Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The unbearable lightness of being a Creative fan

It's really tough being a Creative fan. Some people think you are crazy, most don't understand your obsession but you still do what you do although it's a thankless job really. You faithfully buy their (almost) every product, you try to promote the products through word of mouth or if you're absolutely crazy, you set up a blog dedicated to everything Creative.

However, an encounter at the Creative Store at the International Business Park today left me disheartened. I know in many parts of the world, Creative do not have a physical store selling only Creative products. In these areas, Creative rely mainly on its online store or authorised retail partners to sell its products. Therefore, many Creative fans around the world, who do not have the opportunity to come to Singapore to have a look at an actual Creative store will be able to – from a few pictures posted on this blog.

There were no signages or notices noticeable in the store that says “photography is prohibited”. I kept in mind what Creative's CEO Mr Sim Wong Hoo once said about NUTS (No U-Turn Syndrome) where "when you want to do something and you seek approval of a higher authority. When there is no rule saying that you can do such a thing, then the standard answer is NO … When there is no rule, we cannot do anything. We become paralyzed.". Since there were no signs saying that I cannot take pictures, it simply means that I can do so until I'm told not to. No?

After taking a few shots of the products display, one Creative staff (who was walking round and round observing me) finally drummed up the courage to approach me to tell me that photography wasn't allowed in the store before asking me my intentions. I politely told him that the photos were for my blog, a Creative fan site. He smiled and nodded his head and left. He went back to the counter and were whispering something to his colleague while looking at our direction. I didn't really care much about it and went back to look for the webcam that I wanted to buy.

To tell you the truth, I could spend the whole day at the store, trying out every one of the products or simply just ogle at the packaging. But I really can't do it when the sales people are keeping such a close watch on us as if we are planning to shoplift their ... erm I can't think of any products that people would want to steal. Just as we were at the webcam booth trying out the various cam's resolution, the same person approached us again, trying to peek into what we had in our hands (2 webcams btw) and asked us if we needed help. I proceed to ask him why one of the webcam's video quality was so mediocre and he fiddled with it for a moment (which did nothing to improve the quality) and then went on to tell me that it's because that laptop is using Vista, so the quality is abit laggy and something about the video isn't supposed to be stretched till this big therefore causing the pixelation. From that short conversation, I now know that Creative's webcams are not competible with Windows Vista (which is not true btw) and lousy (which is subjective). Well done!

In the end, I decided to get the Live! Cam Notebook Pro so I proceed to the counter to pay for my purchase. Just as the guy was processing my payment, that guy who served us suddenly reappeared behind the chashier and whispered something to him and promptly floated away. I REALLY CANNOT STAND THE WHISPERING/BITCHING. Anything just say lah. The next moment, the chashier handed me a piece of paper and pen and ask me to write down my blog so that "he can answer to his PR people". (Actually, I didn't know cashiers liaise with the PR department you know? Now that you do, maybe you do have alot to answer for.)

Upon seeing the "nothingbutcreative.blogspot.com", he went: "Oh, you're the one with the unboxing of the ZEN X-Fi right?" I nodded and smiled, thinking someone actually knew my blog! Until he say: "Your blog quite popular but brought us alot of trouble. People think that the (ZEN) X-Fi is a gimmick and we had a very hard time explaining." [-_-] I presume he was referring to the "Is there really an X-Fi chip in the ZEN X-Fi?" part of my ZEN X-Fi review. Dude, consumers deserve to make an informed decision when buying a product. If the ZEN X-Fi really does contain an X-Fi chip then why don't you just say it. If yes, I will be more than happy to update that information on this blog, if not, I will stand by what I say.

I know this might not be a very big issue but good customer service is paramount to Creative, a company that pride itself to provide the best technical support. I feel that some sales staff of Creative just do not have pride for their job. They should really read what Mr Sim Wong Hoo has written in the article No U-Turn Syndrome (NUTS) from his book Chaotic Thoughts from the Old Millennium. Especially the NUTS #6 - More Creative NUTS section. It's a pity that I have to experience such bad service, if it was others, I'm sure they will not patronize that particular Creative Store again. However, I do have very good experience shopping at the other two Creative Stores especially the Marina Square brunch. The staff there are so much more friendly and knowledgeable. Is it due to the fact that these two brunches are not operated by Creative. Com'on Creative, as the flagship store at the headquarters, the level of service should have been nothing but world class.

Photos taken today:


I messaged Creative about the ZEN X-Fi chip in the ZEN X-Fi and this is what they say:

Dear Kingone,
With regards to your enquiry, you might wish to know that the Zen Xfi contains the Xfi Technology within the player and not a physical Xfi chip.

Best Regards,
Customer Support Services
Creative Labs Asia


Anonymous said...

Dun creative have their paper bag? I was given an XXL bag for something one fifth its size?

shrimp said...

I totally agree. Creative really has to improve on its customer service.

Anonymous said...

staffs of creative, well done at tarnishing the reputation of creative. Haven't heard of G.E.M? don't bother anyway, apparently you guys don't fit the bill :)

DP said...

I agree that it is hard being a Creative fan. The radio DJ's who are Apple fans and thinks the iPod rocks, think the ZEN sucks. They say I'm crazy having a Zen Vision:M

Paul said...

Sorry that you had that experience. I'm subscribed to your blog and I know that your posts usually just make me more excited about Creative products~

It was really silly of them to give you a hard time. I think you're doing a lot to get word out about their products. I know in Minnesota there are no Creative stores.

I've actually sold two of the Creative Zens though (I work at Target) because I'm a strong supporter of Creative and they're more open than the Zune or iPod.

Sadly I'm a Zune user though =p

Varuna Singh said...

I'm a proud Creative Fan !

and I agree with everything you say !

Elisa said...

I am never going to the store at IBP!

The Spelling Bitch said...

It's "cashier". Well at least "millennium" was correct :)
WTF you came to creative resource and didn't even gimme a call.

Anonymous said...

Though Creative staff could have handled things in much professional manner, I cannot justify your actions too. Why the hell you wanted to take pics of every nook n corner of that building in a day ?! Don't you think anybody can become suspicious of your actions?

Btw I like your blog except this post, sounds childish!!


rudie said...

I;m also a die hard Creative supporter! i have 6 MP3 players made by creative and goes to the creative store in International Business Park frequently! to be true, that place is really a deserted place and thats no wounder shy the sales person is whispering to the other guy... if the store is packed, do you think they would be even talking to each other?

Anonymous said...

Buy an ipod and with it still in the case, stand outside the front door and yell "LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO"

platodino said...

ooo.. didn't know that's how the Creative HQ looks like.. the store itself looks so bleh to me.

and i totally understand how you feel. and that's the reason why i always have my earpiece on while fiddling away with the gadgets the other time at PS - was trying to make a decision between mozaic and x-fi. too me quite a while before deciding to wait for the Comex deals instead hahaa..

and "surprise surprise", no x-fi chip. but it's not too much of a deal if it does what it is suppose to do, though their advertisement is kinda misleading i feel. hmmm..

anyway, just to let you know - thanks to you i sorta became a creative fan! everyday checking this blog and epizenter as well. hahaa.. rock on dude.

Anonymous said...

- "There were no signages or notices noticeable in the store that says “photography is prohibited”." -

I went to the store before too..quite deserted thou..but if i remember clearly, i did saw signage stating no photography.. =)

kingone said...

Really? Where? If you look at the picture of thr Creative store, you will see that there's no notice on the glass panel, where it would have been a logical place to place the notice.

Anonymous said...

Well it is clearly stated at the pillars which is big enough. And secondly, i believed that Creative Staff do deserve a pad on the back as i went there to purchase speakers and they are more than helpful to explain to me and recommended the speakers that suited me. When i saw your blog i find it more "dishearted" that as a "fan" like you, you actually write something like tat. There is nothing wrong with your customer service at all. They did whatever they can to do the best for any customers.

SAD and super sad for you as a "FAN".

Anonymous said...

Well it is clearly stated at the pillars which is big enough. And secondly, i believed that Creative Staff do deserve a pad on the back as i went there to purchase speakers and they are more than helpful to explain to me and recommended the speakers that suited me. When i saw your blog i find it more "dishearted" that as a "fan" like you, you actually write something like tat. There is nothing wrong with their customer service at all. They did whatever they can to do the best for any customers.

I think you should revise what you write at your blog before saying they should improved.

Anonymous said...

Hey.. to the person who said, "Staffs of Creative, well done at tarnishing the reputation of creative", I only have this to say:

It's immature to accuse all of the Creative staff; I've had excellent service from their Plaza Singapura and Marina Square branches. They're both knowledgable and helpful.

kingone said...

I guess he meant those staff at IBP because this post is specifically about my experince at the IBP and me too had great experience at the Plaza Singapura and Marina Square brunch.

Btw, how do you know that it's clearly stated on the pillar. I don't think normal customers would notice such a small thing. Did you just put up the sign? And why can't a fan like me write about what I truly feel? As a fan, I truly felt disappointed at the sub-standard service rendered to me at the IBP. If a fan can say that, can you imagine what normal customers would say? And no, I will not revise what I say just because you think I should.

Wyane said...

Oh man... this is like a bitch fight. But i think if you guys wanna have a mature discussion, the least is leave names, now it just seems like an in the dark shouting session. Maybe kingone can pass me the ip addresses, i can back trace them and give everyone a name and face?

Paul said...

@ Tom:

Evidently you don't have a website. People who have fansites of a certain product/company obviously want to gather as much information as possible, similar to magazine or newspaper journalists. I for one cannot go to the store he displayed and I'm glad that I could at least see what a Creative store is like. I had no idea they even existed.

It's just part of the dedication in running a blog like this. So obviously it's frustrating to have a company shun you when you're actually giving out free publicity. It's really ridiculous.

Sadly the staff was doing exactly what they're trained to do. The blame is in fact wrongly attributed to them as they are literally doing what they're paid to do, follow corporate rules. I know that sometimes at my job I'd rather not remind people to follow some rules I find ridiculous, but it's not my place to make the call.