Let’s start this post by first acknowledging the obvious fact; Kenya’s customer service standard is terrible. Maybe you are in denial because you really haven’t experienced any excellent customer service to make you vilify the Kenyan one. As you read this, you might be shocked at why I’m making such grand sweeping statements without qualifying them. Let me ask you, when was the last time you got really offended because of bad customer service? A waiter who took too long to get back to you or served you a meal that was bad but they didn’t bother to make up for it? When was the last time your flight was delayed for long but the company bent over backwards to ensure that the inconvenience was greatly mitigated?
Or when was the last time a conductor or a driver of a matatu gave you a mint to thank you for being a good employer? I know you are scratching your head so hard to remember the last time you received an exemplary customer service that hooked you to that particular service provider in Kenya. Because the standard customer service levels in the majority of establishments in Kenya are thoroughly pathetic. The few establishments that offer excellent customer service levels are out of the reach of many.
And because a majority of Kenyans use these services, there is need to radically review how well they are treated by the providers. That brings me to one pertinent question, what ails the customer service industry in Kenya? Is hope lost or can we cleanse the foul image it has? Who are the players who are going to ensure that the narrative is changed for better?
At the core of this problem lies two people; the customer and the service provider. While ordinarily the customer is meant to be the king, he has been turned into a toothless helpless dog that can neither bark nor bite? Or is it?
That’s the lie that most consumers have been made to believe. Customers can and should be able to change everything. A customer is a sole person who can fire all employees from the CEO to the cleaner.
In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption of our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider of our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us the opportunity to do so.”
Therefore as a customer, you must begin to look at yourself as the reason why people open their businesses every morning. Demand for money values to the last coin. Because essentially, you are the lubricant that oils any business operation to keep it moving. When you stop spending with a particular company, you are exercising your fundamental right as a consumer and it has far-reaching consequences.
Therefore, I want to urge all Kenyan consumers to rise up. First, let us arm ourselves with information. The consumer Act of 2013 gives extensive rights and privileges to customers and even remedies where they are aggrieved. We must read this piece of legislation so that we don’t live ignorantly. Secondly, take advantage of feedback mechanisms that are set up by the company. Third, review any service on websites that offer review services. E.g Yululate.com does a brilliant job at giving customers a voice to raise their voices objectively. The weapon of last resort should be social media. Write about your experience as objective as possible for your friends to read.
Next time, I will be addressing business owners on how they can ensure that their companies have exemplary customer service.