Piotr Jakubowski – Mind over Marketing

Services: Some Experiences
January 7, 2008, 8:58 am
Filed under: experiences, services

I would like to highlight two experiences in the last week that have helped me understand the sheer importance of service.

1. Kereta Api Indonesia

I had the pleasure to ride the train on a 7-hour trip from Bandung to Yogyakarta this past weekend. Honestly, I did not put much faith into the Indonesian public transport system, but I thought – why not? It couldn’t have been better. The design of the train allowed more space than usual, but what set the experience apart was a young gentleman who was serving passengers on the train.

His presence and warmth was projected by his constant smile, and even one of the people I was traveling with said it was probably stamped on his face at birth. Regardless, his service, and the dedication he was doing his job with made the trip that much better. Drew has already said that it is truly your employees that make your company.

2. Singapore Airlines

I really used to think that Singapore Airlines was the Crème de la Crème of the sky. I even participated in a presentation cooing about the fact that Singapore Airlines was the best thing since sliced bread. And my experiences were very good in the past.

Last week I was flying in to Singapore having already been delayed with an overnight layover in Tokyo. We had 45 minutes to board our plane, and made it in time to check in and get our boarding passes. The lady checking us in alerted us that our baggage would be on the next flight 3 hours later (it happens). She then said that we were liable to pick up the luggage from the airport. I disagreed with her, but she rudely interrupted and told me I had to drive to the airport and pick it up.

I told her to put me on the flight with my luggage, but to hold on a minute while I made a phone call. I found out that I was right and that SQ was liable for my luggage. After she had handed the boarding card to another person in our group on that flight, I told her that I would like to be on the earlier flight. With 40 minutes until boarding (check-in closes at 30), she said that she closed the flight already. I asked her to just wrap up the paperwork on the later flight, and that I would be fine with it. Once again, she rudely told me to go back in line and wait.

There was not an ounce of sympathy in her demeanor in the fact that at that point I had already been traveling almost 45 hours and that she had just delayed me another four. This truly did not reflect on Singapore Airlines’ mission statement, and they will be hearing from me shortly.


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