and sleek look alone won't do
Acting Prime Minister of Malaysia, Abdulla Ahmad Badawi
was recently reported to have said, "The new, first world thinking
and work culture must be instilled in the public service so that
their services could be efficient, effective and responsive with
emphasis on less bureaucratic, customer-friendly service".
We could certainly
echo his sentiments.
a few state-owned organizations have just begun to act like the
private sector and the first visible changes are in their imposing
buildings. We see state-of-the-art interiors with icy-cold temperatures,
hi-tech sound systems and a row of elevated sleek flat screens blaring
out news, views and action movies. But what of the service meted
out by behind- the counter personnel, supervisors and managers?
Is it upto standard? It will take some time before we see a complete
Most of the
big organizations hire management gurus to train their staff in
customer-relations and courteous service etc. They are relentlessly
reminded about the importance of "delighting customers",
told how to "wow the customers" and grilled in "excellence
in service to customers". But how many telephone operators,
for instance, care to announce the name of the organization on the
first ring? When you want to be connected to another extension they
just put you on hold with no mention of please, sorry, may I and
the usual telephone jargon.
is the automated telephone voice and the option game (press one
for this and two for that). The rigmarole goes on till you press
zero for the operator for some connection and information. The phone
queue system is a waste of time as it may seem like you are holding
on forever with the occasional voice coming back in between musical
interludes to assure you that someone will be with you in a minute.
If it is an urgent matter you are better off dropping by, especially
if the location is close to where you live or work.
For any kind
of business to survive you've got to have customers. Who is the
customer? The customer is anyone who demands and pays for a product
or service. The customer has choices and the decision to buy your
product depends on how you handle your customer. Sadly, the services
some private organisations provide are far from satisfactory.
If you walk
into a shop you sometimes have to ask for help to find what you
want. Then, even some of the young mini-skirted bankers in high-tech
banks are far from friendly. Sometimes they forget to look you in
the eye when they give you the crisp bundles of currency.
It is vital
to keep in mind always that serving the customer is a relationship
process. There must be mutual respect and trust. Your attitude must
be that which puts service first.
for good service:
Speak to people: there is nothing as nice as a cheerful word of
Smile at people
Call people by name - they love to hear the sound of their names
Be friendly and helpful
Be genuinely interested in people
Be generous with praise
Be considerate of the feelings of others - it will be appreciated
Be thoughtful of the opinion of others
Be alert to give service - what counts most in life is what we do
Lavinia from the land of tulips
Almost ten years
ago, a Dutch couple chose to take their wedding vows in a very special
location, far away from their land of windmills and tulips.
all the way to Sri Lanka, to celebrate their union in the old world
charm of the Mount Lavinia Hotel on May 28, 1993.
a beautiful day and we still think back with great respect and nice
a very nice time in your hotel in what we think is one of the most
beautiful countries we have visited," they wrote to the management
of the Mount Lavinia Hotel.
this year, the couple, Louis and Marie-Louise Ebbeling were blessed
with a baby girl and perhaps with their wonderful memories in mind,
they have named her Nathalie Lavinia.
Staff at the
hotel meanwhile, are delighted and as proud of this new Lavinia
as they are of the grand old lady.