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Friday, 6 September 2013

Customer Service in Zimbabwe

I had quite an interesting incident happen last week. I have been quite busy and hadn't had time to go to the bank in quite a bit. Now since I am a priority banker (let's call it that for if I say the actual name they give to priority bankers then you will know which bank it is), I had to drive a few kilometres outside the CBD where I work just to get to the bank. Like I said before, I hadn't been to the bank for a bit so I had not a cent to my name (actually, I had $3 to be exact) and my car was very low on fuel. I also had to get a sizable amount of cash as I couldn't do any online transactions due to the fact that this particular bank's online services have been down for quite sometime. Imagine my shock and horror when I get to the teller, confidently pass my debit card to her and get told "Oh, hatina cash" (We don't have cash). I actually did a little laugh because I honestly thought she was joking. No cash? NO CASH?? She went on to tell me that people were holding on to cash because there were fears of the Zim Dollar coming back blah blah blah. As far as I am concerned, this is NOT a good enough reason for a branch set aside for priority bankers not to have cash. I don't mean to sound like a snob or anything but surely they should be able to bend over backwards to make sure they do not inconvenience their allegedly high net worth customers. Apparently, all the two tellers had between them was $190. I ended up taking $100 because I really had to fuel my car. I then went to two of the said bank's ATMs and guess what? Nothing. One can imagine my frustration at this point. I was practically pulling out my hair! I decided to use my Mastercard at one of the Barclays ATMs. I got the full amount I wanted in crisp, brand new sequential notes. Sweet. The bank charges for using my Mastercard however, were not so sweet!

I was still rather peeved by the whole incident the next morning and so posted something about my frustrations with this bank on my personal Facebook page. I also tagged the bank in question in my post, hoping to get some sort of reaction from them. A discussion then started on my wall about which was the better bank for me to move to. I did get a reaction from my bank but not quite what I was hoping for. The call was from one of the higher echelons of the bank. For the first few seconds of the conversation I was like, oh cool, at least they are apologising for the inconvenience. Then suddenly it kind of shifted to it wasn't really necessary for me to tarnish the image of the bank like that on such a public forum and there was even a suggestion I remove my post. Really? REALLY? To be honest, I actually did feel bad for sometime. Maybe I had taken it too far I thought, maybe it really wasn't necessary to do what I had done.I almost deleted the post too. But then I thought no. I will not take it down and I sure as hell am not the one tarnishing the image of your bank. You are doing that all by yourself by providing substandard service. Period. Zimbabweans are so used to bad service that if anyone dares complain, they are somehow made out to be the bad guy.

There are so many, so many examples of terrible service in this country. Recently I called our national airline just to find out what days and times they had an evening flight to Joburg from Harare. I still don't know because I was told to hold on like a million times and more often that not the line went dead while I was still holding. So I had to go back to British Airways even though I wanted to support our national airline.

Then today my workmate found a roach in her pizza. Of course as the self proclaimed "customer service popo" I immediately took the below pic and posted it on the Facebook page. I am pleased to say the Operations Manager for this pizza chain was very professional, called, apologised and offered some recompense. I'd like to believe heads will roll at the pizza outlet and such occurances will be avoided in the future. None of this "you are tarnishing the company's image by posting your issues on Facebook". 

New roach flavoured pizza topping

I absolutely love and adore my country and am a greater supporter of the whole "buy Zimbabwean" concept. However, we still have a long way to go as far as putting the customer first is concerned. Businesses and individuals need to realise and accept that it is a customer's RIGHT to complain about poor/unfair service. It is not overracting. It is not a personal vendetta. It is not attention seeking. As a customer, I am PAYING you for a product or service therefore it is my RIGHT to get what I deem a great product/service. If I don't get what I want, I can make as much noise as I want until you get your house in order. 

Let us strive to make our customer's experiences as pleasant and pain free as possible. After all, a happy customer is a repeat customer and I honestly don't know which business would not want that!