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Friday, February 02, 2007

Waffor I want to smile? You first.

(Adam: Come on. You smile first.)

These days government departments have launched campaigns to encourage their staff to provide service with a SMILE. And as you might have read in my account of my recent visit to renew my passport the service with a smile campaign is obviously working. Much to our delight after years of being confronted with sour-faced civil servants.

Today I discovered that a car distributor has also adopted a customer relations programme to encourage SMILES. This German-American company dresses their front line staff in T-shirts which bear the slogan…now wait for this…



Sometimes the best of intentions can go terribly wrong because of a variety of reasons. This slogan obviously was thought up by a creative writer who’s been through the Malaysian sekolah jenis kebangsaan system of English comprehension.

So if we don’t smile you won’t issit? We are your customers you know.

Ya, ya, ya. I know that what they meant was if their service is good enough to put smiles on our faces they’d be happy and smile too. But the message sure lost something in translation.

Oh did I mention it was a German-American company? This is surely a German-American fuck-up.



johnny said...

i love this post.. it's humourous and thoughtful ..


sadly, this is real for most malaysian. We always observe others behaviors first before giving ourselves in. if you are nice to me, i'll be nice to you. if you are tough to me, i can be real tough back to you.

how about this?


Anonymous said...

Malaysians are perceive as generally friendly ppl all over the globe. However as a Returned Malaysian after 18 years overseas, I observed at least in KL , there's a lack of the three Magic words - Excuse me, Please and Thank you. Restaurant staff deserves a compliment for a good meal or service, Taxi/bus/train drivers deserves a thank you for getting you to your destination in one piece,the postman, ticket counter seller and the list goes on.In my encounters, some responded with a sama sama, a nod/smile and yet many think I am off my rockers! being not used to this. No matter what, I will keep on doing my thing. Keep smiling, be courteous Malaysians, It cost you nothing.

siew yoke said...

Wait till cuepacs get the pay rise; see whether they will smile or not, niamah!

C-CUBE said...

sounds familiar, IF YOU SMILE, WE WILL SMILE TOO.....where did I saw it If I am right, its at the 3 spoke logo service ctr.

Gerubuk said...

You smile all the time and people will think, woi, you gila one ka? How come you got that smile permanently pasted on your face? Mad ah you! You doing mouth exercise ka? Chee sin ah!
So waffor smile, neh?

However, the govt dept 'smile' campaign works like this, methinks!
Apply new IC, take number, see counter assistant who has genuine sweet smile and polite greeting. Asks you to wait la. Smile. Luckily, I bring book so as not to waste time waiting. 45 minutes later, go to another counter, take photo, don't smile, look at digital camera. Done, go home, wait three weeks and call us, smile. bye bye!

3 weeks later call hotline, no answer, call again many times, always engaged. Damn fed up, go the branch office and asks counter assistant, what happened to my IC? Sweet Smile, please wait la while we check the computer. Check, check, ah...already complete la, but not delivered from Putrajaya yet la, sweet smile, go home and call us again in three weeks time ( wah so long for delivery from Putrajaya to IC branch office in PJ ), what number to call as your hotline always engaged ah? Here take this our branch office number, and call me in three weeks, OK, never mind la, SMILE.

So, Go home fed up. Will only call to collect IC when govt threatens with fees or whatever they threaten the compliant citizens with.

Bloody SMILE all the time , but no real productive action lah.

Still no new IC after 3 months, NIAMAH!! ( Can borrow your tag or not, PT, sorry, done already le ).

zewt said...

to be fair with them... whenever i have to deal with the IRB officers for my own income tax issues... they do smile at me and most of them are pretty polite...

kanine said...

I think you are right, Patrick - they must've meant to say something like "your satisfaction (with our product/service) makes our day, which will make us smile...

There are just too many issues and hardship confronting malaysians now to make them smile, I suppose.

By the way I read in the Australian newspaper yesterday (4/2) that malaysian govt is spending AUD74.5 million to entertain tourists this year - correct ah? But they did also say that thousands of 'locals' attended the fireworks, etc. Betul kaa?

That's like RM200 million - waaah..govt rich ne. Like that all the tax you and I pay habis la... NIAAMAAH!

The Unladen Swallow said...

You remember that smile commercial we used to have on TV about a decade ago? It went along the lines of: "Smile, smile, it isn't hard to do, Smile for a while, and one more smile makes two."

m3rp said...

I feel that the government thinks that SMILE could be an acronym for,


patrickteoh said...

m3rp, these days the government departments seem to be doing much better than some commercial companies in the area of friendly efficient service.
yes swallow, I do remember that smile campaign on TV and radio all those years ago. maybe it is beginning to have its effects finally.
gerubuk, yours would seem to be an isolated incident these days. Most of the commenters here have related how quickly and efficiently they've got their IC's and passports.
c-cube, 3 spoke logo? Maybe. Heheheheh...
johnny, good one. Spread the word...IF I SMILE, EVERYONE WILL SMILE TOO. Great slogan.

Anonymous said...

I have got some slogons to share, perhaps it is relevant to some industry in this boleh-lah country,

1. Make my day, Smile !
(Situation : Caught in a bloody jam before paying new Toll rates at Kajang & Sunway)

2. When you pay-up, I will Smile!
(Ah Long recovery unit group doing their round)

3. When I sleep, I smile.
(Lahdol favorive slogan when attending meetings)

4. Just Pump a Little Smile.
(Petrol & Diesel price hike but then, it is still the cheapest in this region)

5. Smile, it doesnt cost you anything.
(Non-functioning power-window of Proton cars when paying Toll).


Gerubuk said...

Thanks, PT, for the reassurance of the many success stories of others in their interactions with the service with a smile govt depts like the National Registration & Immigration.
Indeed mine could be an isolated case as the IC may already be ready for collection, but I have to wait for a working Sat to pick it up ( not sure if they still work alternate Sats or no more which means I have to take some hours or half a day off work to make collection ). That's the hassle of unnecessary downtime and reduced productivity and, if multiplied by many similar cases, whoa, lots of opportunity losses, correct.

Anyway, still smiling lah, and will collect some day or other. No urgency as the dept failed to live up to its earlier promise of 2 x 3 weeks waiting time.


Gerubuk said...

Just to let you know, PT, I was not in any smiling mood when I turned up to collect my new IC today. There was a queue about 25 pax ahead of me. No prob, I brought my book to read while waiting my turn patiently. 45 minutes later, I was at the counter with a smiling lady staff who says my IC is ready for collection.. Just to make sure, I asked to review all the details...race..very funny..Bumi something ( is Bumiputra a race or a kaum, and there must be a reason why there are different typs of Bumi? ) ; religion...ok correct ; state of origin...ada salah lah, tiada itu alphabet? sorry salah kita lah. Meanwhile, she had taken my old IC and cut it across with a pair of scissors, damn.

So, I ask what she is going to do to make the correction? To submit application again...bloody hell, not my mistake, I have to re-submit, Thiue. Can you make correction on-line since the bloody computer is in front of you?
Drop line, lost connection, restarts, took about more than 20 minutes, cannot connect. Asked to come back another day to make the necessary amendment to get a new IC with all correct details, I hope. Another wasted day, another downtime for nothing. Thiue...
No charge lah in making a new IC as it was their mistake, she said, but we'll call you to make the correction. Most definitely, I was in no smiling mood. The gomen can smile all they want but they still make so many stupid careless mistakes. If they can only pay attention to what they do!!