What Have They Done Right ?

After years’ of planning, construction and testing, the theme park in the city is finally opened today. You know, there are so many bad presses about this theme park in the past few weeks that I think people are getting a bit over-reacted …

I mean, what have they done to deserve this ?

Somehow people in the city has developed a very strange habit – i.e. keep complaining … and keep yelling “What have you done wrong …”.

My point is, instead of focusing what have someone done wrong, why not spend time in finding out “what have they done right?” and learn ? The theme park company did a great job for 50 years, you know. They have so many other parks in other countries / cities that they know what they can do to fix problems, and to give best services to their customers.

Learn from them first, then complain ….

Lesson Learnt: If someone can do something you cannot do with all your effort; then learn from them first …

Maintenance Hours

After weeks of heavy rain and finally we had a sunny weekend. Other than going out for some work-out, I decided also to fill up the day with a good movie, so I surfed to one cinema web site in town.

Fired up the FireFox, entered the URL and I was greeted with an ugly message – “The system is under maintenance”.

Oh great, a cinema web site is working on something new, but in a Saturday morning ? Are they crazy ? What kind of IT team they have ? Do they understand that they develop the web site is for doing business ?

Lesson Learnt: Fit your maintenance hours with customers’ schedules, not yours.

Coffee Please …

So one of the largest coffee chains in the world openned a new shop around the corner, I thought “let’s have some good coffee” …

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“Tall Soya Latte please …”, I told the clueless young chap.

“What ?”, answered by the clueless young chap, but he’s so proud …

“Tall Soya Latte PLEASE …”, I asked again.

“WHAT ?”, answered by him again.

“TALL SOYA LATTE PLEEEEEASE …”, I yelled.

“Oh, tall soya MILK latte, a moment please …”, he finally answered.

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Of course, it’s the last time I visited that store.

Lesson Learnt: Train your staff to understand the customer’s preferred product names.

Tooth Paste Theory

OK, on TV it’s showing an advertisement about a new tooth paste with Honey as ingredient … it puzzled me a lot for a few things. First of all, of course, why use Honey ? Will that really help my teeth ?

Then I recalled couple of weeks ago the same brand of tooth paste used Tea Leave as ingredient … then another few weeks before that, it was Herbal Mint … before that it was Ginseng …

So I reckon one thing, the tooth paste manufacturers market their products to in sync with your regular people’s tooth paste consumption pattern !! So every few weeks / months, they roll out another “new” tooth paste from their production line to “attract” you. Don’t you think so …

Lesson Learnt: Time your product rollout with customers’ usage pattern.

Value Added Service …

My brother called one cab services company the other day and requested a cab to transport him to airport, early in the next day morning (5:30 am). Just before wrapping up the call, the CS agent asked my brother a strange question …

“Shall we give you a morning call at 5 am ?”

Wow … what a service ?! From a cab company !!

Lesson Learnt: Every one can improve the service.

How can I help you ?

I suppose that’s the most popular greeting message by salesperson in all kind of shops. What’s your answer to this kind of greeting “questions” ? To me, it is either “Yes” or “No” … and of course if my answer is “No”, it means I will leave the shop soon – i.e. the end of the selling opportunity. So, I reckon the better greeting message shall be …

“Have you tried our latest products / services ?”

If your answer is “Yes”, the salesperson can follow up to check whether you like the products / services or not; and cross sell other products. If your answer is “No”, the salesperson can then kick start the engine to introduce you the benefits of the latest and greatest products / services. In both cases, you will sell more …

Lesson Learnt: If you’re a salesperson, you know which greeting message you shall use.

eCommerce Tale

Try to be a bit light-hearted.

The other day I read the Next Magazine and found that there is one website to sell movie tickets – with no service charge. That website sells tickets of cinemas JP, SilverCord and two others. I think, ahhhh, finally a website to sell tickets for cinemas other than UA and Broadway. I therefore jotted down the web site name.

The web site is Movie Super.

I started off my trusty Fujitsu notebook computer the same night. Running with XP, it booted up in no time, and fired up the Internet Explorer. Typed in the URL, and I was immediately greeted with Internet 500 Server Error. I changed my hat from consumer to IT people then, and clicked the refresh button. Ahhh, the homepage of the web site showed. Obviously, one of their servers was down I thought. I then changed my hat again, back to dump consumer.

I first found that there were two big advertisements on the screen, for the movies “Signs” and “Gold Member”. I thought, hmmm, it’s the right “movie” site. I then scan around the page and found links to buy DVD, VCD, books. And there were links to cinema information, new movies etc. But, hey, there was no link to buy movie tickets … I scanned again all these links, no, no links to buy tickets. OK, I then did it for the third time, and this time I scan the pages including the banner ads (yes, I surf Internet with my mind to ignore ALL banner ads). Ah, I found it, the “Buy ticket now” animated button was placed just besides the top banner ad. How “smart” they were, they put the most important button besides a banner ad – and animated like a banner ad.

Naturally, I clicked the “Buy tickets now” button, another window popped up and what, a site with all English. Yes, a Chinese homepage, jumped to an English web page. Anyway, “I can live with that”, I thought. I spotted the “Buy your tickets Now” link immediately and clicked it. 5, 10, 15 seconds gone. Nothing. Another 5 seconds passed, ooops … Cannot find server or DNS error. OK, IT mind came into play again, clicked the refresh button.

Finally, a screen to ask me to select cinema, movie. I then selected my favorite cinema, JP. This time was quick, and the system asked me to select “Film”. What ? “Movie” in previous page, and this page was “film”. Nevermind, all I needed was to buy tickets.

I then picked the “film” (Signs), and then the date and time. Finally, another screen with a graphical view of the cinema – the system was smart enough to select the best two seats for me, nice (IT mind came into place, it gotta be a Java applet, I thought). It also showed a timer on screen, warning me that I had another 4 minutes to complete the transaction … 03:59, 03:58. The clock was ticking.

OK, I decided to pick the selected two seats, clicked “Next” button to continue the process, clicked the “Purchase Now” button. Clock was ticking.

Wait and wait, the clock was ticking -… no response yet -… blood pressure was going high up now. 03:00, 02:00, 01:00, 00:55, 00:54, 00:53 … 00:37. 00:27, 00:17 … I was prompted “You have 15 seconds left” … ooops, the program ended, saying “Your order is empty”. What’s it supposed to mean ? I tried the second time, and this time “cannot find server or DNS error”. I tried for the third time, … failed again, …I kinda getting sick of the ticking clock.

I forgot how many times I tried – finally, I went thru and this time a new pop-up – it invited me to trust a digital certificate …. What ?!

Changed my hat to a stubborn IT people, and I found the certificate was issued by Mr. Ken XXX, not Verisign, not Thawte and not HK Post. I clicked to see more details and found that the certificate already expired …- no security or what ….

Changed my hat back to a naïve customer – who cares !! I clicked OK and was greeted with the credit card number screen. It’s actually quite a relieve as finally I could buy something….

“Could you stop mingling with your computer ?” my wife shouted to me. Ooops, my first ever on-line shopping with this web site ended. Lots and lots of troubles, but hey, I don’t care and I would try it again definitely, as I really wanted to see the movie “Signs” in JP cinema .