In the service industry, the merits and drawbacks are related to the price. However, a cheap price does not mean no service at all.
Service vs Consumer
In a recent article, a Taiwanese author Huangzhen Lin wrote: “In the service sector, the main emphasis is man…. In terms of service, most parties put their focus on the enterprise since the early days. On top of that, the training and requirements became responsibilities of the service staff. In fact, there is another category of people who also plays an important role. That is, the consumers.” In view of the services sector, I quite agree with the intention and opinion of the author. The services industry is a win-win sector, both parties also regard service as a matter that springs from the heart, a sincere effort to take off.
Taiwan’s economy has transformed from a manufacturing industry to a service oriented industry, which wasn’t an easy task to achieve. This is one area where Taiwan could easily lead ahead of China by a decade. The services industry is one industry where Taiwan is an international award winner. The attitude of Taiwanese in terms of service matches with the expectations of Taiwan’s consumers. What is worth learning here is that in Taiwan, consumers treat the service personnel as buddy or partners.
Recently, I had the opportunity to participate in a Taiwanese group tour to Southern Italy. I was quite impressed with the professionalism and dedicated attitude of the tour leader. In addition, the 30-odd Taiwanese travellers in the group also displayed their sense of appreciation, that really overwhelmed me. As such, the 11-day trip was a happy experience where the tour lead shared her expertise with additional surprises but without extra fees.
The Taiwanese author Huangzhen Lin also said that “Human interaction is very much like a mirror. If you show a pleasant face, you will get a good-natured image. Providing a good service is the job of a service practitioner but he owes nobody anything. If we can give and take, it will be a vicious cycle of pleasant experience.”
I believe whether the quality of service is good or bad depends on the difference in specifications. What worries me most is the dispute arising when we paid the price of 3-star grade but expected a 5-star service. It is well known that most Chinese tourists came on a zero-ground fare package to Malaysia and they should have known that what they have paid is only the air fare. If they have chosen to join this kind of package, why would they have to complaint about the poor breakfast in a 3-star hotel? As a result, the losers are the Chinese tourists who became the unpopular customers. Not only that, the reputation of Malaysian tourism is also tarnished and blacklisted by the Chinese. As a matter of fact, there are also high-quality tourists from China. As operators of in-bound travel service, some of us are still struggling with the concept of service vs consumption.
In the service industry, the merits and drawbacks are related to the price. However, a cheap price does not mean no service at all. As in the budget airlines around the world, the bottom line is not only cheap, but it is the enhanced quality of service especially the
whole operating process that exhibits the concept of value for money. This is the factor that captures the heart of consumers and retains customer loyalty. However, in Kuala Lumpur our taxi operators are incompetent in this sense. Our food and beverage industry is also at a problematic crossroad where they put the blame on foreign workers and at the same time complain of the government’s foreign labour policy. In actual fact, our F&B industry did not invest in the service training and most likely their culture level is not any better.
The service sector is a ubiquitous industry, existing everywhere. Based on Dr. Ng’s “numbers game” of course we are aware of the importance of the service industry to the nation’s economy. Our oil wells will one day run dry but our service industry will not die. However, we don’t see the win-win system here and neither was there any importance accorded to it. We felt as though we are some roadside garbage that will drift away naturally. Hence, there is no consideration of the “service and serviced”.
Well, do we have a future?
Travelution 2012 November/December Issue 21