It always amazes me that Jamaicans are seen as such warm people yet that is far from the experience when trying to conduct business here. Is it that we only provide quality service in the tourism sector? Do we think that the money spent by locals does not qualify them for good service? Are locals not paying the set price? Is customer service even a factor seriously considered and monitored?
Banking, telecommunications, medicine, utilities, insurance and all government services are rabid with poor service. Customers often leave the experience feeling persecuted for spending their money. Sectors that have monopolies or very few options are the main culprits. It also seems like when there are options all the businesses have conspired to see who can offer the worst service.
What businesses are failing to realize is that respect and kindness are basic requirements for interaction with potential and repeat customers. Hard working people are choosing to spend with your establishment; good service is the bare minimum. Increasingly, in this global economy, we have access to better options. Though this reality may affect some businesses sooner than others, it is advisable not to wait until the critical moment to make the change. Statistics show that people are willing to spend more money if they receive quality service. Therefore, even if you were only interested in a hefty bottom line, it would serve you better to treat people well.
I have had to encounter the customer service department of numerous businesses and suffice to say, the departments are actually customer frustration traps. How can it be that the horror customers endure is standard across the board, even though there is Jamaica Customer Service Association (JaCSA)? The typical experience with these customer service agents involved:
Absolutely no response
A minimum of 1 week passing before receiving a response that does not even answer the questions asked
The call is mysteriously disconnected
Agent either does not know the supervisor/manager or is unwilling to provide a name
Agents cannot find your information in their system
Agents do not know when your problem will be rectified and can only say “I am sorry”
You are promised a call back but never get one
You are asked to send a ‘DM’ (Direct Message) if you are using social media, but you get no response •
Leave a comment, still no response
Businesses need to understand that customers are not hostages. The sooner they wake up to this fact and make the necessary changes the less vulnerable their businesses will be. No business or agency is exempt. Customers can cause serious problems if/when they decide to apply the pressure.
The aim of business should never be to make things increasingly difficult for the customer but to make it as easy as possible to engage and exchange with you and produce loyal client ambassadors. The base of your revenue lies with retained customers and it takes more money to get a new client than to retain them.
It is a new year. Let us turn the page in this area. Invest in staff training, hire customer service specialists, analyze your business processes, listen to customer feedback and treat our local clients with respect and kindness.