On Thursday, Rocky Bru picked up on a blog post by Singaporean journalist Reme Ahmad about the latter's unpleasant experience while waiting for a flight home on Malaysia Airlines from New Delhi to Kuala Lumpur. Apparently, the New Delhi airport was covered in thick fog at the time of departure and this caused many flights to be cancelled. Reme's dissatisfaction with MAS stemmed from the airline's miserable handling of the situation especially with regards to the passengers' welfare. To further highlight the poor service, the blogger wrote on how SIA's ground staff efficiently took care of their own customers.
You can read about it at Rocky's post that links Reme's original story -> Apalah Mas?
I am not writing this post to complain about my own experiences while flying with MAS. In truth, I don't recall any bad experience while travelling on our national carrier. I am fairly satisfied with the service but I must admit that MAS need to be modernising their fleet to keep up with their competitors.
This post is actually on the subject of complaining itself. All of us have faced bad service in one way or another. Lousy service at restaurants, slow response at government departments, terrible waiting at bank counters, long queues at supermarket checkouts, unscrupulous taxi drivers, etc. etc. etc. But what do we actually do about it?
If our expectation level is not high, then we would most probably dismiss it as a normal thing. More often than not, we grumble about it... we tell our family and friends. Some of us write letters to the editor of newspapers. Some people make a scene on the spot. Nowadays, if we have a blog, we can even blog about it! And if our post is picked up by another prominent blogger like Rocky, then our complaint gets a good chance to be read by the intended party. In Reme's case, MAS Head of Media Relations acknowledged the issue by leaving a response in the blogger's comment box.
I have made complaints about poor service before, or to put it a nicer way, given some customer feedback. The intention is always to help improve things. Having been on the receiving end of complaints as well, I know it is not a very nice feeling. That is why, when I make a complaint, I try do it in a proper manner. The approach is as important as the substance.
In these days of IT awareness, many companies have websites that include a customer feedback section. Feedback can be relayed in various ways... normally in the form of a feedback questionnaire or an email address. I have made use of such method because it is quick, convenient and goes directly to the party responsible. So far, the response has been quite prompt. I will write of one example.
There was this one time my family and I stopped by a Pizza Hut restaurant at Tebrau City Mall in Johor Bahru. It was a weekend and as expected, the outlet was crowded but we managed to get a table. After placing our order, we settled down for the wait. The soups and drinks arrived first. After waiting for half an hour, the pizza had not arrrived, so I asked one of the waiters to check. He replied that the kitchen is still processing our order. I waited for another fifteen minutes and still nothing... no update and no apology.
I went up to the cashier's counter and spoke to a young woman who I assumed was the supervisor (she wears a different uniform when compared to the waiters). I asked her about my order and was surprised to hear an indifferent reply.
`Nanti dulu encik. Orang lain pun belum dapat.'
Whoa... wrong answer, young lady! I almost blew my top. I immediately asked for the bill but they had trouble how to charge for the soups and drinks because they were part of a whole meal package. Once they finally worked out how much to bill me, I paid and we left the place to eat somewhere else.
Once I got home, I went online to the Pizza Hut website and fired off an email complaint. The very next day, I received a phone call on my mobile from a lady identifying herself as the Area Manager of a few Pizza Hut restaurants within JB area. She politely asked me for details and then profusely apologised for the incident.
Whether my complaint brought any improvement or not, is another matter, but I'll give credit to Pizza Hut for responding in double quick time. At least now, I have the number of the Area Manager stored in my phonebook. The next time any of her restaurants fall below the mark, I'll call her direct.
For readers who have something to gripe about, do try to check for a website with a customer feedback section and make use of it to send in your complaint. I am sure the responsible party would appreciate your feedback and respond accordingly.