(DISCLAIMER: This entry will be made copies to MALAYSIA AIRLINES, THE STAR, NST and etc. - only meant to get the attention from right people from the airline, to correct and make better, flaws which I will try to explain in details. This entry will be edited and proof-read before it is sent to MH, TS and/ or NST - whichever applies. Many thanks to Volksie for doing the proof-read and editing. Final edited, and sent out version will be made reader for all to read, thank you).
Further to the above said disclaimer, this entry is meant for the sake of making one of the world's most favorite and renowned airlines to be BETTER; and no intentions whatsoever to downgrade the airline (as the airline used to be the source of my income). I meant no harm, my only concern is the quality of communications in the airline which has come to my opinion is slowly but surely losing it's Golden "touches".
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Malaysia Airlines (Abbreviated: MAS, Malay: Penerbangan Malaysia) is the national airline of Malaysia, operating scheduled services to over 100 destinations worldwide. It also operates domestic network and charter services. Its main base is Kuala Lumpur International Airport, while Kota Kinabalu International Airport, Penang International Airport and Kuching International Airport serve as regional hubs.
It is one of only six airlines in the world to have been awarded a 5-star rating by Skytrax besides Asiana Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines and Kingfisher Airlines. Malaysia Airlines is accredited by IATA with IATA Operational Safety Audit for its operational safety practices.
Please follow this link to read more about Malaysia Airlines at Wikipedia.org
- on Awards & recognition received by Malaysia Airlines
between the years 2005 to 2007;
click image to enlarge/ read in detail.
And so, with its latest adverts and promotions about the two letter code, which is now not only being used as a code in the IATA system, but MH is now fondly marked as the abbreviation for "MALAYSIAN HOSPITALITY"; I believe what am about to say, should be analyzed and considered thoroughly before we can be proud with MH, as "MALAYSIAN HOSPITALITY".
No doubt, I'm very proud, that Malaysia Airlines, has won again the award for BEST CABIN STAFFS for 2007, adding to its long list of glorious awards received since it first began to operate. And along with KLIA (Kuala Lumpur International Airport) named "Best Airport In The World" (NOTE: Reference needed), with Air Asia named "Best Low Cost Airline In The World" (NOTE: Reference needed), Malaysia Airlines has certainly made us Malaysian proud. And being ex-flight attendant for Malaysia Airlines, I couldn't be happier myself. I'm overwhelmed, overjoyed and of course, very proud!
But after what happened today (actually, after a few similar occasions in the past), I believe that Malaysia Airlines and its hardworking team which have been busy making the airline as classy, competitive and as profitable as to SQ, and EK (Emirates), should start consider of training the ground staffs too, and in effort of making the ground crew/ staffs too, get the World's Best Ground Staffs.
(DISCLAIMER: It has been known to airline members, that ground staffs and cabin crew members are not communicating well and are known not to be in good terms; I believe, based on my past experience, NOT ALL. There were/ are some crew members who did not give the rightful amount of respect to the ground staffs, and vice versa. But in most cases, I think, 90% of the times, all staffs under the grand name of Malaysia Airlines are working hand in hand to make the airline the best in the world. So for the following remarks of flaws, it seems like it might be me, as ex-crew member, having some issues to ground staffs/ reservation staff members - NO. Please do not think that way for I have been known to have NO ISSUES with any of the ground staffs before. It may seem as am condemning the department, but to my level of understanding, as I try to make all of you understand as well, that my concern, is to point out a few issues which should be tackled before it gets out of hand; and I hope that the things that I'm about to say will be taken as constructive as possible).
But before I proceed with my rather bad experiences today, please allow me to divert your attention to something somewhat very interesting. I'm terribly sorry, but please let me share something that I found inside the in-flight magazine today from my flight back from KUL to AOR.
It was an article, which to me, was very resourceful, and at the same time I feel that it was very useful. Also, at that spur moment, as ideas popped in, I felt that I could relate the article very much to the entry/ what am about to say/ write; very much indeed. Please note the ones underlined in red, and those marked by red-line tables.
- article entitled We Are Listening.
Article summary; concerns departments namely
Customer Response Department/ Communication Department/
Reservation & Call Center Department - etc.;
click image(s) to enlarge/ read in detail.
From what I've read through this one out of two pages article, and from what I've experienced today (February 16th, 2008) and as said earlier, experiences that I've gone through from the past, I honestly, and sincerely believe, and can conclude that...,
"Things happening in the real world aren't like what I've just read..."As I finished reading the article, I strongly disagree with MH and its messages in the article. To me, what I've personally experienced, and encountered today and during those times before today, simply did not fit with what was written in the article.
"Things said/ written in the article were not portrayed 100% by the named departments..." - my personal point of view to reservation & ground staffs in specific to this entry.
(NOTE: Ground staffs in Malaysia Airlines comprises of many departments. This entry, concerns mostly on the Call Center/ Reservation Staffs).
To help all readers of you understand better, and know more on what I'm trying to say, I shall share now my experiences with the staffs from the Call Center Department. These experiences I believe are related to this whole entry, and it relates to the level of communication skills trained to the departments' staffs, skills that involves MH as service providers and those who are paying for the services i.e. customers, i.e. me. And as you continue to read, you will understand that MH cannot claim to portray 'MH' - the "Malaysian Hospitality" just yet, as there are still, rooms of improvements. And based on these experiences which I think, almost many of you readers out there have encountered them too, what Malaysia Airlines has got to offer now, and with all those awards, recognitions and etc., all of these can be at stake IF no actions/ solutions are taken to these issues...
(DISCLAIMER: AGAIN, I need to highlight this disclaimer/ matter, for I do not wish to have people mislead my posting. As it may look as though I am basically pointing fingers at a specific/ particular department, be rest assure that things said are meant to be taken as constructively as possible, generally by staffs from Call Center Department of all airlines in the world, but of course, as Malaysian and an ex-crew member myself, this goes specially and specifically to the national carrier - Malaysia Airlines, in view of avoiding from good to bad, excellent to worse, 'Ok lah' to 'Choooyyy!!!'...)
(NOTE: Please be informed that as I'm sharing with you readers what I went through, at the same time, I'm comparing these experiences, encounters and such, with the underlined-with-red-line remarks, and red-line tables from the above attached article/ image)
In the article, it was said that..."... Call Center, which handles up to 9,500 calls a day..."
My saying/ remark/ personal experience/ encounter in relation to the above said issue was/ were: It is not once, but more than number of times, that I was on hold for like more than 1/2 an hour. 9,500 calls a day I presume is just an average figure per day, yes? But please don't lead me to believe that the reservation line, is busy EVERYDAY and I'm expected to continuing to go on hold for the rest of the day? Take for instance a few other international airlines; after a certain extend of time, the machine will prompt you to either call back or to actually leave a message and to expect a return-call from the airline's rep. I think MH should adapt that too, instead of having us to wait and wait and wait... which leads me to the next line...
In the article, it was said that..."... we value every call..."
My saying/ remark/ personal experience/ encounter in relation to the above said issue was/ were: And I VALUE MY PHONE BILLS too... So try not just to listen, but understand your customer's need.
In the article, it was said that..."Our aim... every caller is satisfied..."
My saying/ remark/ personal experience/ encounter in relation to the above said issue was/ were: So whatever happens to the unsatisfied customers? Do you (MH) actually keep track and get back to the customer if required, when required? I don't think it is practiced in MH. But that's not what's bugging me. What bugs me is when, I was on hold for quite a while (and I do mean a while), and the fact that I had to listen to the same automated-adverts while on hold, over and over again, and when I was finally connected to one of the Call Center's rep., I was either cutoff or I was entertained by some rude, irritating and soft-spoken (TOO SOFT at times) representatives/ officers. And what bugs me EVEN more, I got these kind of treatments when am on the EYCL (Economy Class) line only - but when I am connected to the Business Class (GCCL) line, or even the First Class line (FRCL), these things don't happen that often. Why is that? Because when I travel in FRCL or GCCL, I pay more then what I pay for in EYCL? So that gives the right to be at times, rude, especially during midnight hours and afternoon peak-time. BUT, what happened today (February 16th), I was connected, TWICE, to the GCCL rep. and both of the times, I was rudely entertained. I wonder, why is that? Any ideas? And although I've successfully made my booking/ inquiry, still, I was not satisfied. But was that taken into account? I doubt.
In the article, it was said that..."... very strict quality control... each call must be answered within 20 seconds and each reservation completed within six minutes. We even have a system that keeps track of and records every call, to ensure we perform at our peak every minute of the day. So the next time you call us, do know that at the other end of the line, we are all ears."
My saying/ remark/ personal experience/ encounter in relation to the above said issue was/ were: Within 20 seconds? Or 20 minutes? I honestly would like to find out - when it was written in the article, as 20 seconds, all calls must be answered, was it referring to the automated-answering machine or was it referring to the reservation/ call center staffs? Because, I have to admit it, true, my call was answered most of the times within 20 seconds after hearing the ringing tone; but it was answered by the automated-answering machine. But by the time the rep. picks up the call and got me attached with him/ her, it was definitely, definitely more than 20 seconds. And all those "Press 1 for English..." or "Press 2 for Telephone Check-in" and so on, increases the customer's phone cost. Any ways of MH improving this matter? And lastly, most of the time, I was placed on hold for MORE than 20 seconds, when I fly in EYCL. Other zones, I could at times count on the promptness of the rep's answering/ connecting to my call. But that doesn't happen ALL the time, mind you...
In the article, it was said that..."Natural. Spontaneous. Determined. Willing."
My saying/ remark/ personal experience/ encounter in relation to the above said issue was/ were: After making the two calls, after getting connected to the two wonderfully trained reps (the 1st one was a lady, and the 2nd one was a guy - who was relatively better at attending me and less rude compared to the 1st one, but still, at a very stuck-up tone), it came to my attention (after reading the article of course), that the department which claimed to live on the four above-said words - is actually living with five words, instead of four. Come on, are you sure it's four and not five, dear Department of Customer Response/ Reservation/ Call Center? Or is it my mistake, that it IS actually four, and the fifth word, which is to me, fit to be placed by the word "RUDE" - is already part of the four words listed - Naturally Rude, Spontaneously Rude, Determined To Be Rude. Willing To Be Rude. Is that so? Because, based on today's experience, and my past encounters, I feel that most of the reps. were trained to be rude...
Now, after reading and comparing the truth (although occasionally) to the words in the article, do you see where all these leads to? What's the main point of this whole entry? Yes - the followings would be my sum up:
- Malaysia Airlines (specifically those in the Call Center/ Reservation Department, part of the ground staff members of Malaysia Airlines) have definitely got a lot to go and have lots of improvements to be done, before the team can be part of the "MALAYSIAN HOSPITALITY" served by Malaysia Airlines. It is proven, time after time, that the Cabin Crew/ Staffs have no problems realizing this themed called - "MH - for MALAYSIAN HOSPITALITY", although, I have to admit it that even for cabin crew members, we still have those stuck-up and arrogant ones flying on board today. That I cannot deny. Even after winning Best Cabin Staff awards, time after time, still, we do have these type of people serving the airline. But that's the different kind of story. And it's way out of the context of this entry. The main agenda here is about the Call Center's staffs/ reps/ members. They too were trained about the importance of managing clients over the phones, yes? But why is it that I feel that they aren't trained as much as cabin staffs were trained? Why, because they (the Call Center reps), they're not to be seen in front of passengers? All we passengers can get is to hear their voices, only. So, by taking that into considerations, does that mean that they should be trained less, compared to the front liners, i.e. the cabin staffs a.k.a. the nations' ambassador to the world? As a matter of fact, BEFORE cabin staffs get to meet this passengers, passengers, these people, who calls in to the call center's - they are the ones who will be the ambassadors; they at the Call Centers will be the first to 'meet' these passengers; so why should you include RUDE into the menu? What's worse, the dish is served to mainly the local passengers, why is that? Not all Asians are tough to handle; believe me, I KNOW.
- The second issue that I feel that should be taken into deep thoughts and worth re-doing? would be... The Automated-Answering-Machine at the Call Center - do something with it. Make people pay less when calling the center. Try and learn from other international airliners and its' call centers, I'm sure we've got a lot to catch up. Satisfying the customer is MH's Call Center's main aim, objective, yes? But so far, out of, lets just say, 50 calls I've made, I've been satisfied to just near 30 calls, and the rest, ended up making me really, REALLY upset and unsatisfied... Times that with probably another 15 passengers. Don't you think that's a lot?
If my points are jumbled all over, upside down, inside out, please forgive me for this has definitely turned out to be a rather, how should I put it, depressing entry? I've been putting up with this 'Rudeness' issue for quite sometimes, and pertaining the Call Center issues. But after today, and after reading the article, I felt like, that's it! I just have to, got to do this. I meant no harm - I just want the best for my great, national airline. And I do hope somebody from the Customer Response Department will take immediate action to this matter, before the Call Center's representatives (NOTE: Again, am not referring to ALL staffs. Just one or two that could ruin everything.) starts to be rude and truly show the real meaning of "Malaysian Hospitality - RUDE".
My last words; Malaysia Airlines will still be one of my favorite airline; not simply because the fact that I'm a Malaysian and so I must go for Malaysia Airlines... NO. Definitely not that. If fact, if you noticed, I said, ONE OF and not THE FAVORITE airline. I have my preferences but MH is not on top of the list, but it is still in the list. Why? Aside for MH is famous for its authenticity and its true unique airline which embodies the country's multi-cultural races, religions, with 1001 different faces and etc, but I have once served and still proud to remember those wonderful times spent serving the national airline. THAT is why am writing all this. If I don't bother much about the airline anymore, why would I even bother to write all this and for all I care, I could probably be returning those two reps. their favor - me being rude and start yelling, and cursing them, upside down and all. But what for? They are Malaysians, I'm a Malaysian - and being an EX Malaysia Airlines crew, I must say that, why should we among ourselves be rude and arrogant to each other? I just want the airline to get back to its glorious golden years - I've heard rumors, this and that, things that are practically down-grading the airline. I could just go on and on listening to the stories but all I care is to see the airline get back on its 'hospitality' track and erasing the word "RUDE" from every staff's minds.
Things said, mistakes done - sorry...