The PM formally bade welcome to visitors last Saturday, at our very own (rented-for-a-year) The Eye.
Tourism is the second largest contributor to Malaysia’s economy – not to mention foreign exchange earner – and the Government expects real numbers to total 10 per cent of this year’s GDP.
I don’t know if the RM250 million the Government is spending on VMY2007 will also be used to improve the quality of the service industry’s workforce, instead of just for facilities and organising events. Because I still hear stories of and actually experienced crappy service today.
A sloppily wrapped burger may be nothing to most of us but it’s usually the little things that can leave lasting impressions. You don’t know what picky means, Com once said, telling me how customers complain about little, little things when she worked at a fast food joint in London.
You may be assigned to man the ice cream section outside but if you decide to go in to the main section and only one counter was open when there are three customers in line, you should feel an obligation to shorten the queue by taking orders. And at the drive-through, you shouldn’t be sarcastic when a customer pointed out a mistake in the order. It might be the festivities season and your leave was cut short but the hungry person in the car doesn’t care because his stomach is making noises he won’t not able to drive if he doesn’t get his order in the next five seconds.
There are cabbies refusing to take customers to certain destinations. And when they do, some refuse to use the meter. There are nurses greeting the sick and the injured with dour faces and barking orders instead of politely requesting. There are Government officers passing the telephone call to every floor before one said the person in charge is on leave and your urgent matter will only be dealt with in a week’s time.
Maybe those at the front line like airport staff, hotel reception, etc, are well prepared to welcome visitors. But bus operators, train ticket sellers, parking attendants, restaurant servers, supermarket checkout person, these people will at one point encounter either out-of-towners or international tourists. You can’t please everyone, but at least make a concious effort to leave your grouchy self at home before you go to work.
That’s why I stopped selling cakes. After three hours, I’d have a plastic smile on my face with an almost frown to go with it. Even I wouldn’t want to be served by me. Hehe.