Monday, March 3, 2008

Service Quality

I know. I know. I know.
I am not going to teach, but share with you my experience.
Went to KFC coz my wife wanted Colonel Burger. Took my son along. Wow! Was the place packed. Guess I should have known, first Sunday after pay day, of course the place would be packed. Waited and waited. Then a KFC staff comes up to me with an order slip, and I ordered and he shouted the order in, which was duly acknowledged by someone else in the KFC kitchen. So my expectations rose that my order would be filled when I reached the counter. When I arrived to make my order, few minutes later, the blinking burgers were not yet ready. They were not even made. Told the girl off, then felt bad for her, coz it was not her fault but the system that they had did not function properly.
That incident reminded me of an experience in Kuala Lumpur some time ago. We had a dinner in a Chinese seafood restaurant, that got everything wrong. We waited and waited. Things we didnt order turned up and things we ordered did not. At the end the bill was astronomical and wrong. And when I complained to the Chinese 'towkay neo" she said, "Lu tak suka lu pegi, selibu olang lagi latang," (If you dont like, you leave, a thousand others will come).
I wrote a paper published in the Sarawak Development Journal (Vol 5 No 2 December 2002, pg 45 - 60) on customer service in Sarawak and why I thought it was so bad. These included political and economic patronage, economic indicators, population indicators, minimal service competition, lack of influence by local government, organizations own management structure (family or small business), constant new hires, lack of training, issues of reward, and lack of empowerment.
Why must we the consumer suffer at the mercy of companies that dont offer what we want? Yet over and over again, I see the effects of culture on the behavior of consumers. If my food order comes late or wrong, I most probably would tell off the person, yet now with my wife or certain friends I learnt that I must keep quiet. The mentality is "Never mind, just eat. Dont make trouble. No need come here again." This just makes the word of the Chinese 'towkay neo' so true... lu pegi, selibu datang.

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