lines in almost all of their branches. I don’t have problems with handwritten receipts. However, the “manual” way of generating their receipts is what I dislike. Each time you purchase an item, the saleslady has to enumerate in handwriting all the items you have to purchase. Apart from the items, the VAT amount of your entire purchase has to be computed. If only each branch of CD-R King could implement computer-generated receipts or bar coding technology, the long lines could be diminished. Paying and generating receipts would be easier if CD-R King branches could adopt automated or computerized payment and receipt system. I also realized something ironic about CD-R King. They are selling technology related products but their issuance of receipts remain manual.
CD-R King could perhaps consider the case of Mercury Drug Store. In the medicine section of the drug store, pharmacists can take orders of multiple customers. Through the help of computers, the pile of purchases reaches only one cashier. Even though Mercury has a single cashier in the medicine section, it can accommodate multiple clients in the shortest possible time.
I wrote this entry not to merely throw destructive criticisms against CD-R King. My entries are narrations of my personal experiences. In the end, I still wish that the management of CD-R King would be able to resolve their customer service issues.
I am not an expert in Customer Service but as a typical customer, I would like to propose some measures.
1. Establish an accessible and responsive Customer Feedback Mechanism – If the management of CD-R King is really observant, a lot of customers are voicing out their complaints in social media. Customers are already creating their own feedback mechanism for the company. In Facebook, I encountered a number of “hate pages” for them. I’m not sure if its an official page, but CD-R King’s fan page has a section where customers can post their complaints. I don’t know if their management is acting on these complaints. A link to one of their hate pages is posted below
What I suggest for the company is to establish their own ACCESSIBLE and RESPONSIVE CUSTOMER FEEDBACK MECHANISM. Accessible in such a way that all customers could voice out their complaints in different and convenient means. They can offer a text hotline, email, or social media accounts dedicated to answer queries. Since the company is already notorious of their poor customer service, the management might consider posting a visible signage in all of their branches stating of how they could report complaints.
Customer Service complaints and suggestions forms available in each branch could also be made . Customers could write their complaints and place them in a locked drop box. Although I feel that this would not really work out because placing of complaints will be too obvious. Customers might not be that comfortable.
Responsive customer feedback mechanism means that the concerned department or management is acting on the reported incidents. Complaints sent through email and text deserve a reply. CD-R king should send response letters thanking the customer for reporting complaints, asking for further details to clear out the incident and informing customers of what actions were undertaken by the company.
2. Provide incentives to “customer friendly” branches – In fairness to CD-R King, I found one customer friendly branch. Their branch in Robinson’s Metroeast accommodated me well, when I purchased a speaker for my iPod. The saleslady was smiling and courteously attended to my queries. The company could implement a reward system for branches that exemplified excellent customer service as perceived or rated by the customers. Branches who receive positive feedbacks from customers deserve some pat on the back in the form of certificate of recognitions, monetary or other non-monetary awards. The company could even implement a contest for this one. The most customer service branch could receive attractive prizes.
3. Name plates please! – Since customer service complaints usually arise from unfriendly store personnel, the management should ensure that all store personnel wear a visible and readable name plate. In cases of complaints or positive criticisms, the customer know who will be the right person to report.
4. Retrain your store personnel – At some point, the management of CD-R King should consider giving seminars to trainings on customer service to their sales personnel. Make them learn and realize the importance of aiming to provide excellent customer service.