SINGAPORE - In the thick of the pandemic travel restrictions, an overseas customer who was buying a set of headphones from TC Acoustic for his girlfriend in Singapore wanted to include a card with the delivery.
While there are no gifting options on the audio store's website, a staff member bought a card and hand-wrote the customer's message on it for the delivery as a complimentary add-on.
"How do you train someone to do that?" asked TC Acoustic chief executive Christian Honegger, who attributed it to the core values of the company, where employees are trained to put themselves in customers' shoes.
"Yes, things like the product's warranty period may be over but does that really matter? Instead we think about what we can do to help this customer. We empower our staff to override the fine print and make the customer's day," said Mr Honegger.
With an almost perfect score of 9.99, the company is ranked No. 1 out of more than 1,600 companies in The Straits Times and Statista's Singapore's Best Customer Service 2022/2023 survey.
Tat Chuan Acoustic was started in 1966 and rebranded as TC Acoustic in 2010. The firm with 72 employees here also distributes audio equipment in Hong Kong and South-east Asia.
In Singapore, its flagship store is at The Adelphi, and there is an experience centre in Paya Lebar where customers can test products, make exchanges or extend the warranty of their products.
It carries major audio equipment brands such as Sonos, Klipsch and Marshall.
In the survey, TC Acoustic topped the consumer electronics category, outranking far more established players Apple (8.54 points) and Best Denki (7.5 points).
Staff at TC Acoustic went the extra mile for customers when the pandemic thwarted face-to-face interactions.
For instance, they used courier services to pick up and return products that needed to be fixed when customers were not allowed in-store due to pandemic curbs.
The online store was beefed up with live chats for immediate interactions with customers, and video chats were used to show customers how to set up and use their products.
"We believe that relationship is above revenue and that people are above profit," said Mr Honegger.
The company's efforts have paid off. Its 240 Google reviews in April 2020 shot up to over 2,400 in August this year, with an average five-star rating.
Mr Honegger said the company takes feedback seriously, reading every single review, whether on Google or on its e-commerce stores on Lazada and Shopee.
When the occasional negative review comes up, he said, it apologises and asks for a second chance.
On topping this year's customer service ranking, he said: "Customer service is not something that the senior leadership is executing, it's done by the team on the ground, so we're extremely proud of them."