On Experience

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

Brands can be anything, e.g. officials or services in 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.

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By Bambang Aroengbinang. BA lahir di Desa Mersi, Purwokerto, Jawa Tengah, sekarang tinggal di Jakarta. Seorang blogger dan pejalan musiman yang senang berkunjung ke situs, makam, dan tempat bersejarah. Menyukai pemandangan daratan subur dan pegunungan hijau ketimbang laut. Kontak BA. Subscribe via email untuk kabar tulisan terbaru. Diperbarui pada 23 Maret 2017. Tag: