AlwaysWoW! For a Great Great WoW in Life

Thoughts from me about things that are cool, that are WoW, that blow me away. Observations about businesses and people from a wide variety of life. Daily encounters - and thoughts outside the box, inside the box and without any box. New thinking, and challenging old thinking. Passionate about life, about respect, and about integrity.

Monday, March 29, 2004

Redang - Part 2

There was a letter to the editor in The Star Malaysia (, describing the same as I have done below. Pitying the corals and even expanding on it, saying that even tourist guides would walk on corals to assist those tourists, who cannot swim.


"Closing" a sale

My "better half" is having some training courses in insurance and financial planning. She is embarking on a new career and recently started talking a lot about "closing a sale". I objected to this since I believe that no consumer or client wants to be "closed". For me, a sale is the beginning of a relationship - to what she said that in Asia, to talk about the beginning of a relationship would mean something totally different. She also said that "closing a sale" would be the terminology that is used in the industry and that it cannot be changed.

I don't agree, actually. If there is no change in terminology, how can change happen in the mindset? How can any change happen at all?

Change is also about using different words to describe new developments. And to prepare for change also involves the usage of new words.

Sunday, March 21, 2004

Redang Island - A great experience with some faults

I spent 5 days on Redang Island with my family and have to say that it was quite a nice experience.

Berjaya Group holds the whole value chain. Its planes, Berjaya Air, take off from Subang Airport, the former airport in Malaysia, that was closed down a couple a years ago with the completion of the new airport KLIA in Sedang. We were picked up in Redang with buses run by the Berjaya Group, which drove a short distance to the resort.

All went well - especially in the hotel. There was no hick-ups anywhere.

The hotel staff especially was extremely accommodating. Friendly to my kid - helping him to carry food from the buffet, offering to put another pillow on his chair to increase his height. One receptionist who met us incidentally after her work, when she walked with a friend, asked, if our room was okay.

The environment is great as well. Clear sea, a white beach, just something like a dream - but, and there is always a but, as sad as it is.

Tourists are invited to see corals - and here, the value chain breaks down. Since the waters around the corals are very shallow, and probably because many tourists cannot swim, they walk around and stand on the corals - basically killing them. I told one, but there was no reaction. I asked one of the shippers, and he only said, that tourists shouldn't stand, or touch corals.

What would be great it if Berjaya would explain to those traveling to those places the importance of the coral ecosystem, and may be even penalize those who won't listen.

It is all about education and the dialogue with your customers, isn't it?


Bodyshop - No further response

Sad - there was no further response to my mail below. It shows that the company is somewhat not interested in learning from customers or to get into a dialogue with them.

Makes me think about the rest of their values as well!

Thursday, March 04, 2004

Bodyshop's response - I think it is not good enough

The e-mail came February 24, 2004. It took me some time to read through it and think through it. Finding something positive about it.

Here it is:

"Thank you for writing to us. We appreciate honest feedback from customers as we truly treasure our customers, especially those who are close to us.

I am very sorry that your family's shopping experience at The Body Shop Mid
Valley Megamall recently was a disappointing one.

Although our shop girl should have politely explained how our People membership card works, I would like to bring to your attention that it is stated on the back of the membership card that any balance from the RM35 rebate could not be refunded nor brought forward. As we don't have any 'reduced' vouchers available, our shop girl was not able to offer any other flexible options on the spot.

While it is heartbreaking to dampen the excitement of a little one, please keep in mind that your wife can redeem her rebate anytime within two months of qualification.

Your message has been relayed to the shop manager of The Body Shop Mid
Valley Megamall for immediate action. We always strive to see a satisfied smile on our customers' face and hope that you will return to find we have improved ourselves in our service to you.

Yours sincerely,


I responded to Bodyshop with the follwoing

Thank you for responding to my e-mail and my sincere apologies for my late reply and allow me to outline my points .

I still believe that there is not enough empowerment on side of your employees and a lack of training. Okay, I sure don’t want that the girl is loosing her job but continuing this e-mail exchange and I am not angry with her – she is the most innocent here. And if a lack of training is the consequence of her behaviour, a company is to blame, not the employee. That your shop doesn’t have reduced vouchers or that something is stated at the back of a loyalty card is just not good enough – how many people read it? Or does they understand it? Recall it at the time of purchase?

What I don’t really see is the flexibility of your outlet to respond to customer’s needs and to really have them leave your shop with a smile on their face. Remember, a bad experience is related many times more than good ones, as sad as it is. Today, consumers have plenty of choice for purchases of their products, and to win customer loyalty is harder than ever for retail outlets. I understand that there is plenty of competition, that margins are thin and costs are high on your side, but this is exactly the reason, why employees need to be empowered, and consumers need to be engaged. Bodyshop is already charging higher prices, but attracts a lot of people due to its ambitions and high values. You probably spent millions of dollars to sustain and develop an image via promotions, advertisements and other kind of activities - and this is the result.

In addition, actually, there is no action item in your e-mail - is there any change in your approach to customers? In fact, you push the issue to the customer - that Bodyshop doesn't have the vouchers, that regulations are stated at the back of the membership card. You only state that you hope we will have a better experience the next time around.

You also write about the satisfaction and happiness that you want to create within your customers. Now, for just a moment, imagine the happiness my kid would have had, if your salesgirl would have been empowered to just give him the soap, for free – a loss of less than RM4.00 Imagine, how we as parents would have felt? We would have told the story 10, 20, 30 times, and those who would listen to it would related it further – a real snowball effect. Imagine the positive resonance that would have been for your shop.

Now, just imagine that the opposite happens? I had a good impression of Bodyshop earlier, but now there is a slightly sour taste, whenever I see the shop, read something about it or share stories with others about customer experiences.

Just put yourself into a customer’s shoes and remember the last time you went shopping and had the feeling that something is not quite right? How do you react?

Do you think I am right? Tell me at


Did anyone responded?

I send the mail about the hospital in Kuala Lumpur - no one responded.

I send the mail about the car driver to the newspapers - no one responded

I congratulated the restaurant for great service - even they did not respond.

But - bodyshop responded, as you can see in the next posting.


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