Thursday, April 24, 2008

How fast is fast?

Speed, speed, speed.

Speed contributes to better service and can give customers a pleasant surprise. I myself was surprised at how fast a car workshop took to repair my damaged car. It required a new rear bumper and some repair work on a big dent in the rear. In noting that this would require some workmanship skills as well as painting, I estimated it would take the workshop 3 to 4 days to get it done.

Surprise! CK Chan of Kim Foom Motor in Segambut told me if I sent the car in today, I could pick it up the next evening. Now I'm sure you have sent your car in for repairs before and next day collection for bodywork is practically unheard of. Naturally I was pleasantly surprised at the speed promised and proceeded to drop the car off in the afternoon about 12.30 p.m.

The next day I received a call from CK telling me that my car was ready to be collected. And that was 11 a.m! Another surprise! He exceeded my expectations! And he even offered to have someone send the car to my office or home!

Great service is ALIVE! Great work CK and great job done on the car too.

You see, exceeding customers' expectations is POSSIBLE. And when customers get great service like this, they will usually tell at least 5 other people about their experience. So here it is. Now you heard.

Surprise your customers. Exceed expecations.

The term exceed expectations has been bandied around for some time now by service proponents and gurus. As we face and deal with more and more sophisticated and discerning customers, just meeting their expectations is already a difficult enough task, let alone to exceed!

But if you really want your customers to have a really good service experience, then you have no choice but to strive to give them pleasant surprises that exceed expectations. Most companies are so busy with their own internal administrative and management demands that they forget or neglect this important aspect of ensuring great customer service experiences.

Too many companies focus too much on internal policies in pursuing their corporate goal (for you and me, that's making money) that they totally sideline customers' interests. The key is to implement a "paradigm shift" by not internalising policies but to "CUSTOMERISE" policies. Which is to say, to put customers FIRST.

When a company puts its customers' interests first, it lays the foundation for satisfying customer needs and serves as a platform for the company to chart and design ways to meet and exceed expectations. When you have a culture like that, staff will gradually be more motivated to serve better! You see the pattern now?

The golden key: CUSTOMERISE, then exceed expectations!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

RHB Bank does it again.....

Well, here's another run in with RHB Bank and the incomprehensible service provided. In early April I logged on to my internet banking account and discovered that while my current account details were there, my credit card details mysteriously vanished. Naturally I decided to call up the helpline. A lady answered my call and promised to look into it and also inform their IT department about the problem I faced. The next day she called me to check if I could see my credit card details to which I replied taht I could not. Days passed and before I knew it, it was almost two weeks since I first called up. The said staff had been good enough to call me up several times to inquire if I had my problem solved.

However, the problem had not been solved yet and nobody could tell me when I could access my card details. Finally, I decided to call up and speak to someone more senior and that was when I gave him a piece of my mind. I requested to speak to someone even more senior if he could not resolve the problem and finally I got a call from the Department Head who told me that they had finally rectified the problem and I could access my accounts as normal.Posted by Picasa
One must remember that the longer it takes to find a solution to a customer's problem the more likely you are to agitate the customer. Almost 2 weeks is certainly a long, long time to correct a minor IT related issue. There must be more connectivity between front line service staff and related internal departments in the bank. So there you have it, RHB does it again. Poor execution in resolving a simple issue.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Why we get less than satisfactory service most of the time.

If you sit down and think of possible reasons why we get service that is not up to the mark most of the time, you probably would draw several conclusions.

Research has shown that most companies hire the wrong people for the all important task of dealing and communicating with customers. And most of them are lowly paid and undergo little or poor training programmes.

To add to the bad news, staff do not get recognised for their good work and often incentives for them are non existent.

As a result of these, we the customers get the short end of the stick. Most of the time.

We become miserable because of poor service standards being provided time and time again.

Remember, customers will give up on a company and their products once they have had enough. And they won't tell you first because they think they will be wasting their time.

An Air Asia Experience

Here's a recent experience that my brother-in-law encountered.

He had booked a return flight to Langkawi at least a week before the flight date. He was to fly on the morning of 12th April and return on the afternoon flight. All fully paid. Flight guaranteed. Or so it seemed.

Two days before the the 12th, he received an SMS from the carrier informing him that the morning flight to Langkawi was no longer on and offered him an afternoon flight instead. This was however not practical for him as he had to return to KL in the afternoon. Therefore he decided to cancel his flight bookings and requested for a refund. The refund was turned down. Apparently a customer needs to cancel the booking 1 week before the flight date to be refunded.

Now that sounds ridiculous as he was only informed of the flight time change 2 days before the flight date. And it wasn't even his fault that the morning flight got cancelled by the airline. If it had been on, he would have been on that flight.

Now a customer gets a rescheduled flight shoved upon him and if he doesn't take it, he cannot have a refund. This is totally cattle manure.

Can someone explain this? Certainly no bouquet for this airline.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Poor service staff training.

I recently attended a dinner that was held in a small ballroom. There were abot 150 to 200 guests all seated at tables of ten. This was in Damansara.

While speed of serving food was not good, it was still somewhat tolerable. Finally we came to the dessert. The waiter brought a large bowl that contained a white watery dessert. One of the guests at my table asked the waiter what it was. To my surprise and utter shock, the waiter answered curtly "I don't know" and continued to serve the dessert into separate smaller bowls. And he only answered after he was asked a second time.

What was appalling was the fact that he had a rather "Don't know don't care attitude" as he didn't even offer to find out what the dessert was. He just left it at that which prompted me to ask sarcastically, "Is that edible or not?" to which he pretended not to hear. By the way he is a foreign worker from Myanmar.

Having to employ foreign workers is not an issue with me but the attitude and rudeness was totally unacceptable. It obviously shows that this restaurant employed its staff in an apathetic manner without proper screening and worse still offered little or no training to them!

Can't companies understand that without proper training and education they will never have good customer service skills for their frontline staff?

When customers come across such appalling service, it reflects not just on the waiter but the whole establishment. And it puts off customers!