Customer care in Indonesia

Hello everyone,

The way customer services are handled can greatly affect your views on certain brands, products, companies or stores. As a consumer, it is important to get familiar with local practices regarding client assistance in Indonesia and try to understand how things work in the country.

How would you describe your customer service experiences in Indonesia?

Do you feel welcome when you enter a store? Do you get useful tips and advice?

Are after-sales services available in Indonesia?

Thanks for sharing your experience,


I remember a time when I was given really good customer service. It's something that I have mentioned previously in one of my threads.

I began buying Canon lenses and photographic accessories in Jakarta in 2009, mostly from the stores JPCKemang and Focus Nusantara. At that particular time I was at Taman Anggrek Mall and interested to buy a Canon EF 100 - 400mm f4.5-5.6L IS lens for taking wildlife and birding photographs.

However, with the typical Jakarta traffic jams I was reluctant to take a cab to the store, so I called them up and explained what I was after. Previously the only thing I had bought from them was a Lee Filter System and a Circular Polarizing Filter.

Surprisingly they offered to send one of their staff out to Taman Anggrek Mall on a motorbike and they brought that lens and several others that I was also contemplating on buying. I was sitting at Starbucks with my wife, and along came this guy with a bag full of lenses. So, I tried out this lens which is a beautiful lens and which weighs about 1.5 kgs and noticed that when held up to the light a tiny speck of dust was present on the inside of the front lens. I confirmed that I was definitely interested in buying this model but not with the tiny speck of dust in it. So the guy went back to the store on his motorbike and came back some time later with another brand new boxed 100 - 400mm lens. I tested out the lens, checked it over it to make sure there weren't any problems and when I was satisfied I paid him in cash, got the new boxed lens with the receipt and warranty, all completed in a Starbucks in a shopping mall in Jakarta.

Now that's what I call good customer service.

I agree that is very good service.  I've gotten some pretty good service  from the many places I've visited in Indonesia.  I always give a good tip if I get excellent service.  I will never tip if I receive lousy service, which I have in a few places.  Some try to cheat foreigners but I don't go for that at all hahaha.

I can't really agree about good customer service in indonesia. Indonesia has a lot of very nice things to offer, but customer service is for sure not one of them. Yes I agree as long as business owners have in front of them a potential customer they nearly do everything that this person is surely buying, but in case something goes wrong, and in such cases a real good customer service is starting, selling is not service, selling is actually the first moment a customer is willing to open a relation to a seller, but after the selling-buying is done, from the side of Indonesian sellers the relation is over. In case of things are broken after a short time, or what ever can go wrong after buying something, nearly no Indonesian seller is welcoming to present a good customer service care.

One case example: I flew with ***** couple times and this company was totally destroying on three different flights shortly after another my luggages. I directly complained and handed over the broken luggage and from that time on I had to contact the customer service every single week for exact one year until finally after one year going to the main office in Jakarta and not leaving there until for my three broken luggages was finally a solution agreed about. I still had to wait for another three weeks till the last luggage case was finally solved. Thats what i call very bad customer service.

And if you buy things in smaller shops and you expect that they will take any responsibility towards customer complains, than better you forget that directly.

I have another example also for a bigger company: I hired once a transport company to transport my household stuff, because I moved from one place to another. I had a contract with clear agreement about a door to door service including loading and reloading. This company was just acting professional till we payed the downpayment for the moving, after that an odyssey started. Nothing was prepared for the moving, we had to monitor everything by ourselves no transportation schedule was given, no communication from that company at all, no correct answers at our questions sometimes not even an answer at all and even worse they open the sealed containers and moved our stuff without our knowledge and agreement out and divided it in other containers we had no knowledge about. suddenly we got the information that they don't want to deliver the containers to the final destination, instead they want to reload everything in Jakarta, but I needed my stuff in Bali, so we needed to go to Jakarta to monitor the reloading, they seriously loaded all the stuff in trucks and they didn't provide the correct trucks and not on time and and and, so my stuff was also reloaded from one truck in another and again to a third one, because they couldn't find the right trucks, this was an absolut chaos, to describe all what happen there would overload that platform here, but just to show the result of all that: at my new place in the final destination they didn't provide reloading workers, so that I had to find people from the village by myself and when we opened the trucks and saw the full result of that moving, I have to say better I just let the stuff there and buy new stuff here, 80% was broken or seriously damaged. And of course they don't want to take any responsibility again.

But ya customer service is not the main important thing in my life, I am very happy here and I love the village I am living in and the people there, I love the food, the family connections, the culture and the tradition, the only thing: I like to stay away from shopping, except daily needs and thats a different topic, to build up connections thats actually the right thing to do here, when you have connections everything is possible. And daily things you buy in the traditional markets always in a very private connective situation. Thats working brilliantly.

Moderated by Priscilla last month
Reason : Removal of the name of the company - can lead to defamation

That's bad luck and bad service with the removal company. I hope they were not an expensive company. What was their name?

Their name was *****. Its not just bad luck, its habit, but as I said customer service is not something I appreciate in Indonesia, there are so many other things which makes it worth to stay here.

Moderated by Priscilla last month
Reason : Removal of the name of the company - can lead to defamation

I bought a Spin bike at ********, it took them 3 months to get it in, one problem long Bali time.

After 8 weeks the seat has broken looking at the break in the metal , just snapped in two.

According to *******  there is no warrenty on the seat only the moving parts of the bike.

I tried to explain that *** should talk to the manufacture and have it replaced, god only knows how this will turn out, hope somebody important from ****** reads this

Raja Bob

Moderated by Priscilla last month
Reason : Removal of the name of the company - can lead to defamation

sorry to hear that, and ya as I said, as long as you are buying they will be nice, if you complain ... unfortunately no chance and the situation directly change to absolutely the opposite. hope u will be able to find a solution.

I think it depends where you buy stuff and which brand you choose.

Personally I think ******* are too expensive and they don't really stock quality brands. For gym equipment like spin bikes and treadmills and elliptical trainers and the like, there is commercial quality which is more expensive but tough and long lasting and then there is the equipment you buy for your home which is really for occasional use, and that is a lot cheaper and less strong.

Admittedly, it may be difficult to buy a lot of the good brands in Bali. If you can find the brand Weider then you shouldn't have any problems with it as it is a quality brand and used in many fitness centers and hotels and condominiums

Moderated by Priscilla last month
Reason : Removal of the name of the company - can lead to defamation

I have been disappointed with them several times. I try not to buy from them as their prices are a lot lot higher than normal hardware stores and the quality is not all that good.

In fact, I would recommend buying from small stores as they do not have the overheads as the big stores and their prices are nearly always much much cheaper. Not everybody is aware of that.

Priscilla :

Hello everyone,


Priscilla :

The way customer services are handled can greatly affect your views on certain brands, products, companies or stores. As a consumer, it is important to get familiar with local practices regarding client assistance in Indonesia and try to understand how things work in the country.

Unlike many western countries, Indonesian shops commonly offer a 'back to supplier' guarantee rather then the back to shop one in such as the UK.
Many products, especially low quality stuff is sold with little or no guarantee.
Supermarkets tend to have a week or two week back to shop, then back to manufacturer.

Priscilla :

How would you describe your customer service experiences in Indonesia?

Fine, once you get the hang of the guarantee system.
Major brands such as Samsung have service centres dotted around major towns, so product returns on products such as these are simple enough. Cheap end stuff should be bought assuming you're about to lose your money, then you get a nice surprise if it lasts a reasonable time.

Priscilla :

Do you feel welcome when you enter a store? Do you get useful tips and advice?

Almost always.
If you don't feel welcome, walk out.
Cash is the key. Hammering out the price is in your favour as there are lots of shops selling the same products and you have much needed cash they want in their pockets.
I wander around until I get the best price available, commonly lying to the shops about the previously offered price, then hammer them down as far as I can.
You can generally tell who will take the deal but, if they hold out, count out the cash, put it next to the item you want and ask them which they want you to walk out of the shop with.
You usually get it.
If it's a luxury item, try to buy as close to hari raya as possible as many shops really want every penny they can, so deals tend to be even better.
I just got a very sweet deal on a camera that way.

Priscilla :

Are after-sales services available in Indonesia?

Yes, but commonly from a service centre, not the shop you bought it from.
Better quality shops will offer guarantees as any western shop does.

Local shops tend to be pretty good, but they do only what they can get away with as cash isn't to be wasted.

Hi everybody,

First of all, thanks for your contribution to this thread. :)

Please note that it would be much appreciated if we can avoid giving the names of companies on the forum so as to avoid defamatory postings and avoid severe legal cases.

Thanks all,

Priscilla team

One major point.
Many shops don't price label their products.
As this forces you to ask the price, I'm guessing they're hoping you'll buy rather than get a red face when you refuse on price.

This applies in some of the big chains as well as smaller shops and takes a bit of getting used to.
The trick is to get an idea of price before you set off so you're armed with the required information. I usually ask their price and just say, 'thank you' if it's too high.
They will commonly reduce the price when the realize you've done your homework.
One strict rules - If they start with a crazy rip off price, never talk money, just walk out. Once they've proven they can't be trusted, that's the end for me.

I have had great service here and really bad, I am walking out service. I dislike certain food stores for the poor service they offer but I am biased as I spent 16 years delivering high customer service standards and I often do not see them in the larger ones here.

But overall, there are very few places who really care if you walk away as its more, up to you lah, whether you buy or not and by focusing on that view of service, then there is less concern if people don't come.  If get angry here, no one really knows how to deal with it and also being 'bule' more often or not just ignore it because I am western so that doesn't help.

I find small stores and companies more eager to help and I buy more from them than in the bigger stores, well the wife does with my money. Its not a case of service but of the extra charges that cant be explained. 

I also work in the service industry here regardless how private education is perceived, its a service provider and a lot my time is spent reviewing how to improve the way my team treats, helps and delivers the courses to the student and also to help maintain customer satisfaction from the payer as well.

Like anywhere else in the world its not the shouty complainers who demand everything when in the building you need to worry about  its the ones that just simply stop coming and through word of mouth rubbish the company and drive its fortunes down.

Service is like that : if you do not ask - you will not be told.  Stuff in some supermarkets does not know what they have and where it is . You need it - find it.  With  all  all that beauty in the mall they still can not pool out you phone number  by using address or name. If you don't remember your home number as you get to the office of Telkom better turn around and go home. Post office works until 2 PM( ridiculous). If you  get in the taxi you better know how to get to your destination because some drivers have no idea where it is and how to get there.
When you come to some hair salons and ask for high light they will do something but not what you asked for , charge yo 1 mil and will try to convince that it looks SO natural even that you did not want Natural.
If you will ask about ingredients some restaurant's waiters don't know what your meal is made off.
You will be directed 100 times to the opposite side of where you need to go. Why ? i don't know. They call it trying to be polite and helpful even when they have no idea where the place is. And they don' care if you waist 2 extra hours and curse them after that. :)
So..  Do not expect too much otherwise u will get depressed and nerves break down :).

Think about Indonesians like about kids. They know not much understand even less. Your life standards and their like + and - .
Did you watch Madagascar? Do like those penguins ;Smile and waive, smile and waive.

Depends what you call advise.

What does it mean after -sale service?

I think Lena has a point and I can certainly relate to many things she mentions. However after a while once you realise nothing changes and nothing you do will change anything things do get better and the service received become the norm and so when something actually good does happen then you feel impressed.

I'd like to compliment Dominos pizza on their customer service.

They do their best to get everything right every time but even the best make mistakes.
If they do, they apologise with a real 'sorry', and they tend to give away a voucher for a free pizza.
Even without the voucher, their 'sorry' is clearly delivered because they mean it, not because the rule book says they have to.
Their staff are very well chosen for their attitude, and their people are very well trained.

Basically, Dominos are a shining example of great customer service a good few can learn from.

Another two companies I find very good are Alfamart and indomaret.
These two groups of minimarkets tend to have very helpful staff who are willing to put themselves out to help you.
I had very little Indonesian when I first arrived here, but the Indomaret staff in wonosobo were terrific, spending time to make sure the foreigner got what he wanted.
I speak Indonesian reasonably well now so shopping is easy, but their very good customer service hasn't dropped at all, making it a pleasure to shop at their places.

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