Monthly archives: August 2009

Muslims not allowed to read the Guinness Book of Records

The Malaysian Insider recently reported that Muslims will not be able to attend the Black Eyed Peas concert (direction of Dato Seri Rais Yatim) as this is part of the Guinness Arthur’s day celebrations. This is a guideline which perhaps could have been better thought through. Questions arise such as:-

1) Are they going to have to have a mykad reader to check religion before issuing tickets?

2) Will they also ban the sale of the Guinness Book of World Records to non- Muslims?

3) Should Muslims be banned from purchasing products from LVMH (which is after all a company that sells alcohol)?

Before a decision is made (and announced) it would benefit from some thorough research and thought. That would help avoid such situations where Malaysia is again in the international news for the wrong reasons (recently Malaysia was in the news over the planned caning of the woman who drank beer). This decision is hardly one that will help foster unity or enhance the image of Malaysia as a modern and tolerant Muslim nation.

Voice of tomorrow – KFC viral marketing

Voices of tomorrow

This was an interesting campaign developed for KFC by Anthony Wong. I had the pleasure of meeting him and this is one of the few KFC ads without a single chicken. It is a very emotional ad, positioning KFC as a socially responsible company. This video also went viral, with copies forwarded to schools and individuals.

Checking in (to the hospital)

Recently, my wife had the misfortune of being checked into a hospital. She was referred by our GP and we took her to the A&E section. When checking her in, the hospital asked me which type of room we would like. I was offered a double room (shared with one other occupant) – RM188, single room – RM288, deluxe single room – RM388, executive room – RM488 and the executive suite – RM688. I was already in a rather stressed state. My question of what’s the difference? – got me shown a list of all the furniture in each room. In my stressed state I couldn’t really work out the difference was in rooms with an extra side table or fridge or microwave and took the basic single room.

Possible improvement. A hospital room is a fixed cost to the hospital. What should they do to maximize this revenue? They could take a leaf out of the hotel industry and look at occupancy rates and have variable pricing, i.e. should occupancy be low, they could offer upgrades at lower prices. In this case the lady could’ve informed me that the rate for the single room was RM288 and the deluxe single at RM388 but for this evening, I could upgrade to the deluxe single for RM350. During the entire time I was there the executive suite was empty which is a lost opportunity cost to the hospital. Offering an upgrade to the executive suite for RM490 would have generated incremental revenue to the hospital.

Customer focus – The check in staff should have been trained to look at the room from the point of view of customer benefits. They should’ve sold the room not based on the furniture but ask key questions (see below for egs).

Sample sales pitch

“Do you have a lot of people who will be visiting? Will you need to take a nap there as well? Maybe you should then upgrade to a room with a sofa.”

After the check in we discovered that hospital food was really bad (big epiphany!). Yes, we are not booking into a hotel, but really, the food was not just bad, it was inedible. Given the location of the hospital, it would probably make more sense to close the cafeteria and outsource all the cooking to one of the nearby restaurants. They could hire a motorcycle rider/van and just bring food in whenever necessary. They would have to deal some other issues such as low fat and healthy food and food hygiene during transportation, but that should be easily overcome with the right chef.

Summary

The hospital industry could benefit from the following:-

1. Customer focus – looking at things from the customer point of view from food to rooms.

2. Cross industry learning – taking lessons from hotel and restaurants in terms of processes.