Saturday, December 08, 2007

On Experience

Strong and respected brands were built from numerous good and consistent experiences that customers encounter with the brands and with the people who are connected with the brands. Negative experiences weaken the brands, whilst positive experiences strengthen the brands, as simple as that.

Brands can be anything, e.g. government offices, schools, cities, countries, ideas, persons, associations, transportation modes, communities, army units, ethnics, taxis, nations, religions, political parties, etc. They can also be blogs.

On Friday, December 7, I went to Singapore for attending a company gathering at Ulu-ulu Restaurant, in Night Safari complex, with associates from other countries in South East Asia.

I took the first flight at 6.30 with Garuda, and did early check in. There was only one counter opened when I queued at the immigration, manning by a male staff. His badge showed his identity: GS.

While he's serving a Japanese woman right in front of me, a looked like Korean man seemed confused where to go and went back to the counter asking for direction. Instead of getting assistance, the person was rudely asked to go away using his left hand.

It's not over yet. The Japanese lady apparently was told that she couldn't pass the immigration. While she's still confused in front of him trying to get explanation, he asked me to come over and asked her to go the immigration office with stern face. She finally passed the immigration, but we could guess what kind of experience and impression that she had. Somebody has to move the officer out from his post, and put him in a position that more appropriate with the attitude he has.

When I arrived at Changi, we had to pass security check, which I think is an insult to our immigration security systems. Sometimes they did the checking, other times they didn't. Would the Singapore immigration office still do the annoyed procedures if they trust our security systems?

Going back home on Saturday morning, the usual scenes for so many years were still there. There were long queues in all available limited counters. I do not believe that the immigration office has no people to man the counters. I think the heads of the immigration office, since more than thirty years ago until today, have never had the intention nor a simple idea to make citizens completely happy upon returning home. They also did little things to support tourism, by not trying hard enough to make foreigners impressed with the country, right from the beginning.

Going out from the arrival lounge, another usual unpleasant experience greeted me. A few people asked me whether I needed taxi and waved their car keys and chased me for a few seconds. Upon approaching the taxi pools, I headed directly to Blue Bird taxi as I haven't trusted another taxi operators, even though their service level might be good already. Branding problems.

The taxi arrangements is in fact much better than that in few years back which was a complete chaos. It is, however, far than enough. Rigorous selection of taxi operators, rewards and punishments for them, and better exit routes arrangements are still needed so that there will be no preferred taxi brands, as all type of taxis are guaranteed to have good quality of service, and no people chase us asking to use their illegal taxis. For better experience, hopefully the rapid train services that connect Soekarno-Hatta Airport and Gambir Railway Station will immediately be built.

If we can provide good experiences to citizens and travellers right from time they enter the cities or country doors, it will help a lot to start giving confidence to people that we do can change rotten things that have been there for years, if we work on it seriously. Whilst words can change many things, experience can do a lot more, either way.

Let's start thinking and working on it then, at whatever we are doing now.


  1. ketiban sapi qurban2:09 AM

    Sering ketemu orang kayak GS.
    Harusnya orang macem tu ditaruh aja di belakang meja, ngadepin berkas2 dan bukannya manusia.

    Mas, kalo mampir kotaku jangan naik BB. Payahnya sama kayak taxi kelas mbek di Jkt: suka muter2in penumpang.

  2. @ketiban sapi qurban: iya nduk, masih banyak model2 GS gini yg njaga di pintu masuk ke negri ini yg perlu dikandangin.
    Weh, BB di tempatmu itu menyedihkan to, kalau gitu mungkin mental manajemen-nya yg perlu di perbaiki dulu ya, baru sopir2nya...:)

  3. memang seh banyak petugas di bandara yg harus dibina. Di Jkt rasanya saya ngga merasa safe.
    Makanya saya bilang Indonesia belum siap menjadi daerah wisata, karena mental para petugas..

  4. Have you read my friend's posting about what happened to an Australian Embassy staff's wife when she returned from Korea back to Jakarta? She's lucky because he holds a diplomatic passport, but there will be others who are not as fortunate at her. Shame.

  5. Once i travelled with Garuda back to Jakarta, we brought my girl's stroller to the plane coz we didn't wanna carry her all the way to the gate (berat bo!). Usually the plane officer took it before we enter the plane and give it back on the plane exit door upon arrival. Arrived at the airport, we waited half an hour on the exit door for our stroller, but no show. Asked an officer, they told us to go to Garuda customer service. We went there, they asked us to checked the port. No show too. When i told them that this never happened in other airlines, the officer said ,"ya kita bukan penerbangan lain bu, kita adalah Garuda Indonesia" proudly. I can only shake my head and mumbled angrily. Finally the stroller sent to the GS, very late. I don't understand their mentality, not service oriented, but being serviced. We're the customers, for god sake.

  6. AG. Syam1:35 PM

    Jero Wacik said: "Our people must be friendly, show smiling faces, and all concerned must cater to foreign tourists in a friendly way so as to help the country promote its tourism industry next year. The administrators of airports and tourist attractions should also pay special attention to ensuring every possible convenience for visitors."(Jakarta Post, 22/11/07)
    So, pak Jero Wacik, kenyataan dilapangan belum mendukung sepenuhnya program Visit Indonesia 2008. Padahal 2008 tinggal menghitung hari...

  7. poor service in almost all fields. kapan yah pak bisa berubah Indonesia ini?

  8. Refer to Utie's story, no wonder lah if the EU ban Indonesian airlines. It seems that we should take a lesson from Honda who proudly says "the car who sell itself". Regards.

  9. @amethys: iya jeng setuju; itu juga karena para pejabat tinggi selalu mendapatkan pelayanan istimewa, jadi semuanya kelihatan seperti baik2 saja...

    @Anita: just read the posting jeng; it's really shameful... maybe we need kind of "immigration watch" body to help fixing it

    @uTie: the high standard of service level is not there yet jeng. it sometimes erodes our faith to the country and its people.

    @AG. Syam: setidaknya dia sudah membuat sasaran yg baik dan benar bung, monitoring implementasi di lapangannya yg harus diperbaiki

    @Putirenobaiak: masih jauh jeng, apalagi dengan penunjukan ketua KPK baru yg reputasinya diragukan....

    @Aris Heru Utomo: image kita memang masih parah bung..., semoga dalam sepuluh tahun ke depan ada perubahan yg sangat signifikan. salam.

  10. cewektulen8:26 PM

    kata2 penutupnya mantep...

  11. @cewektulen: suwun nduk.., kapan kah senja menjadi pagi...?

  12. I just got back to Indonesia and this time I saw a different thing. Not the people who do the job or those who are in the service industry but us, the customer. I just realize that Indonesians are rude! Sadly those who are rude are the business people who wear suits and have laptops and blackberries, or the high-profile university students. I was so annoyed and wrote it in my latest posting. Check Rude Indonesians

  13. @anita: jeng, in a way i think it's true that people become more individualistic and less friendly to strangers, as life is increasingly stressful, especially in big cities such as Jakarta...