Customer Service in the DR - Your experience?

Robert

Stay Frosty!
Jan 2, 1999
20,575
326
83
dr1.com
If you have any great stories of "good" customer service please post them here. Negative ones will be deleted, so don't waste your time posting them.

And...

Do you think the DR will ever get to the level as in the story below?

--------

Starbucks is a wonderful invention. Coffee house for those who need a coffee house, meeting place for those who need a meeting place, and mobile office for those of us who like to work and meet people in a coffee house. I spend about $200/month in Starbucks, not including the funds I add to Starbucks cards used by others. Many of the Barista?s know me by name and drink, even across the nine or so different Starbucks outlets I frequent. One time I got a frantic client call from a client on my cell, about an urgent ?opportunity?. I said I?d call back in 5 minutes from my computer, because I was confident I was not farther than 5 minutes from a Starbucks. In Seattle, I doubt I am ever more than 2 minutes froma Starbucks, but I had to allow for bootup and log in time.

I sat at an outside table at the next Starbucks, opened my ThinkPad and dialed the cell. As I started with the client, a Barista came outside and said ?Hi John? and asked if I wanted my regular. Wow? awesome service, but no, thanks, I was only stopping for a minute, but really appreciated it! Talk about being treated like a King! That is a great customer experience. But that?s not the end of the story.

The client call went overtime? as everything does? nothing takes less than 30 minutes these days? and about 40 minutes later I was still there, still on the phone, and oblivious to my surroundings. Someone then placed a venti half-decaf drip coffee (my drink) onto my table. I looked up. The Barista smiled and said ?You look like you?ll be here a while; this one is on the house?. Outstanding.

From: http://www.johnon.com/

--------
 

AlaninDR

Mr. Chunky Skin
Dec 17, 2002
683
122
63
I think this thread is best suited for the Clown Bin.
Having said that, several years ago Verizon sent a person from Puerto Plata to my condo in Sosua for me to sign a contract that had been forgotten about at their office. I was amazed.
I must now temper that comment by saying that last week when much of the north coast was having internet problems, the rep Verizon sent had less knowledge than me about computers and connections.
So my general jaded view of Dr remains, good one day and bad the next. Seldom any continuity.
 

CarpeDReam

New member
Feb 17, 2006
362
0
0
I never understood why customer service is so bad in the DR. I could understand places in Europe (mainly France and Spain from my experience) because it's a bit of a cultural thing (not intending to offend or generalize). But dominican people are generally friendly and helpful; why does this change when they work. This isn't of course including tourist sectors. I'd like to think it's because they're stressed out--but really, a 2 hour break isn't enough??
 

Criss Colon

Platinum
Jan 2, 2002
21,843
188
0
34
yahoomail.com
I Have 100s Of Stories Of Good "CUSTOMER" Service In The DR!

But they are all "XXXX Rated"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:cheeky:
CCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCC

Hooker's Motto:...... "The Customer Always Comes First!";)
 

AZB

Platinum
Jan 2, 2002
12,269
488
83
Here is my story

I just bought a car from a dealership in santiago area, actually just a bit outside of santiago, close to airport on the autopista duarte. The dealer's name is veras Auto. The car was in perfect condition, camry 2000, and the price was negotiated to be about 1000 dollars less than any other dealer in the area, including moca. This car would have been sold for premium price because of its condition yet I got the price what I offered him.
Now here is my story. The car had a bad tire, sort of like puncture damage to the side wall of a fairly new looking tire; hole plugged and almost bursting out. I immediately asked the sales man to replace the tire before we will sign any papers. I was assured by the owner that the tire will be replaced.
I come back in the evening to pick up the car and to pay the money. I noticed that the dealership had lived up to their agreement and had changed the tire. The car drove off the lot running like a new car. I was impressed; however, I did feel a pull to the right side. I felt the wheels were not perfectly aligned. I took the car to the tire place to balance and align the wheels. That?s when I was shocked to see that I was cheated. It was the same with a hole in the side wall with a plug (cheap temp repair) but flipped inside of the car to avoid seeing the damage from the outside. I was furious and called the dealer and told everything that crossed my mind to the owner. I told him that he had cheated me by simply flipping the tired to inside to hide the damaged part. He apologized to me and tried to convince me that it was the gomero who cheated him. I wanted no explanation and asked him to immediately replace the damaged tire. He calls me back and asked me to go to his dealership. He then hands me money to purchase not one but 2 brand new tires. I was surprised to see a dominican dealer would go to such length to retain a dissatisfied customer, especially when he already had my money? I mean, the car was old and it was being sold as is. Needless to say, I walked out very pleased from the place and went straight to tire place on bartolome colon. Now check this out: De leon gomas, sold me 2 tires for good price and then balanced my 4 tires (including the 2 old tires in the back) and then did a computerized wheel alignment to my tires, all for free. This is something they offer to someone who buys 4 new tires, but because they know me as an old customer, they simply did it all for free even when I only purchased only 2 tires. This is considered good service in my books.
AZB
 

jrf

Bronze
Jan 9, 2005
1,016
10
38
I was in Sto Domingo and took a taxi from the bus station to my friends house.
It was at least a 20 minute ride. Well, turns out I left my baseball cap in the taxi. To my amazement he came back the following day and returned my cap.

Also, we, a friend and I, were on a guagua (bus) to get ready to head out to Haiti and I had bought some apples for the trip. Got on the bus and eating away waiting for the bus to get going and the vender steps away from his busy booth and hands me my change that I forgot.

Just damn well love it there.
 

PlantaFULL

New member
Oct 21, 2004
280
0
0
I consider customer service in the DR just slightly below the international/latin norm. Or let me put it the other way around.... customer service in the USA (and territories highly influenced by the USA) is way above what I would call a "natural business" standard.

Let me elaborate with an example.
Want to apply for a few jobs? Buy a plain paper fax machine at Office Depot, keep it for 2 weeks, use it all you want, bring it back and say "its not what I was looking for"... get the full money refunded. Some furniture shops let you virtually get brand new sofas every 2 years if you make sure to spill some wine on them shortly before the "optional insurance" runs out. DSL service down for 2 days? Bitch loud and long at the representative and eventually get the whole month credited. Hair in your soup? Worst you can hope for is 1 year free meals, best a few million $ settlement. I'm exagerating with the lasst one :)

This is great for the customer but not "normal" and only afforable in a very large economy like the USA with its mega coorporations/chains. Not quite do-able for small businesses in developing economies, just think of the "customer-abuse" factor if you could easily exchange items in the DR.

PS: I'm not trying to justify the state of things, just giving my explanation.
 

PlantaFULL

New member
Oct 21, 2004
280
0
0
To add an actual DR example to my rant: Had a small problem with the cable service a while back. Technician came, no fix found the first day, came back second day no luck either... 3rd day he fixed it and called the office to have them activate a higher connection speed, one step above the package I'm paying.
 

Lambada

Gold
Mar 4, 2004
9,478
376
0
77
www.ginniebedggood.com
The delicatessen counter at Silverio Messon's, Puerto Plata

Normally you go to the counter, take a number, wait your turn and get served. Last few times I was there, the lad spotted me in the deli area but getting my veggies. By the time I got to the deli my cheese and ham was already sliced and wrapped, didn't even have to ask for it...........fortunately, I DID want the same as I had wanted the week before..........;) Same in the breadshop, same in lots of shops I go to regularly. Took a friend to breadshop once; next day she went in on her own.........got served with MY usual order.......lol Woe betide if she wanted to place her OWN order..........but it helped her because she didn't speak Spanish.
It's all about making relationships. If you're known, chat about the other person's family etc etc, you will get super customer service, much better than UK (although no one knows me in UK any more.........)
 
Sep 20, 2003
1,217
44
0
I was in Sto Domingo and took a taxi from the bus station to my friends house.
It was at least a 20 minute ride. Well, turns out I left my baseball cap in the taxi. To my amazement he came back the following day and returned my cap.

Also, we, a friend and I, were on a guagua (bus) to get ready to head out to Haiti and I had bought some apples for the trip. Got on the bus and eating away waiting for the bus to get going and the vender steps away from his busy booth and hands me my change that I forgot.

Just damn well love it there.
My experiences in the DR are similar to jrf's.

I would buy fruit every morning at a stand across the street from the house I was renting in Gazcue. The vender was always extremely kind and always threw extra bananas or another piece of fruit into my bag whenever I made a purchase. The women I rented from asked me how much the fruit vendor usually charged me and she commented that she felt the price was more than fair.

I used to take taxis to get around town. Once, I took a cab and the driver got lost. He was stopping and asking directions from pedestrians and even other motorists in traffic. The cab fare had been agreed upon before we left. The cab ride took about 30 minutes longer than it should of. When we arrived I gave the driver double the fair, simply because I knew how expensive petrol was in the DR. The driver refused payment and gave me back the extra money. As I got out of the cab I handed it back to him. The guy had gotten lost , but he hadn't done it to rip me off or anything. And I did arrive safely. I didn't mind paying for the extra petrol. I insisted that he accept the money.

When I was trying to track down a copy of a limited edition Dominican history book, the women in the store told me that she would look for it and asked us to come back the next day. When I returned, she had managed to find(by digging through books in the backroom) what might have been the last unsold copy of that book in the Dominican Republic. She didn't charge me extra.

I was looking for a bookstore that sold copies of Rene Fortunado's DVD's on Balaguer and Trujillo(actually I had the Trujillo series, I was looking for the Balaguer centered documentaries). One of my Dominican friends telephoned the offices of Palau Films. Rene Fortunado was in the office and spoke with her personally. When she told him about my interest in the Era of Trujillo, he invited me to come and see him in person. The next evening I went with my friend and had drinks with him. Rene Fortunado was extremely nice and answered every single one of my questions. He also told me some great places to buy old Trujillo books. I brought a copy of one of the Balaguer DVD's with me and he even autographed it for me(One of the Balaguer DVD's has a cardboard case, the rest are plastic).

I had a Dominican housekeeper who washed my clothes, and would leave them either hung up on hangers or neatly folded in my bedroom. My flat was cleaned everyday while I was out. I would return home around noon for a well cooked lunch. I never had any difficulties with my housekeeper. I gave her double what I agreed to pay her for salary as a gift and thanks for her hard work.

I had many experiences like that when I was in the Dominican Republic. As far as I know, I was never cheated by a street vendor or shopkeeper. I was always treated politely and kindly by everyone. Granted, I don't live in the Dominican Republic year round, but for the time I spent there early this year, I really don't have any complaints.
 
Last edited:

jackquontee

New member
May 20, 2005
453
2
0
57
An interesting and great thread

I was in the DR in early July. I had been interested in getting high speed internet at my house so that I could maintain contact with my office back in the states, and to use the Vonage system while there in the DR. Because I had so often heard horror stories about service there, I was reluctant to even go to Verizon to start haggling over my need for service, and continued with the service held by the previous owner of the house (no working internet).

I was escorted to Verizon by Joanne from Sam's, and negotiated a whole new service plan to accommodate my needs. I bought a new cell phone which was tied into my plan (my home and cell phone service now seems to have a better connection rate than before), given a modem for high speed internet, and was told that the internet service would be activated in 2 days. Yeah, right, I thought. I was leaving the DR 2 days later, so I didn't have the opportunity to know if the service was actually going to be working.

Upon my return in August I had to download some software that I had brought with me for my printer and figured I'd give it a try, but assumed I'd have to go back to the Verizon office to complain that my internet service wasn't working. I almost fell out of my chair when I turned the computer on, and the internet was working. This was just one of the highlights of my trip.

I'd been reluctant to hire someone to clean my house as I had tried someone before, and she simply didn't clean to standards that I considered acceptable. However, I was getting a bit tired of the constant stares from my neighbors, and comments from workers who came into the house to provide services (as well as simply being tired of spending so much time during my trips doing these things myself), as I went about cleaning my house and doing my laundry. Someone who I had met on a previous trip in November was recommended to me, and I figured I'd give her a try. She came in and not only cleaned my house thoroughly, but took it upon herslef to organize things in a way where I could still find them, without having to go searching for them. I've also been able to leave her in the house working as I go about my daily business. Needless to say, she will be a constant presence around the house.

Like so many people there in the DR, I have been frustrated by so many things. But, it seems that the more time I spend there, things have begun to fall into place, and each trip gets easier and easier.
 
Last edited:

Rocky

Honorificabilitudinitatibus
Apr 4, 2002
13,998
184
0
108
www.rockysbar.com
Clinica De Frenos Puerto Plata

Not only do they do a more comprehensive job when doing your brakes, like washing everything with gas and lubing the bearings, they charge you half what you would pay in North America, get the job done just as fast, offer a selection of 3 or 4 different brake qualities which they almost always have right there in stock, but the owner himself, Rene, tests every vehicle before handing it over and billing the customer.
They still have my files going back to 1992, with every detail.
All the employees are polite and efficient.
They might not appear as friendly & fancy as the Starbuck story, but they really are, in a genuine way.
They want you to leave happy and come back, unlike most businesses that just want the money they can get today and couldn't care less about tomorrow.
 

canadian bob

Bronze
Jan 16, 2002
641
0
0
87
We have an older Dominican who regularly walks by our house with a huge plastic bin filled with hot succulent buns & bread. We have always liked this service, & I usually gave him something extra for his good work. One day when he came by, it was very hot, so my wife gave him a nice cold glass of water which he gulped down. After my wife paid him for the bread, he hesitated, then said, "I'm really hungry!" She said "why don't you eat a couple of buns from the box on your shoulder?" "Oh no!" he said, "I have to sell the bread to make a living." Feeling sorry for him, she went inside & returned with a big serving of lasagna. He took a forkful, then said "it tastes good, but you know it would be so much better if it was really hot!" She took it back & "nuked" it in the microwave. His eyes gleamed, then, "you know what would be really good? If I could wash it down with a refreco"..... By this time my wife was starting to laugh, & brought him a glass of Coke. He still regularly brings us bread, & we enjoy remembering this little diversion! Canadian Bob.
 

abe

New member
Jan 2, 2002
523
34
0
concern and care

several years ago I was in Las Terrenas for the first time. I had walked through the beach part of town and started to experience a bizarre rapid heartbeat. I had to sit down and was unable to get it back under control. I finally decided to find a cab and go back to the small hotel on the other side of town.

I did not see any taxis, so I waved at a motoconcho-explained in minimal Spanish that I had something going on with my heart. He zoomed off, brought back a taxi and refused any tip.

Likewise the taxi driver refused the extra I tried to give him at the hotel.

The next day I flew to Santo Domingo and checked into a hotel. I had to go the hospital and the taxi driver insisted on walking me into the Emergency Room and making sure I was taken care of before he left me.

(I take a simple medication now and the heart problem is no big thing.)

Dominicans are, by and large, caring, sweet people. Yes, there are tigres and ladrones. And, had I died on the street, my pockets may well have been picked before I was cold. But percentage wise--the DR is a pretty good place.
 

Fiesta Mama

Bronze
Jan 28, 2004
772
58
0
My experience is similar to Pacheco...

Althogh I do not live there permanently, when I did live there for an extended period a while back (5 months) and every time since... my "customer service" experiences have been many. I have highlighted some of the best...


#1

I rented an apartment in Sosua (bachelor) from a wonderful Dominican family... 24 hour power, 24 hour water, fully furnished, clean sheets provided, pots, pans, utensils, glasses...full bathroom with shower, kitchen with fridge and gas included....4000 pesos per month and a few blocks from Playa Sosua (El Batey). I also had a beautiful terrance and a clothes line to hang my clothes. It was my little piece of heaven for an incredible price. My fridge broke once (was not keeping things cold) and my landlord had a repairman there that same day. No charge to me and after the repairman was finished, my landlord sent up her daughter to mop and clean my apartment for free because of the inconvenience. I was very lucky to have them as I trusted their advice about many things 100 % and still go back to say hi when I am in POP for vacation.

.......

#2

My husband and I played pool regularly at the Sosua Car Wash and most of the barmaids/barmen knew us. As soon as we finished our game, our server was right there and we never had to set our table up and were never half finished a bottle of beer before our next one arrived. What was expected in return... nothing! We always poured a glass of beer for our server as a courtesy but this certainly wasn't expected and a fun time was had by all.

.......

#3

I have a colmado I go to regularly when in Montellano. One night on my last vacation the power went out and I desperately needed candles as we were at a friend's house without power... I ran across the street and they were sold out. They told me not to worry and to go relax on our porch for a few minutes and they would be back. The owners sent one of their sons on his pasola to get a ton of candles from their relatives in Cangrejo and he was back within 20 minutes. Not only did I get my candles with no premium for the express run, but the son also brought me back a jug of Jugo de Chinola (passion fruit juice) from his aunt because they know it is my favourite - no charge for the juice might I add!
 

A.Hidalgo

Silver
Apr 28, 2006
3,268
96
0
several years ago I was in Las Terrenas for the first time. I had walked through the beach part of town and started to experience a bizarre rapid heartbeat. I had to sit down and was unable to get it back under control. I finally decided to find a cab and go back to the small hotel on the other side of town.

I did not see any taxis, so I waved at a motoconcho-explained in minimal Spanish that I had something going on with my heart. He zoomed off, brought back a taxi and refused any tip.

Likewise the taxi driver refused the extra I tried to give him at the hotel.

The next day I flew to Santo Domingo and checked into a hotel. I had to go the hospital and the taxi driver insisted on walking me into the Emergency Room and making sure I was taken care of before he left me.

(I take a simple medication now and the heart problem is no big thing.)

Dominicans are, by and large, caring, sweet people. Yes, there are tigres and ladrones. And, had I died on the street, my pockets may well have been picked before I was cold. But percentage wise--the DR is a pretty good place.
Abe i'm glad you are well and what an uplifting story.

My story not as dramatic but an example of good service when we can get cynical about these things.

My mom's fridge had stopped working. We called a few places with no luck. Finally a neighbor gave my mom a number of a appliance repair shop. A young fellow comes over. He checks it out does and assesment and tells us the problem. The tube going from the freezer to the compressor was rotten, and the gas was escaping. Gives us a reasonable price. Takes about 45 minutes and my moms freezer is working like new. The kid was very courteous and professional.

As he left I asked him if he wanted a cold one. He told me he wanted a small bottle of milk. I got him a larger container of Listamilk. He was surprised and left with a big smile. My mom and I had one too.
 

DominicanScotty

On Vacation!
Jun 12, 2004
1,300
2
0
61
As good as it gets

Some time ago, before I bought my first jeepeta I used to rent jeepetas. One day I broke down and called the rental agency. The agency told me to take a taxi and come back for a new rental. Not expecting much and knowing not to expect much in the DR I hired a taxi and went back. They gave me 2 days credit which was the price for the taxi. The next time I returned they gave me a free upgrade.
 

gringosabroso

New member
Oct 16, 2004
494
8
0
68
"Consumer Reports"? Golden Opportunity in the DR ? ?

There is an American non-profit organization named "Consumers' Union", located, I believe, in the Hudson Valley area of New York. www.ConsumerReports.org. It publishes a monthly magazine with no advertising named "Consumer Reports"; it costs @ US $20 - 25 year; I was a subscriber for decades; basicly it tests & rates 1,000s of consumer producrs from automobiles to toothpaste. I don't subssribe in the DR; I don't buy enough stuff.

* 3 - 4 years ago it began 2 new monthly publications: "CR MoneyAdvisor" & "CR OnHealth"; essentially, totally objective advice @ 100s of money & health issues, including specific by proper name, positive &/or negative reccomendations of scores of providers of services. Again, no advertising of any type is permitted. I subscribe to both, each with a seperate subscription - $49. / each for 2 years. In my opinion, 2 bargains!

* [Will he ever get to the point?] Wouldn't a "Consumers Union" clone in the DR be wonderful? Close to miraculous? Where primarily foreigners would advise their fellow expatriates where they were treated fairly? & by whom? & where they were taken advantage of.

* A wonderful opportunity for DR1? How many DR1 users would pay for this service? Put down me as 1 'yes'! We are all so vulnerable! There are so many unscrupoulos! How much would you pay to find an honest, comptetent lawyer in your city? Need I say more?

* If DR1 is unwilling or unable, another web site or commercial on-line organization? Suggestions? Expressions of interest? How much better would we be treated if the average MD, dentist,atty., or car dealer knew his services would later be rated to the entire DR foreign community?

* There is a crying need. Food for thought! Dr1? Your turn. Thank you.
 

Tarheel

Well-known member
Dec 19, 2005
462
50
48
Nice People

While in Cabarete earlier this year I took the publico taxi service a couple of times just for the experience. The guy that takes the fares moved several Dominicans around to give me a more comfortable place to sit. Nobody complained, they just moved to accomodate me.

Same situation in the States on public transportation and a Mexican gets on. Would we be as kind? I don't think so.