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Personalised service and real live chats: Audio retailer strikes a chord with its human touch

Imagine shopping online and needing advice – the last thing you want is to deal with a chatbot that doesn’t understand you. Fortunately for TC Acoustic’s customers, the audio distributor’s live chat is manned by caring staff.

Chief executive officer Christian Honegger recounts an incident where one of their customer service agents stayed on Live Chat till late to assist a customer. “That’s just how available and hardworking our staff are – all on their own initiative,” he explains.

A homegrown brand, TC Acoustic retails audio equipment, with big names like Sonos, Bowers & Wilkins, Marshall and Klipsch among the brands it distributes in South-east Asia as well as Hong Kong. 

For the second year running, TC Acoustic has been recognised in the Singapore’s Best Customer Service survey 2023/24 by The Straits Times and research firm Statista, in the sub-category of consumer electronics under Home Goods.

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The reason behind this commitment to serving customers well is the company’s philosophy on caring for its staff. “While we aim to be everyone’s favourite company, it’s more important that we are our team’s favourite company,” Mr Honegger says. He reveals that the staff went through difficult times together during the pandemic but the company’s first response was to launch an initiative, #TCcares, which saw a fund set up for affected freelance retail workers while the company continued to pay their salaries. 

While it takes care of its staff, TC Acoustic also empowers them to make decisions and override the company’s fine print to deliver the best service possible. “The customer service team has a budget set aside just to serve happiness,” Mr Honegger says. “For example, when a customer’s product warranty period is over, the team can be creative to find other solutions instead of just turning them away,” he adds.

This “happiness budget” is also used in the little things. Recently, a customer approached the Live Chat team for help setting up a Sonos product. During the conversation, the customer mentioned he was working late. Hearing this, the Live Chat team member sent him a coffee voucher to help him get through the night.

Whether online or at their brick-and-mortar stores, the company’s trademark warmth comes through. Among the customer-first initiatives that the team put in place is a practice requiring all staff, regardless of job role, to make serving customers their top priority at the flagship store at The Adelphi, as well as the TC Experience Centre in Paya Lebar.

One customer was so impressed with the service she delivered drinks to the team. “The customer shared that she initially had doubts we could see through her request as it was tedious and the business would earn less,” Mr Honegger recalls. “But to her surprise, our team made it happen.”

These are among the more than 3,500 customers who have given TC Acoustic a five-star rating on Google Reviews, an indication that the retailer is much beloved by Singapore’s audiophile community and beyond, something Mr Honegger recognises and wants to continue to build on. After all, he says, “We don’t just sell products, we serve happiness.”

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