Kudos for Buy Zimbabwe Campaign but . . .

Nonto Masuku

THE Buy Zimbabwe campaign which has been running the last couple of weeks seems to have been well received.

Kudos to those who initiated it. It is indeed a great initiative.

The Buy Zimbabwe campaign seeks not only to promote the purchase of local products, but their competitiveness on the domestic and international market.

I am sure that many of you would agree with me that generally the quality of our local products is great. What needs to be worked on are the perceptions of the consumer as well as the marketing of our products. page-10

One big letdown, however, is the quality of the customer service from some of the organisations in our country. Generally, customer service in Zimbabwe leaves a lot to be desired.

Just the other day I went to Hillside Total garage for fuel. I repeatedly told the fuel attendant the amount of fuel I wanted.

He, however, decided in his absent mindedness to pour in double the amount of fuel I asked for. I did not get much of an apology from him. He almost made it seem like it was my own doing and I should get over it. I was livid, but then again who cares?

The service of some of our local supermarkets too is atrocious. Several times I have queued up to the counter and all I have been asked (if I am lucky) is: “Plastic?” No greeting, no smile, no conversation, no eye contact.

Nothing, except a negative attitude. I can go on giving examples of some of my worst experiences at banks, salons, restaurants, you name it.

My plea is simple. If, as Zimbabwean organisations, we want to become competitive globally, we need to start seriously looking at the service we are offering consumers.

Businesses need to adapt behaviours that are consistently practiced on a daily basis and have a positive impact on customers.

David Freemantle in the book The Buzz lists some of these behaviours that make a big difference to delivering world-class customer service. The top 10 on his list are:

Make customers feel special,

Get the first five seconds right,

Say something (create small talk),

Personalise interactions,

Show you care,

Make positive choices,

Be curious,

Create great memories for customers,

Make a difference,

Observe customers.

Freemantle goes on to state that organisations that provide world-class service “buzz”.

“They are full of people who make a difference. These people seize every opportunity to please customers by going beyond the routine of everyday work. When there is no “buzz” everything is flat. Employees are switched off and in turn switch off their customers”.

Zimbabwe, it is time to get the buzz ball rolling.