Text of speech by Tan Sri (Dr) Francis Yeoh, CBE
Good evening respected members of the media, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for taking the time to join us here at the YTL Platinum Plus Lounge @ Starhill Gallery to celebrate the official launch of the YTL Platinum Plus Card.
On this happy occasion, it gives me great pleasure to introduce you to a new effort that we hope will be a beacon in service and hospitality.
It has been said "Make Service your first priority, not Success … and success will follow". Now with YTL Platinum Plus, we want to put this adage to the test by making service our priority in the hope that success too will soon follow.
YTL Platinum Plus is therefore, not just a Card to us, but an Icon of Service that serves to constantly remind us of our priorities. With YTL Platinum Plus, cardmembers can look forward to enjoy the unique privilege of "World Class Service Performance At Your Command!"
Today, we have many respectable icons that are the legacies of style and fashion, design, music and the arts. So why not an Icon of Service - which I believe is timely, and necessary. After all, as Woodrow Wilson, a deeply religious and successful statesman, puts it:
"There is no higher religion than human service.
To work for the common good is the greatest creed."
Human service is indeed for the common good. But personally, from my own experiences of having travelled far and wide over all these years; having wined and dined at the finest restaurants; and sojourned at renowned hotels around the world – I have found human service to be lacking, and disappointing.
Even in First Class, no one really takes the effort to remember your acquired tastes or preferences. Or simply because the system and processes even in World Class Airlines are just not in place to acknowledge you as a customer – with simple attention to details like your name, the number of times and the last occasion you flew with them. Much less your favourite seat by the window, or your favourite wine and beverage!
Why is that so?
After all, First Class privilege should warrant First Class service, and remembering a customer's favourite seat or wine, or whether he is a vegetarian is surely not too much to expect from a customer who has paid a premium for that experience. But my experience, disappointingly, is that of the contrary.
If First Class which is supposed to be the epitome of human service is so lacking, then I would imagine that customers in Economy would simply be reduced to facelessness, or worse a sales target or a commodity like an Air Ticket unit sale or a Boarding Pass number!
Hence, I am inclined to conclude that "service" is today over promised and under delivered; over advertised and under achieved.
Last year, in Malaysia alone, according to a report by AC Nielsen, 2005 – a total of RM145 million was spent in advertising for the service and hospitality industry, vis-à-vis restaurants (at RM20 million), hotels and resorts or accommodation (at RM30 million), shopping malls and departmental stores (at RM50 million) and airlines (at RM45 million). So much has been spent on advertising but the reality of that expenditure has yet to be seen, or more importantly experienced, with human service that works for the common good.
How often times have you walked into a restaurant where you are immediately made to feel welcome and appreciated, immediately escorted to your favourite table by the window where your favourite wine is there all chilled and ready for you?
Now, that is the challenge of YTL Platinum Plus, encapsulated in a tagline that promises:
World Class Service Performance At Your Command!
YTL Platinum Plus therefore represents a challenge for the YTL Group to introduce a new dimension of world class service excellence in Malaysia that can stand up to the world's highest standards of performance. Now this may sound a daunting task, but in the words of Noela Evans, an inspirational writer, we do find our determination, for she says:
"Challenge is a dragon with a gift in its mouth.
Tame the dragon and the gift is yours."
For YTL Platinum Plus, we want that gift to be World Class Service Performance and Privileges for all our cardmembers, And to secure that gift, we too have in place our own humble team of "dragon tamers" – also known as our YTL Platinum Plus Recognition Managers. They are a specially selected and assigned team who has undergone specialised training at the Ritz-Carlton training programme, reputed to be the finest in the country. And they will be the custodians of our World Class Service Performance.
As a sign of distinctive service, a plush Platinum Plus Welcome Carpet will be placed at each and every one of our establishments, so every time a cardmember like you stands on it – our YTL Platinum Plus Recognition Manager will immediately greet and address you by name, and enquire if your last visit here on a particular date was a pleasurable experience. Subsequently, you will be escorted to your favourite table at your favourite corner, where your usual glass of wine or beverage awaits you.
Now that is what I would personally expect of good service, which I hope you too would appreciate with YTL Platinum Plus. Especially in times like ours. In an increasingly faceless society caught up in an increasingly stressful and frenetic pace, these are the little joys of life we hope we can bring to all whom we have the privilege to serve.
If "to serve" is a privilege, then it shouldn't be so daunting a task to "tame the dragon" to get the "gift". What it does take, though, is a fair amount of passion even in the little things we do, and I for one have always maintained that "a man is only as rich as his passion to serve others with joy."
And with joy, we are proud to bring you – for the first time – a host of unique and exciting privileges with YTL Platinum Plus.
These include Exclusive Brand Offers by some of the world's most prestigious and iconic brand names through our strong business partnerships.
Priority Reservations at the finest restaurants, multi award-winning hotels and resorts, and the privilege of executive room upgrades whenever possible.
Private Viewing & Special Events for the latest trend-setting ideas and iconic creations by world-renowned brands and exclusive property launches.
An exclusive YTL Platinum Plus Lounge on Relish floor at Starhill Gallery is also available to all members where YTL Platinum Plus Ambassadors will welcome and assist you in all matters pertaining to your membership over a complimentary, refreshing cup of coffee or tea. For your convenience, our YTL Platinum Plus Card & Call Service Centre is already in full operation to manage all your reservations and enquiries.
Other unique privileges are Elite Invitations to world-class concerts, operas, and performances of the arts and culture. Special Rewards and gifts of redemption from fine wining and dining to luxurious accommodation, including private helicopter tours and yacht cruises to complimentary holiday destinations.
All these are the little joys of human service which we humbly hope can enrich our experiences of life with a legacy that affirms "service is not an action performed, but a passion expressed" with YTL Platinum Plus for World Class Service Performance At Your Command!
I pray that our Lord Jesus will bless this endeavour and God bless all of you.
Text of speech by Tan Sri (Dr) Francis Yeoh, CBE
at the Press Conference announcing
YTL Platinum Plus
on 29 August 2006, 6.30pm
at YTL Platinum Plus Lounge, Starhill Gallery, Kuala Lumpur