Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Why Do I Have to Beg for Service When I am Paying?

A few weeks ago I went to my usual barbershop to have a haircut and a shave. This in my opinion is one the best barbershops I have been to. However, on this particular day I walked into the shop and sat on the chair to have the shave. For some reason none of the barber men came to attend to me. One was relaxing outside, the other was playing music and the others should have been talking about something.  Initially I thought they did not see me or I had become invisible so I asked one of the barber men who was attending to someone if they were cutting hair that day. He responded by calling out to one of them, “Guys kuli customer!” They seemed to ignore his shout. I waited for like another five minutes and walked out in protest and disgusted at the customer service really.

I have noticed that in Zambia there is a trend of lacklustre customer service whether it is in the barbershop or bus, the grocery store or restaurant. It appears that we really have to beg just to be served forgetting the fact that we are actually paying for the service. I have occasionally gone to a restaurant where the waiter takes their sweet time to get your order, the cashier in a grocery store is on the phone before finally punching your purchase and the bank teller is gossiping with the neighbour before attending to you. Now in my opinion this is absolutely pathetic in whatever language and it should not be accepted.

Initially I used to believe that maybe that is the best our customer service can do. However, in my few travels abroad the customer service I have received, Zambia embarrassingly pales in comparison. A customer is valued and when you are served you are not forced to leave a tip but you actually want to leave the tip. I have been to restaurants where the waiters are always close by to ensure that all your needs are catered to, they ask how the food is if you need anything else. I have been to lodges where the staff are friendly and are ever helpful with all your needs from calling the cab for you to ensuring that you have a fantastic stay. If I say the food was not well cooked they take if back and give me a fresh plate with tons of apologies as if their life depended on it.

I have come to the conclusion that the reason that the customer service is so pathetic is because we allow it. We do not demand it. If we are going to be paying for a service we ought to demand that we get the best service that is value for our money. Unless it is a free service then we cannot complain much. However, in a case where we are parting away with our hard earned cash it is important that we demand good if not excellent customer service. It has been too much of this notion that if you speak up then you are rude. I am now learning to forget the passiveness and demand quality customer service, it is time you demand it too. As a result of my protest walk out, when I returned to the barbershop, I must say I was served promptly.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Dear Mr. President

Let me begin by joining the chorus of congratulatory messages you are already receiving. I am sure you have amassed a pile of them, I am sure one more won’t make a difference. So here goes “Many congratulations to his Excellency President Michael Chilufya Sata.” Now that we have gotten that out of the way, I can now move on to more important issues, my expectations.
Indeed I have a lot of expectations from this new government, even though they are too many to write here, I will write some of my most important. First on my list of expectation is MONEY! MONEY! MONEY! I am not ambitious asking for a sack of money to be delivered by my place in the next 60 days or so. All I am asking for is that I pay less PAYE than I am currently paying. I think that the zero-tax band should be increased from the current K1, 000, 000 to maybe K2, 500, 000. That way it would definitely put more money in my pockets. So I am hoping that you will grant me this wish.
My next wish Mr. President, please do something about the street vendors in the street. Each time I am supposed to go into town I dread the thought. It is such a hussle to move in the streets as the roads have been turned into Bend-Down Boutiques (Salaula). I always have to move at an angle to avoid bumping into someone’s merchandise. Kindly build more markets and let these people move there. Make sure that the markets are near to the town centre so that they can be easily accessible. It is the only way that the excuse that vendors are following the customers will not be used.
Please Mr. President do something about this Zambian Time that is slowly crippling this nation. It is unfair for someone to go places like the passport office on time and yet the doors rarely open on time. However, when it is time to go for lunch they are so quick to leave. We would request that the government officials lead by example by being on time for meetings. It is what we call leading by example.
My other wish is that let ZNBC look into its programming. It is painful to watch ZNBC these days. The only time I ever watch is if I need assistance to sleep and I do not have my sleeping pill. Indeed some decent programming can be televised even if the shows were made in the 1990s they are still far more interesting than what is currently shown. Right now there are just too many discussions programmes and very little entertainment. I am desperately hoping that you will have a word with the people at ZNBC.
As a budding youth entrepreneur I am hoping to receive some of the incentives that foreign investors are getting i.e. tax holidays. My main concern is the amount of tax that is paid on imported goods. The duty on some of the goods is just too high; therefore I propose that the threshold should be increased K10, 000, 000 if it is not too much to ask. Then try your best to lower the exchange rate against the dollar. The K4, 900 to USD 1 is really killing us eish.  I wish for the days when it is K3500 this amount would make things cheaper for some of us.
We for now that is all Mr. President, should I think of more things I will drop you a line.
Yours faithfully,
Frustrated Brotha