The customer experience is like a first handshake

Our readers have their say on stars of the screen, cyber attacks and customer service
A customer uses a drive-thru automated teller machine (ATM) at a Bank of America Corp. branch in San Antonio, Texas, U.S., on Thursday, July 12, 2018. Bank of America Corp. is scheduled to release earnings figures on July 16. Photographer: Callaghan O'Hare/Bloomberg

In reference to the article by Nick March Companies need to understand that it's people, not systems, that make customer service (July 18), it is indeed lamentable that almost all corporations have delegated their customer service to call centres or third parties. This is a grave error. An interaction between a customer and any company is like a first handshake. If the experience is sour, the customer gets a negative image and will tolerate his relationship with the company until he finds a better alternative.

There are a million agents telephoning you daily offering properties, loans and airline deals, with no regard for your time or privacy. However if a washing machine collapses or a delivery is delayed, you are compelled to talk to automated machines and poorly trained staff.

It is horrible to try to explain your problem with any product to ill-trained staff, who have little knowledge of the product, the technical issue and very often have no grounding in customer service.  The first lesson in marketing is “the customer is always right”. This is a basic axiom in customer service. Sadly more and more companies fail to appreciate this. Eventually they will lose market shares and close shop. For a company is only as good as its latest order book.

Rajendra Aneja, Dubai

It’s alarming that hackers are keeping step with authorities

I write in reference to your article Singapore says hackers stole 1.5 million health records in massive cyber attack (July 21): the enormous cyber attack in which hackers stole invaluable health records in Singapore was sad and entirely unacceptable. The records reportedly stolen are said to include those of the prime minister and health minister of Singapore, raising serious concerns over the motive of the criminals responsible. Despite the fast that governments are developing their technological capabilities, it is alarming that unethical acts like these are also on the rise.

K Ragavan, Denver

Don’t forget that screen stars are normal people too

The perception that the stars who grace our screens, showing no sign of the strains that afflict lesser mortals, are immune from the travails of life is indeed a myth. Screen casualties of late, such as Irrfan Khan and Sonali Bendre, who are both very ill, prove that under the skin, these legends are normal people who have been idolised by those who find, in watching them, an escape from the harsh realities of daily life.

Despite the emphasis placed these days on health and exercise, the toll of stress keeps on rising, baffling those involved in medical science, who search endlessly for cures to major diseases like cancer.

AR Modak, Johannesburg