Sandra Idossou writes about how to be a Better Customer
In Rwanda’s vibrant economy today, there is competition almost in every sector and many business owners are putting in much effort to advertise their companies. There are lots of billboards, flyers, brochures, posters, radio advert all around town boasting and praising the benefits of products and services. Lately, I came across this advert that said, “we are the only ones that can offer you such unequal service”.
As I went to try those services, I was so much disappointed with such a huge gap between the promises we get from business owners and the real service offered to us.
As consumers, do we have to keep quiet and “suffer” without saying anything? I think we have a responsibility in today’s nationwide campaign on customer service. Businesses exist because of our patronage and we need to be more demanding by refusing mediocrity.
Whether in a restaurant, a retail shop or in a government institution, we have all experienced a poor customer service and we need to begin thinking more seriously about how we can help organizations rise to meet our demands.
Here below are some tips on what could be our contribution as consumers:
1. Give feedback to the service provider
The only way for business owners to get a true reading of their company’s customer service is to have our feedback not only when we are satisfied but also when we are not. This means complaining when the service is poor.
Our feedback helps business owners to know the things that are not going on well. If you go your bank and have to wait for 2 hours before getting your own money, let it be known to their supervisors or managers.
If you buy products that turn out to be faulty or experience unsatisfactory services you have paid for, do not keep quiet and accept that.
There is actually nothing wrong in complaining so far as we do it professionally by remaining calm and polite.
2. Change your service provider if his service is poor
Customer retention is often measured in repeat purchases and this plays a massive role in driving profits for any business.
If we are not satisfied with the services we get, we should go to another service provider. Thank God today there is competition in Rwanda, and in most cases we have choices.
If we boycott the poor service providers, they will start thinking about improving their services. Why go to a restaurant and pay lots of money for a terrible service and still decide to go back there? Change, because there are many other restaurants in town.
We really have to know that we are kings and queens that business owners should treat as such. I particularly like this quotation, “There is only one boss.”
The customer, according to Sam Walton can fire everybody in the company from the chairman down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.”
3. Respect the service people
It is not because the staffs we meet are serving us that they are inferior to us. It is their job and we need to give them a minimum of consideration. If they do not greet us, nothing prevents us from greeting them.
Note that the service person’s attitudes frequently reflect that of the customer. If you show them respect, they will equally show you respect.
Do not underestimate, devalue, look down upon them, hail or yell at them as if they were your house boys (even though you need to show some minimum of respect to the people who watch over you, your house, your food, your children so that you can have the peace of mind that allows you to be productive in your job)
I know of Consumers Associations in other countries that protect and educate consumers by helping them know their rights. Until such associations come up in Rwanda, let’s try and put these tips into action and we will be surprised of the results.