17 February 2015

Why the smallest of details count the most when it comes to customer service.

Today, I'm writing about something I normally wouldn't.

Customer service.

Customer service is one of the most important things when it comes to business. Without it, you cannot sustain a stable and steady clientele which is essential to the success of a business. Building rapport with your clients or customers doesn't just come down to how you speak to them; body language and attention to detail are probably the biggest influencers when it comes to building that trust and business relationship.

I've worked in retail for 6-7 years now and for just over 3 of those years I've worked in sales & customer service and had the opportunity to spend a lot more time with customers compared to my previous retail roles. These last 3 years have taught me a lot about people and I have unintentionally set a high standard for customer service whenever I go out.

What does it mean to provide excellent customer service? It's not about sucking up to the customer. You should approach customer service the way you would, as a customer yourself, in the manner you wish to be treated. There should be attention to detail and a genuine willingness to assist the other person as best you can. 

The reason I'm touching on this topic is actually because of a recent experience I had with a salon I have been going to since 2009. I hadn't always had the BEST experience there - the worst experiences were directly related to poor service from trainees - but I would only ever go to see one stylist and I have trusted him with my hair since the salon opened. Unfortunately, news got to me that he had decided to leave that salon and I was left in utter disbelief.

It had taken me a long time to find a regular stylist to go to for my hair. I have had some pretty appalling experiences with hairdressers in the past and with those experiences, pretty shocking haircuts and styles to boot! It was really upsetting to hear the news, but I was even more upset because I had prepaid a special treatment package just last year and I had 7 treatment vouchers to go.

After chatting to a girl friend about it, she decided to buy one of the vouchers off me so we could go and get treatments together the following month. Yesterday, we finally had a free morning to book ourselves in. The experience, from start to finish, was enough to prevent me from visiting again. If not for the 5 remaining vouchers, I wouldn't even bother. Seeing as each treatment retails at $100 a pop, however, I don't think I can wistfully throw that money down the drain. (Since I bought the treatments as a special prepaid pack, the vouchers average out to be just over half price)

Monday morning, my girl friend and I arrived just before our appointment. We were greeted by a lady (whom I've never really noticed around the salon previously) with a grim look on her face. No smile, no cheerful greeting. Just mumbling and an expression which read 'Monday-itis' all over it. Look, I understand if you're tired, you've had a bad morning, you had a late night, or you generally hate your job.. BUT! You're here now, aren't you? So do your job. Provide excellent customer service, even if it's just a simple smile and a 'good morning, how can we help you today?'.

No matter what people say: First impressions last.

There was only ONE staff there whom I recognised. I had previously been served by him at another salon prior to this one opening. Everyone else was an unfamiliar face.

My friend and I had our hair washed and were then seated down next to each other. Hair treatment commenced and all I kept thinking was.. something wasn't quite right. This nagging feeling kept creeping up on me during the entire process. I really wanted to chat to my friend about it, but it didn't seem appropriate.

Something was missing. All the little bits of attention to detail which the regular staff did were missing. Things like, covering my legs with a towel when I'm wearing a skirt or shorts while I'm sitting at the washing station, reclining the chair at the washing station so that my legs are on the leg rest, wiping my face when they've accidentally sprayed water onto me (*sigh* it happened twice), offering a complimentary beverage during the first round of the treatment.

There was just no attention to detail at all. This, coming from a salon where I have frequented for almost 6 years. These small details had always been an integral part of their level of service and also a big reason why I recommended the salon to so many friends and family. It's a given that, perhaps because the owners weren't there, and the staff were all seemingly unfamiliar, there was perhaps no proper order in the way the salon was being run that morning. I could feel urgency, stress and disorder there. It made for a terrible experience. Perhaps if I had not been a regular there, I would have written it off as just a regular salon and wouldn't think much of it. Perhaps, my previous experiences have built up the place too much so now the level of customer service given is now regarded as completely unsatisfactory.

Attention to detail aside, our treatments did not go well. I have had this treatment many times and it involves a two step process. A mask is applied liberally and massaged into my hair ends before applying the treatment bag over my hair and using a machine to apply a some kind of 'special' steam. After that, the mask is rinsed off. Hair is towel dried, then sprayed with a keratin spray and slightly dried using a hair dryer. After that the steam is applied again, but without the bag. Once finished, hair is rinsed again before a blow-dry and style. When I leave the salon, my hair is so darn smooth and looks really gorgeous. It also has a weird treatment smell - not fruity or florally hahah it actually smells of the treatment steam used. Usually, my stylist will always finish my hair off with a bit of hair oil.

Compared to my regular treatment service, I received a remnant of what was supposed to happen and left the salon with slightly damp hair, with no finishing product and a 'no effort' blow wave ("because [my] hair is already very straight"), resulting in my hair not only feeling knotted when I ran my fingers through it, but also a feeling of total annoyance. My hair looks, feels and smells that way when I do a regular shampoo at home, with a super inexpensive conditioner. In fact, my hair feels a lot smoother when I use my weekly ~$10 Japanese hair mask!! How can this possibly be?! Well for starters, they shampooed the CRAP out of my hair after each treatment process. Talk about undoing the work of the treatment products. What a waste.

It was also very annoying that I had to wait quite some time for someone to dry my hair - while my friend's hair was already dried and styled. A girl who had served us tea, came to dry my hair and even threw in a comment that I needed to do my regrowth. She ditched me after a few minutes to attend to the front counter and I wasn't even reassured that someone would be with me soon. Why there was a lack of communication is beyond me. The guy who initially washed my hair had finished off with another customer and came to finish off the blow dry and blow wave. He was sincere but seemed rushed and this resulted in my hair not being properly dried and roughly 'blow waved'. It's so strange how much I took for granted. For me, it was always the norm for my stylist to be meticulous when it came to styling my hair - small sections at a time, not large sections being dragged by a round brush and a hair dryer to produce no body or volume *sigh*. After being treated so well for the past 6 years, it's blatantly obvious to see where a lot of hair dressers lack.

I have nothing but a bad impression after this visit. It only takes one bad experience to change a person's perception. I really hope they rectify their management and staff issues soon, because from where I stand, all I see is a sinking ship.

Bad customer service. No attention to detail. Terrible salon service.

I am not looking forward to my next 5 treatment visits. I want it to be over as soon as possible. I never thought things would go so far south after my stylist left. It's a real disappointment to see.

24 September 2014

It's been too long..

It's time to come back to my blogging roots.

I can't believe it's almost been 1 year since my last post. To be fair, I haven't really utilised this blog to it's full potential in over a year. I don't know when I decided that blogging, or even writing in a diary, was no longer therapeutic or a necessity to managing my crazy life (or lack thereof lol). All I know is... this morning I emerged from my slumber at 6AM and had an itch to start typing away. I'm not sure if I will continue to make a habit of this; I'm not even sure that when I do, I will dedicate all my posts to personal reflections or if I'll begin publishing reviews again. What I do know is.. whether anyone reads this or not, I'm posting this for me. And me alone.

Looking back on the past year feels like a blur; however for the first time in a while I can really acknowledge the fact that, "hey, a lot has happened!".

I'll admit, last year was a very difficult time for myself and a lot of people close to me. It was a sad period in my life and while all the hurt has withered away, I don't think I'll ever forget how much it shook everyone's lives. I'm glad to see that 9-10 months on, things are looking brighter though and that's all that really matters. I think the whole experience allowed me to appreciate my friendships a whole lot more and it taught me a lot about myself too. I learnt not to continue letting the past linger in my thoughts and decisions, and that honesty is so crucial in any relationship - including the relationship you have with yourself.

Although I am not an avid believer in fate, somehow, things seem to happen for a reason. Something bad may end up being the catalyst for bringing about something good. Then again, maybe all it comes down to is this...

There is no right answer in life.
Right and wrong answers co-exist in every decision.
Wise people make a choice and make it the right answer.
Foolish people regret the decision and make it the wrong decision.
There is no right answer in life.
There is only the process to make it the right answer.

I can't remember where I got that from, but I'm pretty sure it was from a Korean drama about divorce. Interestingly enough, even though I cut out the parts pertaining to marriage and divorce, I think the quote applies quite nicely to all aspects of life. This kind of outlook really reiterates that being honest with yourself, and in turn, trusting yourself and the decisions you will make is very important. When we aren't being honest and when we don't trust ourselves, all that's left is regret. We dwell on the 'what if's' in life, instead of the 'what is'.

I could sit here and list every single thing that happened over the past year - but I'm not going to. Today, I will say only this.. I am happy and I am grateful.

29 October 2013


My ultimate bias from JYJ (previously TVXQ) has finally released a full length solo album! I really love the rock influence in a lot of his solo projects. He is undoubtedly the BEST when it comes to ballads, that's why I'm so glad to see him break away from that and try something new. He is one of the few K-POP artists that can actually pull off more rock-pop tracks.

I'm a huge fan of this new release; 'Just Another Girl' has a great dynamic feel to it and the MV shows a less perfect version of JaeJoong (but let's be honest, the man is so darn handsome either way HAHAHA).

My absolute favourite track on the album is 'Butterfly'. It definitely has a nostalgic feel to the type of J-ROCK music I was into as a young'un hahah! 'Paradise' is also a favourite; incorporating a very light and delicate feel with underlining sensuality throughout. It just makes you wanna light a few candles and let the song lullaby you to sleep.

If you like rock music, this is definitely the album for you! It still incorporates solid ballads, some with more of a rock edge to it. In fact, I feel like JaeJoong touches on a few different styles of rock in this album. I'm probably more of a fan of the ones which are J-ROCK influenced :P

Download his full album on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/au/album/www/id733734708

16 October 2013

I'm two months late (◎ヮ◎) ....

I made an effort to take lots of foodporn pics for my 24th birthday this year but I put off blogging about it for two freaking months. Haha! Well, it's a beautiful day today and I can honestly say that I've exhausted my thirst for Korean variety shows, American TV shows and Japanese anime.. well not really but enough for me to sit down and start blogging again!

Twenty four. Twenty four... TWENTY FOUR!!
Wow. I actually still can't believe I am already 24! It almost feels like that older I get, the faster the years seem to pass by. Maybe I'm just a lot busier than I used to be. I've mentioned this to a few people (namely my customers) and I get the feeling that maybe we aren't THAT busy; we just get so caught up with whatever is happening that we don't stop to take a breath and reflect on life as much. My life is solidly WORKWORKWORK. SLEEPSLEEPSLEEP. Then, on my days off, SLEEPSLEEPSLEEP. CATCHUPONTVSHOWS. On occasion, I'll catch up with friends and have a super indulgent meal. For the most part, I've stopped doing things I really love though.

I really DO love TV, don't get me wrong... but what about my hobbies and interests? I don't bother doing anymore decoden (but it's probably because I've outgrown that phase), I probably don't read as much (even though I just bought 11 books from book depository the other week lol), I don't play with my makeup, go out and exercise, get entangled with photography and photo editing... the list really does go on! I don't do anything for ME anymore. I just do the simple things in life that don't involve much thought or creativity and that just help me wind down after being heavy loaded with work.

It's only now that I'm starting to really reflect on it. With summer slowly approaching, I want to be able to look at my life and feel some sort of fulfilment. Now that I've finished my studies, I have nothing but work to concentrate on and it's not even the job I thought I'd be in at this age. I know now that I need to invest my energy into more than one thing because I face so many disappointments through work and it hits me the hardest because I'm far too involved. I think I'd be a lot happier if I alleviated a lot of that into something else I enjoy more.

Anyway, this is all getting a little too D&M  for me.

 Birthday dinner with my family.
This year, I wanted to take my family out for a change and treat them to dinner as a small thanks for everything they've done for me. My plan failed.

My brother has a knack for grabbing the bill really fast because his in-laws always beat him to the punch whenever they go for family dinners out. I had no chance. Dad received the bill and my brother instantly asked to see the price and then BAM! He whipped out his credit card and it was over in a flash. I was actually really  upset that he ruined my plans but he told me that because he couldn't get me anything I wanted in Hong Kong, this was his present to me. Gosh.. silly brother.

The dinner venue was quite nice. Really great service and we had a nice private booth to sit in for dinner. The wait staff cooked and cut up all the BBQ meat for us and were very accommodating. I would say the food was delicious, but not something I would crave for. It's a really expensive place to dine in, so I doubt I'll be back until there's another special occasion.

Dinner with my friend of 11 years, Ciara.
My sweet Tofu-cheeks took me out for a really lovely dinner treat at Izakaya Den and Passion Flower for my birthday. I'd never been to Izakaya Den before and I never knew it existed becaause of it's low-key entrance (hidden stairwell lol). The atmosphere was really classy; think contemporary izakaya style. The dishes were all in small serves (just like many izakaya), but there was quite a bit to choose from. My personal favourites were the corn and also the pork belly (melts in your mouth *yum!*). They also had an extensive sake and alcoholic beverage list. I got myself two yummy cocktails hehehe. I would definitely go back, even though it was more on the pricey side. That's what you get for really GREAT food!!!

Dinner at Maguro with Alice & Tri.
My friends had told me about this place a few times so they decided to take me there as a birthday treat! The restaurant is small but still full of people. We ordered a big sushi platter to share as well as a few other things on the menu to try. I loved every single mouthful!! My favourites would have to be the grilled unagi nigiri and also the softshell crab handroll which the owner recommended to us! Really lovelly fulfilling meal~ I would definitely recommend this place and would  go again :)

 Chez Dré with Julie.
On my actual birthday, my parents were all out so I decided to go for a birthday brunch with Julie! It was her first time at Chez Dré so we decided to go all out on the food and desserts hahah! I've been to Chez Dré only once before with my friend Jasmin, so I haven't been able to try a lot of their food yet. Every time I do go, I'm always very happy when I leave. The food is very comforting and I love the runny poached eggs. The sauteed mushrooms are always super delish as well! The desserts were really perfect! I didn't eat the roasted coconut pineapple tart until I got home, but it was so silky and smooth and had the perfect sour/sweet combo from the pineapple. My other favourite is the caramel eclair, which I got last time too. You really must try it if you're a fan of salted caramel~

After brunch, we ended up walking along Chapel street for some light shopping. It was raining that day so there really wasn't much to do. It would have been great if the sun had been out, because then we could have just sat in a park or something. Oh well, that's Winter in Melbourne for you! 


All in all, I had a great birthday this year. Birthdays are becoming less of a big thing for me now that I'm getting older. That's why I didn't bother organising a birthday party this year. I expect that I might do something next year, but we'll see how things go haha. I'm just really thankful that I was able to spend some quality time with some great people in celebration of my birthday. I felt very spoilt with love and amazing food hahaha.

I hope that from now on, I can make time to blog a bit more often. Maybe once a week if I can. I'll see how things go. Anyway, thanks for reading and hope you enjoyed all the delicious photos! 

15 October 2013

K-POP Spotlight: SHINee's 'Everybody'.

This morning, I started scanning YouTube to see what was new and came across one of SHINee's comeback performances for their new release, 'Everybody'. I'll admit, I haven't really been following them as much since they released 'Why so serious?'. I still found the song catchy but didn't really have any urge to have it on repeat. Part of the reason was because Jonghyun had injured himself and so he was removed from the MV and a majority of the promotions. He's always been my SHINee bias, with TaeManMin (lol) coming up as my second favourite. The song lacked that, 'JongHyun-ness'. Haha.

Anyway, their new release is.. good but not great. Maybe because I have been so hooked on music which is a lot more hard-hitting (like Block B's VERY GOOD. Holy smokes, I freaking love that song and the entire concept is so crazy. I can't stop watching their MV for sheer entertainment!). I think the vocals are good but nothing that grabs me and makes me wanna sing along (The repetitions of 'Everybody~ everybody~' really aren't making me chant along for some reason).

I think I have outgrown SHINee!!!

 I'm a little devastated. I've been following them since their '누나 너무 예뻐 (Nuna, you're so pretty)' days, so it's pretty sad that I'm not really into their music anymore.

That aside, I love the concept of the new MV. But...

The dark concept does not suit the overall feel of the song.

Okay, so I read into the lyrics a bit more and I get the feeling there's a message of perhaps not losing yourself to how society places you after you grow into an adult. i.e. stay the young, fresh, free individual you are and take off your 'adult mask'. Err.. yeah something like that. I could be totally wrong but that's the type of impression I got from reading a few translations from Korean.

I mean, in relation to the lyrics, yes they kind of relate to the dark concept. You see a child with a mask and the dance choreography looks to symbolise adults being wind-up toy soldiers; following the norm and social expectations. BUUUUT....

To me, it looks like SM is just following the trend of super dark and eerie themes which seem to be quite the popular trend these days. Not sure they delivered it that well. I definitely prefer G-Dragon's 'Coup d'etat' and Jaejoong's 'MINE' over this MV any day. One of the major differences is: The overall FEEL of the song matches the DARKNESS of the video. Would you disagree?

Blogger's note:
It's been a long time since I last blogged. Last time I mentioned that I probably frequent my twitter and instagram a lot more these days. That's still true but I'm even beginning to step away from twitter as well. Social networking is getting a bit boring these days. I'm not sure my blog is read by many people anyway but I've decided that on my days off I might start blogging about things again. I was always careful about blogging about my personal thoughts and life because I had a bad experience as a teenage but it would be nice to express myself again in my own space. I really loved being able to be honest in my blogging and receive feedback and converse with all my fellow Xanga bloggers. Good old days. I miss them.