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Raj Wadhwani 🍁 - Blog Page 12

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Gordon Ramsay's T5 Heathrow - a Kitchen Nightmare?

I love Kitchen Nightmares so when I was at T5 at Heathrow Airport and had some time, thought i'd pay a visit to Gordon Ramsay's 'Plane Food' restaurant. WOW - food was great - portions little small, but quality was excellent. Have to say service was very poor though. Our waiter did not offer us any of the daily specials (when we were paying our bill the waitress at the next table reeled them off and they sounded great - we missed out!). And the waiter did not know the weight of the steaks - he guessed and got it wrong!. Then took ages to get the bill and when it arrived there was a cover charge on top of a 60 GBP bill for 2 for lunch - when I asked one of the staff why a cover charge (not seen one for years and never on a decent bill), I got a very poor response - something about 'cleaning linens' and 'bread rolls' - he seemed very uneasy with the question and I certainly did not appreciate paying for clean linens - that should be a given! So, message to Gordie, food is great but mingy portions mate. Service is right out of one of your TV programs - "come on bleep bleep bleep" !!!



Publish Date: July 28, 2011 10:36 PM

British Airways - service on the decline?

I must write about my recent experiences with BA flying from Toronto to London, then on
to Singapore and back.

I booked business class and expected business class service. You can read what I thought
of the service!

First, the flight over to London. This was on a 747 and I chose the upper deck. Sharon’s seat had no inflight entertainment and my seat kept on adjusting itself without any interference from myself – I would slowly sink down and a few times the flight attendants came just before takeoff and told me to keep my seat upright! Wasn’t my fault! I had the sinking feeling (sorry for the pun) that this was going to be an eventful flight. The seat problem occurred all through the trip – in the end the attendant gave up when we were due to land – hopefully he “snagged” it in the log (jargon for a problem that needs fixing). 4/10 

Then,  on to cabin service when I was asked what I would like from the menu, I was told “sorry, we have run out” The flight attendant explained that for 16 passengers they only had 3 of the items I wanted – how poor is that? The second option tasted like beef jerky and I left
it. 2/10

Flight attendants – they were great but I felt they were helpless – 8/10 overall

Next, trip to Singapore on BA. Another night flight, my final destination was Brisbane but
BA only took us as far as Singapore then we had to change to Qantas. The check in agent was amazingly good at heathrow – awesome in fact and very patient – we had loads of cases with us. 10/10

The flight over was good – better than first, however do they train flight attendants to literally ‘stomp’ down the aisle when passengers are trying t sleep? Seemed like it – give them slippers and teach them to walk slowly and without stomping – helps us passengers sleep better. 7/10

Flight back to London.  Again, on the upper deck. Was an overnight flight so went for some zzz’s as soon as we got on the plane and missed the meal thinking I could grab some later if needed. Good flight, but at 3am when I woke to grab a snack, was disappointed by the kitchen selection. 7/10

Flight back to Toronto. Upper deck again. Boarding was chaotic – at one point there were 10 staff members waiting to check boarding passes and no one making sure the queues were organized. Then we had two muppets (ask me to explain that one if you don’t know) at the front of the business class queue ignoring the fact we could board and holding up the line. Got on finally and settled in. We were passed the menus etc and saw it was the same menu as the one on the outward bound journey from Toronto a few weeks earlier. Said to Sharon, hope we get the items we want this time! What do you know, nope, I was out of luck! Only 4 for the whole upper deck and 16 total for 52 total business class passengers so I missed out again! The attendant suggested I make a report – glad to!

And what about the amenity packs? Basic – BA execs should fly on some of the other carriers to see what they do – need to know your competition! If you don’t, you will continue to provide second rate service to customers who pay top dollar and soon you will lose that customer to another airline!

Then, when we went to pick up our bags, one was open and spilling stuff onto the baggage
conveyor belt. The case had been damaged and the zip broken – was a new case I purchased in Singapore this January and it was not useless. We collected the rest of the luggage and had to wait for a BA staff member at Toronto to explain what happened. Their comment was that because it’s a zip there is nothing they can do – suggested customer relations! How convenient!

Overall, I am not impressed with BA. It’s not that I don’t like the company – I have
friends who work for them in the US Contact Center  - that’s why I am writing this, because BA used to be great and its slipping fast – come up guys, pull your socks up! I met one of the contact center managers from Emirates at our June conference in London – maybe will try them again – last time I flew with them they were great. I have over 200k miles with BA and am Silver One World member – not sure if that counts for anything, probably not – we will see!

Publish Date: July 28, 2011 9:21 PM

Australian Airports - Silly or what?!

As a seasoned traveller I don't mind security - its all good, however I must comment on the security at Brisbane! I got to the check in desk and all was great - Qantas staff were helpful etc as expected. Then went to security and had my bag of liquids in my hand and was stopped - one of the security guards wanted to weigh my carry on. He said i had too much (10kg) - limit is 7kg. I explained we had some equipment and was it a problem? he eventually let me go after he found out i was in business class. Now, what is the point of all this? past security is the duty free - i could have easily purchased a new case and filled it with 7 or 20kg of stuff! why do we have all this hassle? come on guys, if weight is such an issue weigh stuff after duty free and see what happens, yeah bet the sales will go down and so will revenue! The whole things does not make sense! wise up please and consider the customer keeps you employed!

Publish Date: July 24, 2011 10:51 PM

2011 Best In APAC

WOW - what a fantastic week - i was honored to have spent so much time with the best in Asia Pacific - here is a link to the article

Publish Date: July 24, 2011 6:44 AM

Poor service from Rackspace - My mistake for using the chat tool!!

I had a problem with a hosted solution and wanted some help so clicked on the 'chat with us box' under 'help 24 hours a day' ...

this is what happened (I omited a couple of bits before but you will get the gist of whats going on)

Welcome to Rackspace. How can I assist you?
You have been connected to John.
Customer:  hi - you have locked me out of my account - help
Customer:  account Id
Customer:  my email is XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Customer:  i just changed my pw
Customer:  and got locked out
John:  this is actually a new sales chat
John:  it would be best to call our support line and ask to speak to your support team, they will be able to better assist you
Customer:  it says on your website start a chat - is there no one there i can chat with?
Customer:  or can you have somone email me with what to do?
John:  yes but this is a new sales chat
John:  unfortunately not, you would have to call and speak to support
Customer:  sorry john, does not say that on the chat tool
Customer:  frustrating!
Customer:  you should say chat to sales or call support!!
Customer:  not very helpful
Customer:  i will call them in the am - its late here and dont want to wake the family!!
John:  no problem have a good night
Thank you for visiting Rackspace. You may now close this window.
Your session has ended. You may now close this window.
John ended the session - was quick to kick me off!

rackspace - I am not impressed with your service!

Publish Date: June 5, 2011 11:02 PM

Crazy Process = Lots of frustration!

I have to tell you about this crazy situation - I was sent a voucher by Qantas (Australian airline) because they failed to deliver services earlier this year that I had paid for. First they sent me the wrong voucher amount and when i questioned this they told me they had been told it was X - I said it was more and they disputed this. I offered to send them a letter I had received and first they said no. They came back to me and asked me for it! seems communication is a problem at Qantas. Then I went to use the voucher - it has a unique number which I could only use on a phone reservation (probably got charged for the phone booking!) and then I was told I had to send the voucher back to LA where it was issued before I could get my ticket issued! How crazy is that? what a waste of resources - Qantas needs to get their act sorted out - service really sucks and if they are not making any, or much money, they should look at their business practices especially communication internally and how they manage service issues with vouchers. Anyone else had any issues with any companies where processes are ridiculous? tell me please!

Publish Date: May 5, 2011 5:00 PM

Chess Kings

Its a funny old world! My mum just called me to tell me that I was in the paper!

The headline was 'Do You Remember: The Chess Kings?

Back when I was 10 (thats a long time ago now - look even the photo has faded! LOL) I used to play chess and was pretty good - went on to represent my county and won several tournaments. Didn't keep it up though but very grateful to my late father, and mother who both encouraged me - I learnt a lot playing chess and today one of my sports of choice is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu - another very tactical activity but also very physical unlike chess - only time chess got physical is when your opponent knocked over their king to resign!


That's me on the left playing Andy Ginn who went on to become a Vice Principal of a college. Had a dodgy hair cut in those days!

The paper came out 21st April 2011.

Thanks mum :)

- I know she is still proud and happy to see me making news a couple of years on. 

Publish Date: April 25, 2011 1:00 PM

Sears/Chase Card Services

Have to write I am NOT a huge fan of Sears/Chase - the way they run their business leaves me speechless at times. Last weekend I went to purchase some new home appliances - I had previously cleared my account down because I was so frustrated with their billing practices and way they seem to avoid the interest free programs they promote to customers.

Anyway, the new purchases took me above my limit and the sale person in Sears called for authorization. I was shocked that in a busy store right by the checkouts I was asked to divulge over the phone my annual income, date of birth and even mortgage details - so much for confidential information - no wonder identity theft is on the rise - would have been very easy for Chase to ask me to input information into the telephone keypad when promoted - all the data I had to divulge were numbers. It was absurd that anyone in earshot now knows all this info about me even though I tried to be discreet.

Credit companies need to take more responsibility for client confidentiality - this was ridiculous Sears/Chase.  

Note - I find the sales people who work in store very accomodating - just dislike the finance arm and had I been able to find the same or close deal elsewhere I would not have shopped at Sears

Publish Date: April 19, 2011 10:24 PM

About Sony Again!

I find it frustrating that some of the best known brands suck at service. Following on from my blog below I received an email today to say my order (which i referenced below as confirmed cancelled) was shipped and my card debited! How crazy is that? I get an email last week from Sony to say my order has been cancelled and today one to say its been sent! Come on Sony, another wasted hour trying to sort this out - perhaps I should send you an invoice for my time!

Publish Date: April 11, 2011 4:30 PM

Sony - Great Products but Sub Standard Service


I have been a huge Sony fan for decades but have to say, the overall service I receive is, and has been for years sub standard. Recently I tried to get my laptop serviced in Orlando whilst on a business trip - went out of my way to see their backstage team only to find it was closed for lunch! I came across web pages with errors when browsing to buy some new laptops and told Sony - they told me they were testing. I was surprised a corporation like Sony tests pages live.

Yesterday I wanted to cancel an online order and was frustrated - the only way to cancel is to call - there is no email address or form and i had problems getting through to the contact center. Eventually I did reach an agent who was pleasant and helped me. After the call I was taken to complete a survey - I thought the questions were inappropriate for my call type and am curious how they use this data.

Anyway, Sony - I still buy your laptops - just purchased 3 new ones - but your service is poor. Take a look at how Apple service customers - they too have great products and amazing service!

Only time I ever experienced great service was with the PlayStation Group - they are brilliant (I used to train some of them in Europe so I know how great they are)

Publish Date: April 8, 2011 9:30 AM

Selling Insurance Plans - Some Advice For Script Writers

It's 6:50pm here and I just took a call from a company working on behalf of AMEX. I don't mind taking sales calls but when the agent has to reel off a long winded speech, not pausing even to take a breath for what seemed like 2 minutes, I had forgotten what benefits she had quoted - there were so many thrown down the line at me and not once was there any effort to fact find.

Credit where credit is due to the agent - she sounded friendly but what happened to common courtesy? she did not even ask if I had a few minutes to talk - just assumed that this was so important I had to listen to her ramble. She sounded out of breath and it was obvious that this was the script from, well you know.

So script writers out there, here are a few pointers if you are interested:

1. Ask the person you are calling if they are free to talk - a 'no' is not a go away, but an opportunity to schedule a time to call again.

2. When you have a product to introduce, ask a question or two first then tailor your solution to the customers needs - just throwing out information and lots of it, is a waste of time.
Open questions are good. And if AMEX were as smart as I thought they were, then they would have noticed I travel a lot from my expenses so mentioning things that are relevant would get me more interested.

3. Give the sales agent more tools - was good that the agent could direct me to a website for more info (I had to push for a way to compare before just signing up), but would be better if they asked if they could email me or mail me a pack then follow-up. I mentioned to the agent when she gave me the link that I reach the same page by going to - she didn’t acknowledge this first time as she was in her set piece mode, so I stated it again - the scriptwriters should know this sort of stuff to make it easier for the agents

4. And please, its never good to ask 'How are you?' when you talk to a brand new prospect - imagine how bad the call would go if I responded "terrible - just lost my job"" or "my cat just died" or "not well" etc - one of the worst things you can do and totally smacks of a 'sales' call

anyway, just a few pointers!


Publish Date: March 23, 2011 7:07 PM

Verizon Customer Service

I have a MiFi and had to call customer services. Have to write I was very impressed with their service - the agent was fast, efficient, friendly. He even recommended switching me to a lower cost MiFi package without any other commitment - impressive. Well done Verizon.  

Publish Date: March 6, 2011 9:23 PM

Free white paper - Inside CRM

I am on a list from Inside CRM and saw an interesting invitation to read a paper titled Top 12 Web Conferencing Vendors Face Off. As I am reviewing options I thought I’d take a look and filled in the online form. Firstly, the system rejected me because i did not have a US Post code so I put in 90210 (Beverley Hills) to get round this - always a good one (from TV show 90210 for those who don't know). Anyway, managed to get to the download link and selected the paper I wanted. It opened up.

I was sadly disappointed!! - the paper is almost 2 years old - dated at the very top 'April 2009'! its Feb 2011 and the comments about the technologies from the different vendors is pretty much useless - they have all been developing their solutions and I thought this was a complete waste of my time - why Inside CRM even sent out this email with an old technical paper beats me! Never mind. Will continue my own research.

Just an interesting thing so thought I’d share it :)

Publish Date: February 18, 2011 9:08 AM

Air Canada

Back in December  I received great news – I was now a Prestige Elite member with additional perks such as extra baggage allowance and preferred seat selection. So in February when I checked in online for a flight from Toronto to Thunder Bay I was surprised that the online system was charging me for a second bag - should be free with my new status.

Anyway, as I had to check in online, I paid this and thought I could find out at the airport when I dropped off my bags what the deal was. I had 3 bags. When I got to Toronto Pearson I went to ask for some help. I was advised to talk to one of the agents at the Elite Status check-in area and I approached the desk with a smile and started to explain our situation. The check in agent looked stern and disinterested as if I was not worthy to talk to her. She had a name badge but it was blank so I shall call her Penny (like the stewardess on Come Fly with Me – British comedy show and very true!).

Anyway, Penny looked miserable and uninterested and asked to see my boarding pass. She said I did not have elite status showing on my pass so I asked her to check on her system. She then said ‘Oh yes, the system should have recognised your status but it did not’ She handed me back my boarding pass and I said “so what does that mean with baggage?” She looked at me and said “Allowances have recently changed and I don’t know” She did not say anything after this. I responded with some degree of frustration now as she was not being helpful at all “So, you are the check in agent and you don’t know what our allowance is? Aren’t you supposed to know?” She looked at me with resentment then started tapping into her system and replied “I will check”. ‘Two bags”. I explained that the system had charged me for the second bag and she then turned around and gave me a slip of paper and said nothing. I said “what’s this?” She replied “it’s customer service – you have to see if they will give you your money back”

Wow, have to say Penny did nothing to promote my interest in flying Air Canada – she was probably one of the most unhelpful people I have met at a check-in desk.

Note to Penny – smile, be helpful and treat people the way you want to be treated and your day will be happier and more pleasant.

Note to Air Canada – you should be asking customers for feedback on their check-in experience - in fact their entire experience and fix your systems – its been 2 months since I was told I have an upgraded status and yet your check-in system did not show this. For a major airline this is not acceptable.

By the way a great tool for customer satisfaction is

We received a call from Air Canada who apologised for the problems and arranged a refund of fees we should not have paid. Great work Air Canada - you dealt with the situation and made good.

Publish Date: February 10, 2011 2:45 PM

Yapi Kredi Bank – Turkey

 Big thanks to Serpil, Asli and all the great staff who took time to show us round their center 1 hours south east of Istanbul. It’s a brand new center – only 2 months young – and was great to see all the facilities for staff. Like some others I have visited there are some interesting things I will be sharing with you all shortly.

Publish Date: February 9, 2011 5:29 PM

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