Customers Wants Service to be Bad

The day tour from Guilin to Yangshuo was by no means a pleasant trip. I don’t like the boat – with 100 people packed into the lower deck, and the bus picked us from the hotel to the pier turned out to be a tourist group, which means we were pushed into the sourviner market before we get on board the boat.

Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang. The boat – obviously, it is another boat, but ours is similar.

Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang. The lower deck of the boat

Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang.

People smokes, and the free lunch is terrible. BTW, we didn’t expect it to be good when we got on board. Wendy and I had the same comments as we had in Xi’an many years ago: “Why they cannot make it service, the environment or both a little bit better?”

Before I seek for the answer, let me get a little bit off topic and talk about another similar phenomenon.

The Annoying TV Commercial

On TV, we sometimes see really annoying TV commercials, like those by Naobaijin 脑白金. Everybody hates the simple, ugly and silly commercial, but it is still on almost all TV station, just as it appeared 10 years ago. Meanwhile, the TV commerical also boasted the sales of the product like crazy.

Many experts request to ban the commercial, but all in vail. They are pointing figures to Naobaijin about the annoying TV Commercial.

Well. I think the other way. I believe they have been using it for 10 years, and the company is a huge success in China, that means the commercial has been very effective. Many different versions have been tested, and this version was proved by sales to be the most effective version.

If that is the case, it is the audience who are not maturely enough. We need to build a mature consumer base before we ask advertisers to change. I am very sure that if the audience grow more mature, the commercial will.

The Service is Bad Just Because Customers Wanted

It is the same. I am not happy, just because I am still not the mainstream tourists. Maybe I should still go to Sanya, not popular points of interest, like a boat on Lijiang in Guilin. The service level the boat provides must have been adjusted to the need. It takes time.

Now, Shanghai has better public transportation system than 10 years ago. It is not only the improvement of the public transportation companies, it is also the improvement of the riders that made the change. Think about the ticket price – from several cents to 2 RMB (1 RMB bus still remains relatively lower service level). If customers are willing to pay more, the service surely will improve.

The point gets back to the choice: Better service v.s. Higher Price. If the majority of people choose the later, the service quality surely will improve, but, it takes so long time, especially tourist industry. It needs the whole country to get richer, and richer…

I enjoyed the cruise in Sydney, and I liked the bus tour of Great Ocean Road in Australia – but think about the price we paid – much much higher than the cruise today.

So, I just want to stop complain and get back to the basics of understanding: It is not a service level problem. It is just an economic problem. When people get richer, most problems are solved.

P.S. Ironically, most of the people on the boat liked the trip. I chatted with someone, and he said the highlight of the trip was the sourviner market… See? Customers shapes the service, and I am just not a “typical” customer, and you, my readers, maybe are not, either.

8 thoughts on “Customers Wants Service to be Bad

  1. Very interesting!

    Saw a Taiwanese news this morning and people there are shocked at the propensity of spending of the tourists from mainland China, each visitor is estimated to spend RMB20-30,000 on top of the tour and tens of thousand are expected to arrive every week. Their dinners are usually US$500 per 10 persons/table. Not surprisingly, the tour operators in Taiwan are scramble to buy new double decker bus and boat complete with panorama and sky deck.

    Are these the same tourists who were visiting Guilin?

  2. Not everything that is well serviced or maintained should necessarily be highly priced. For example if it’s a public transport,maintained fully or partially by the government it should be reasonably control on the pricing. Especially when they are monopolying the business. After all, didn’t you all pay for income tax and other taxes ?

  3. Very interesting observation. Business people are smart. They provide products and services that the customers want and willing to pay for. Most of the case, cost and quality are in tight correlation. Maybe we should think twice before demanding lower medical expanses, public transportation fares, train tickets, utility bills, food price, … and lots of other things that we want the government to reduce price with regulation.

  4. I don not like high price, but I think there need different level services, maybe poor people think current service is good. If we need better service, we can choose higher price and perhaps better. In China, rich men and poor men are all in large amount.

    BTW, I not only hate Naobaijin’s TV commercials, but also contains Hengyuanxiang 恒源祥, it is more annoying.

  5. I don’t know weather I said this before or not. There are a lot of goods, made in China and sold at very high price in China. However, the same goods sold at our country is so much cheaper. I pity the Chinese as they are mostly of poor quality !

  6. Talking about 脑白金 commerical and its business success, it puzzulled me in the past, but I guess it (the commerical and the perception) meet people’s psychological need very well: gift giving to (caring for) the older people.

    Maybe we can come up with some alternative products which are real useful/helpful? I will leave the marketing (psychology) portion to you, Jianshuo :-)

  7. I read some articles, actually I don’t think it’s good. and I wonder why your blog is so popular…How strange…hehe… but anyway I like the style of your life,travling the places where you like…

    well, I hope you don’t mind it what I made the comments about your blog. hope you happy everyday…

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