This winkle (bike shop) on my street has amazing service. Go to a shop with walls, however, and you’ll get active retardation.
These are some things that annoy me about customer service in Sri Lanka. I’ve gone into great detail about people following you around at shops on YAMU. I really hate that. That’s one thing that super annoys me and which I think is objectively bad. Here’s that plus four more.
General Note: As a note, Sri Lankans are generally really really friendly and cool. We are amazing in small family businesses and kades and in rural areas and get a bit worse in corporate situations. In big corporations or call centers it is the usual rabbit hole madness, but your default customer service in Sri Lanka will be good. Except when it’s really bad.
- Not Saying Hello:
When someone walks into your house, you greet them. A lot of places don’t do that, they don’t even acknowledge people that walk in. It’s rude. I’m not even saying serve me immediately, but just look me in the eye and say hello, or smile. That’s it. I’ll wait for half an hour if the staff communicates with me, but when they avoid eye contact I get quite angry and often leave. It’s just rude.
- Creepy Staff:
I’ve noticed this in India too. Not only do they not greet you, staff will follow you, silently and creepily. They will just follow you and stare, AKA, stalk you. I find this incredibly disturbing and I usually leave stores where this happens, which is all too often. It is the best way to actively ruin a shopping experience.
I think this is the worst of the lot. Seriously, dudes act like Gollum, my precious, my precious… shoes?
- Door Tension:
Often they will have a security guard at the door who doesn’t pay attention. So when you get up to the door you don’t know who’s going to get it, then just at the moment you reach out, they finally wake up and grudgingly open the door. This is an awkward social interaction that just doesn’t have to happen. Either pay attention and open the door or don’t stand there.
- Martyr Parking:
Sometimes the parking attendant will just stand behind your vehicle and tell you to ‘come come’ regardless of what the traffic is. They are literally standing in the path of your car, and telling you to back both into them and oncoming traffic. It’s the opposite of helpful. I’ve rarely seen a parking attendant tell someone to wait a minute cause, you know, there are cars coming. It’s like they don’t want to disappoint you and end up having no useful connection to reality.
- Armies Of Incompetence:
Yesterday I was at Keells buying a few ice cream cups and there were literally five people behind the counter. It took them five minutes. I had no idea what was going on. It was like three ice cream cups.
At so many places they will have a lot of people to do very little, or even negative amounts of work. Cops, tech support, whatever. There is usually one guy doing something and four watching, if not actively messing it up.
Oh, and there’s more. Things that are personal peeves but perhaps OK are managers not letting you take photos, or staff that isn’t empowered to take any decisions without calling someone who isn’t there, or attendants that pay no attention to who was in line first, etc. The photo thing is debatable but I think the rest are pretty universal. Sri Lankans are generally nice, but the leap from being hospitable at home/village to customer service in shop/city has not been entirely successful. We’re getting there. Dudes just need to know.