Customer service in South Africa
Customer service, or the lack thereof, has been a bone of contention for many South Africans for a long time. Unfortunately, it is a known psychological fact that people exposed to an abnormal situation for a long time tend to accept that abnormal situation as the new normal, in time of course. South Africans have become so used to poor customer service that many now do not even expect good customer service. In fact, many people are taken aback when they are served in a professional, knowledgeable and friendly manner. They immediately experience this good customer service as abnormal! The normal situation is poor customer service; we are used to it and we expect it!
Consumers must carry part of the blame for the poor levels of customer service in South Africa. If more consumers simply move their business elsewhere, and inform the business offering poor service of the fact, perhaps more businesses will take steps to offer better service. If enough people refuse to accept poor service from a particular business, the owners or managers may just be jolted into action. It is of no use to fume in silence and to go elsewhere. Take the trouble to speak to the person in charge, to write a letter detailing the poor service or to lodge a formal complaint on consumer feedback sites. Always provide as much detail as possible: the date and time, the name of the employee that provided poor service and details regarding the nature of the poor service.
When complaining about poor customer service, never become insulting or emotional. The best course of action is to remain calm and courteous. This does not mean that you need to meekly accept a rebuff. Insist on feedback and persist in pursuing the matter. If it is necessary, try to escalate your complaint by speaking to next higher person in the hierarchy and if no satisfaction is obtained, move your business elsewhere and tell your friends and family about it.
It is time for South Africans to day no to poor customer service. However, things will only get better if we work together in refusing to accept poor customer service as the norm.