Shape Up, or Ship Out 22 Seconds Ago [opinion]

SERVICE in Namibia seems to be one of those elusive experiences. Either you get it inconsistently or you don’t. The sad thing is that often we find ourselves in a situation where we just accept poor service and attribute it to being in Africa. Honestly now, how many times have you told yourself or your friends that you just have to accept it because … this is Africa? Well, if we continue to blame it on being in Africa we have indeed not taken one step forward towards Africa, and definitely Namibia, meeting the competitive standards of the rest of the world. By accepting poor service, we make it okay for service providers to continue giving us poor service!

I started my career in marketing at a local four-star hotel and one of the first things I was taught was that the customer is king. Indeed, there is no better training ground for people in the service industry than in hospitality. The service you provide your guests is of utmost importance. And that was the second thing I learned – that you treat each and every person walking through your door as if they were a guest in your own house – with respect and dignity. How they look, how much they earn and what car they drive does not matter. What matters is the fact that they deserve the best experience ever, urging them to part ways with their hard earned cash.

Over the past week alone I had some hair-raising experiences with various service providers, from telecommunications to restaurants, which made me wonder why I even bothered to pay so much for a bad experience. Employers and employees at these service providers seemed to forget that people talk and that word-of-mouth can either be your best or ultimately worst publicity.

Companies should not just aim at training staff in the basics of customer service, but also how to handle conflict. By all means, teach employees to smile when they greet the customer, but also teach them not to engage in arguments with any consumer, no matter how wrong that consumer may be. Teach your employees that they are all the face of your company and that they represent your business and ultimately the success of it. Teach them responsibility, accountability and ownership. If your employees fail, your business fails. The businesses that have great success rates are the ones that consistently provide great experiences and services.

Victoria Forbes is a brand manager with a local management company and started her marketing career at a local four-star hotel. The views expressed are her own.

Source : New Era