Quality of Customer Service of Music Stores in Singapore


New member
Now, I believe many of your guys out there have definately encounter different types of customer service that´s being dished out by the local music stores here in Singapore.

Places like Swee Lee Music, Davis guitar shop, Sinamex, Music Plaza etc...personally, I think that the overall service quality is still bad... I heard numerous friends relate to me how bad their shopping experience, like the sales guy in the store looking down on you if you´re dress like a rocker( we are indeed, in our hearts ) and asking you "what´s your budget?" in a stuck-up tone, when you asked him about that shining American Fender Strat in the closet...

Bad attitude and customer service indeed..These sales I think those people in the stores are not sales people, they are probably musicians who have no business sense and are trying to be salesman. Once, I was enquiring about the EXP strings from Daddario and when i tried to open up to feel how the coating is like, the sales person stopped me. Telling me if i open the box, the string will rust.

Come On! I am not an idiot! Firstly, The package was not air sealed, and secondly, the string is coated to enhance the string life! I told him these but he insisted on not opening the box. I am not being picky and i think it´s reasonable for me to just have a feel of the strings. The fellow simply takes his customer for an idiot.

Seriously, i don´t mind paying more to go a store with good customer service( we musicians need to be pampered anyway :) Anyway, i think the overall customer service here in Singapore is still bad. If you have your own bad experiences, do it vent it here and share it out. peace.
You are not 100% correct..Not all the shops..Yamaha guys do a good business follow-up eventhough the pricing is sky high..

Secondly..Sweelee is selling at skyhigh price with worst customer support among all Music Inst dealers in Singapore..

City Music Guys are fairly Ok..

Sinamex-The most expensive and non negotiable..Customer support is excellent..

Overall..the Music instruments are sold at high price in Singapore compared to Japan and US..

The sales reps in most of the stores lack in depth of knowledge about gears...Also The new gears arrive late in Singapore... :wink:
Ha! Musician´s with an altitude makes bad salesmen!

I know who ya talking about when it comes to Sweelee. But those guys have been there for ages.

Davis, nuts, they know nothing about music, asking them would be better off asking ourselves.

But well, Davis is a homegrown shop.

Can´t blame musicians for their altitude, they do have much grievances, but sure do if they help themselves with some sales techniques. And still there would be rockers like us trying out stuff for free as a jam or show-off. Wreaks the hell out of them needing to put in and out, oh come on, they do want to have some private time alone to jam as well.

Besides, you can´t drive that smug of Swee Lee veteran´s face when u´ll posing on the guitars there unless ya good. Don´t even think about what´s going on at the bottom of their mind, jus let them pose, you´ll know the answer.Ha!!
You don´t have to ask.....the minute you stepped into the shop you know those people just aren´t friendly. if they were, they´d at least say hi. everywhere outside singapore that i went gave a different quality services but the customer services here (not all stores) kinda suck. i mean not all of the sale assistants but most.

But since i have lotsa friends who are working in music stores here, i don´t have a problem. just it´s dissapointing to see them sales persons or even some of my friends doing that to other customers.
Recently, I was in Hong Kong and had a little time to pop into the music store there (Tom Lee Music). The difference between them and the stores back in S´pore became evident the moment you step into the store.

For one, the keyboards were all displayed, hooked up and turned on for anyone to try. (c/o the stores back home - you´ll need at least 5 minutes for the people there to turn it on, pluck it into the amp, find the pedal etc and then they give you a few minutes to try it; once you stop playing, they turn it off immediately). The people working there don´t breathe down your neck once you touch a keyboard and give you that "Do you want to buy; if not then please don´t damage my goods" look. They leave you alone and give you help when you ask. The only keyboard that wasn´t turned on, unfortunately, was the Roland VR760 which I really wanted to try. But my 2 year old son was kicking up a fuss and I did not have time to ask them to turn it on and let me have a go.

Same with the guitar section. You just try from the low end guitars to the high end Takamines and Taylors and the workers there just leave you to yourself until you need help. Really enjoyed my time there.
Only those who've been in S'pore all their lives will NOT know abt bad quality of service here. Heh. Actually, S'poreans quite a rare breed. Cust Care & Public Relations here very bad, but S'poreans don't know. Or maybe they just keep quiet, in case they get into trouble. Everyone knows the worst Cust Care is in govt sector.

Similarly, in Germany's TeleComms, also get same curt treatment. But they know better.

But I must say this in defence of ALL salespersons in S'pore. Day in day out, u hear govt services talk down to u like u're an ungrateful burdensome child. Giant banners outside libraries tell u to speak Ploper Engwish, implying that u speak badly. Ministers tell u (if u female) to accept guys' *erm* advances "in the name of national interest!", or u'll be branded 3rd-class citizen (worse than the 2nd-class u already r). Govt "tell" u to be more creative, but punishes creativity that falls outside conformity.

So, u get impression u can't speak well (or risk ridicule if u try Ploper Engwish). U feel low enuf being "inferior" to non-citizens. U understand (via classical training) that creativity means pain, not gain.

As a result, u decide to simply stare down ur customers (only risk-free comms technique left). U try to appear higher-class than customers (reflex action). U don't speak politely, or make interesting small talk (in case PAP catches u in the act!). U know u shouldn't "get creative", or else u'll get punished.

What's a salesperson got left? :)

Sorry for exaggeration. But the essense is there. Few pple talk abt it openly, becos the political climate here teaches them not to. Go to the golden triangle, go indonesia, u'll understand what is political acclimatization. Pple here waiting for spoon-feeding, & most won't like exams with unconventional questions, so won't feel the political climate. S'pore govt (like all others) doesn't punish conformists.

"Like Father Like Son", in truest sense of that phrase.

So, I implore everybody to cut some slack for S'porean salespersons. As for govt officials, the above saying holds as well. Cut them some slack too.
Had an experience too, emailed Swee Lee regarding some sales stuff, asked some questions 'coz I was really interested in it! But I only got a curt reply, 2 sentence, 2 weeks later. TURN OFF! Looking at other avenues....

It takes 2 hands to clap. Singapore shops continue to dish out poor service because Singaporeans tolerate it. If we are "service sensitive", shops with bad service will be out of business!

Generally, I feel that most music stores are not adopting the correct business model and mentality. Look at clothings at Giodarno, Benetton, owned by HK fellas, they're adapting pretty well!!

Local music shop owners should learn from them. Nowadays, not only must the product be good, the service quality must be good as well! This is the "value" we are looking at. If they had any sense, they should tune in closely to forums like this to get "honest" feedback! After all, I'm sure most of us would not mind paying just a little more for great service and relations.

Generally though, smaller shops have much better service where the owner and the techs know the customers or try to get to know the customers. After all, the musician circle is only that big in Singapore and once a relationship is formed, they tend to go back to the same place!

Yamaha is not THAT bad because they are after all a very established international company with their own company policies that have been tried and tested in many other countries. Maybe Ibanez or Fender should set up a regional center here huh...

Guess most music shop salesmen are in essence, just musicians and not businessmen. As such, the tactic now, is to "make friends" first before being a customer....

I hope those big shop owners are looking in this forum! Learn a thing or two! Your customers are unhappy and there's no brand loyalty!
i was at MFO when a bitter incident took place, i nearly punched the manager there. yeah i'm that kinda guy, if you give me crap, be perpared to get crap in return. the service is that bad... i still harbour ill feelings for that particular individual :evil:

it's no use telling these old school managers/ owners to refer to the internet for feedback on their services, that same swine told me youngsters nowadays have too much free time so they turn to the internet to trash dealers. so what do you make of this my friends- they really deserve a punch in the face don't they?

anyway, i've friends in MFO/ Swee Lee & other places who are genuine nice people. my thumbs up to them :D
A little reality check here, history lesson...

Swee Lee was obviously the first in sg long before our time (youngsters). Back in 1946 or something like that they set up due to strong demand from woodwind players from the british army military band... Then as the story goes they evolve and became a music shop selling other stuff.

As it goes, (the story may not be very accurate but its something like this) the original swee lee had four main guys, namely the current swee lee boss's father, Davis Guitar's owner now and the City Music guy and maybe another guy i don noe... So it happened that one of them took over swee lee and the others opened up their own stores. That's about all i know roughly... So actually they are all from the same bunch. 8O

Service wise the swee lee bras basah guys do greet people and some of them are approachable. As to asking about budget, probably it makes their job a little easier (?) when there's soo many customers and everyone's basically wanting to try things out... Budget probably narrows down the choices. (I'm in sales heh so i know) Although you don;t see Giordano asking customers what budget they have for their polo tee, guitars on the other hand have prices ranging from $100+ to $16,000 custom shop whatever. It does help when you've already for the day served 20 people trying out stuff they don wan to buy so they know what the next customer wants or needs. They did let me try what i wanted, although i had no intention of buying on that day... Wake up people not everyone'e VIP so if YOU got attitude, then i think you should grow up. Ask nicely, get what you want, everything's simple. I've seen people hog expensive guitars, trying out for a long time though they obviously don wan to get it and they play blink 182 songs on a $3k guitar for like half an hour. Which is out of tune etc blah blah. Its not wrong to try, its not. I mean look at it this way. Imagine yourself as a guitar shop sales assistant and you have lets say average 10 of these wonderful people everyday. With girlfriends tagging along and all. How would you feel? Like a jamming room assitant? When there are other genuine buyers out there who NEED your assistance for their first classical guitar or something. Its not the price of the guitar. Its the blatant attitude of the guy trying the guitar out. In Giordano you can try as many polo tees as you want and the sales guy basically juz leads you to the changing room and that's it. Not so for a $3k guitar i should think. Reality check next time you walk into a guitar shop on a sunday and see the people playing on the amps. Juz take a look for yourself people... At my time when i wanted to get my bass long ago i actually felt shy to try out the bass coz i knew i wasn;t good enough to play... So what the heck am i TESTING it for if i don't know how to tune the blardy thing?? At least that was me then.

Yamaha has overal more friendly staff, prob because they aren't so busy most of the time (from what i notice). Anyway looking at the prices for bass strings there i think i'd rather go swee lee to get them... Yamaha doesn't have as many fun stuff to see but they are more classy and the sales people look more 'cultured'. But the other time i wanted to get my NE-1 bass Eq i got fed up coz they had NO bass amp, and they let me try out the thing on a teeny guitar amp at a volume i can't even hear. So much for testing. I got it anyway coz i needed the thing. Davis is a great place for parts coz they bring in Allparts stuff which you can order, no other guitar shop in sg carries their superiority for parts... Especially if you're a modder like me. The daughter and the young guy (Joe i think is his name) is very knowledgeable, next time you go ask them about stuff before you tell them off for being ignorant. But they look at people and they are sort of biased againsts youngsters... I'm not very young anymore so i'm ok, its from what i see they don't really entertain these people even though swee lee does... I guess it makes their work a lot easier and concentrate on genuine buyers...? Or polite testers...? :roll:
It all boils down to company policy in the end. If the company does not have a strict customer policy, then it's really hard to ensure good service and satisfied customers!

Further more, company policy must also satisfy its employees, a pissed off employee will no doubt carry it forward and piss off the customers. (Includes comission....return customer bonuses....satisfied customer bonuses...etc)

Company policy will also dictate customer selection. How the company filters out punks who just want to play a fool from those who are really looking for products.

I think asking for budget is ok, because I do agree it makes things alot simpler and it avoids those embarassing moments when u tested something and then realise its 5x your budget. But it should be done in a friendly and engaging manner instead of being condescending and arrogant.

Asking for budget also helps to filter "unwanted" customers, like keeping 'punks' out of the expensive show rooms. Things like testing policy also works, like 5 mins testing, max. It's not a solution, but at least it's a direction. This gives sales people are control over their work and in turn, they can focus on giving better service.

The curse of sales however, is that, regardless of ANY situation, he/she must be polite at all times. That's the requirement of the profession. A idiotic and dumb customer is no excuse to give him/her bad attitude even when faced with a complete m*ronic a**h***. Instead, the sales person should maintain control and politely tell off the customer eg "Sir, sorry, no testing allowed...can you please don't...etc"

Regardless of industry, professionalism is a must. I don't think you'll hear the receptionist telling you to *muck* off at airplane dealer if you inquire about prices there, even if you are just a prankster.

Service is not a job, its a profession and an art. Although not absent here, I think it's not emphasized enough.

Swee Lee's not THAT bad, some dudes there are pretty friendly, but what irks me there is their pricing policy ("Hey, that's $400, but I'll give you 20% off, $320." then you realise later on-line that $320 is the price ANYWAY)

My 2 cents worth...(I'm a service advocate)
I'm probably under-qualified to reply to this...cos I don't visit all the other music stores...but Yamaha actually doesn't give a crap about people...just as long as you don't damage their precious equipment...you're fine with them...I'm probably gonna get scolded for this...but...I like to go to Yamaha and try out the Electones there even though I know I'm not gonna be able to afford it...itz fun...and I can hear the different qualities too...the sales people only tell me about the number of different instruments...but for some of them the quality is horrible...absolute blarrgghh...anywayz...yes...they might seem much more friendly...but itz just cos they don't care enough to bother you...and...for the record...I do not play out of tune...lol...

furthermore...itz not just the music industry...just about the whole service industry in Singapore is whack...and kids see this...learn not to expect quality service...and end up giving bad service in future is they happen to become sales people...but to be fair...some sales people are genuinely VERY good...I just can't think of any examples right now...

And...I think they should let customers try the stuff...at least for awhile...before getting on their case...that way...if the customer in question is a good player...then sales would actually be boosted...because all the rocker wannabes will be tripping over themselves to buy the instrument...if the customer in question is bad...then they can subtly hint (dosage of hinting depends on the customer) that maybe they should stop trying...

Muackz to all...

Once, I was enquiring about the EXP strings from Daddario and when i tried to open up to feel how the coating is like, the sales person stopped me. Telling me if i open the box, the string will rust.

Hmmm... EXP and all other D'Addario strings (except certain classical guitar sets i think) come in this Bell Labs corrosion protection packaging. A bit 'extra' since EXP is supposed to be THE corrosion protection coated layer anyway... The sales guy must be damn nuts then. Even if open the packaging there's still the sealed plastic bag what so what's the problem?!

But my friend did get loose guitar strings somewhere once and its rusted... The shop said its due to some buggers taking it out and touching it then putting it back... Skin oils do cause the string to rust. For a small number of pp their skin oils are really corrosive, and moreso for people with sweaty hands...

Anywae if u want to check out the EXPs, they come as standard factory-installed on most Ibanez acoustics. Check them out... You can play them too rather than juz touching it fom the box :wink:
i think the best service so far really would be Luther Music. The first thing he says to u when u step in is

"eh, in here, our service is BETTER than Swee Lee and all that rubbish. Here, we let u try out all our instruments before u buy. Play first. Play until u happy then buy"

this kinda great service, onnly found at LUTHER.
My bro bought a mexi fender strat from there, and loves it! Great service!
Silencer said:
The first thing he says to u when u step in is

"eh, in here, our service is BETTER than Swee Lee and all that rubbish. Here, we let u try out all our instruments before u buy. Play first. Play until u happy then buy"

He didn't say that to me leh... Maybe i look too much like a bouncer :lol:
Hey, does anyone knows whether the pickup installation service at luthermusic is gd or not? I've saw a posting on this site that they are charging high price just for a simple set up of guitar. Are there anymore guitar technicians apart from the guitar clinic beside Sinamex?
Jenix said:
Hey, does anyone knows whether the pickup installation service at luthermusic is gd or not? I've saw a posting on this site that they are charging high price just for a simple set up of guitar. Are there anymore guitar technicians apart from the guitar clinic beside Sinamex?

hmm.. you can try music plaza at plaza singapura. they provide this service too, i think. hmm.. dunno if you'll be able to find a better price anywhere else, though i personally doubt so. in my opinion luther's always been charging very reasonable prices.