Customer Service Week should be the right time to address the Service Gaps - MTAA KWA MTAA BLOG

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Thursday, 30 September 2021

Customer Service Week should be the right time to address the Service Gaps

By Godwin Semunyu

Phillip Kotler, a seasoned Marketer, defines customer satisfaction as a ‘feeling of pleasure or disappointment, resulted from equating a product’s performance against expectations. Meaning, when a product or service meets customer expectations, we have positive satisfaction and dissatisfaction when it doesn’t.

If you are thirsty and decide to buy a soft drink, your expectations are at both quenching the thirst and enjoying the flavor. When the drink meets your expectations, you are a satisfied customer. You are likely to recommend it to your peers and make a future repeated purchase. In case of disappointment, a terrible experience creates a “service gap.” You are likely to give bad recommendations, and that will probably be your last purchase.

On average, customers tell nine people about a positive brand experience versus telling 16 people about a negative one. Unsurprisingly, 32% of poorly treated customers will never return. The numbers speak for themselves.

From October 4th to 8th-2021, the world will be celebrating customer service Week to commemorate the importance of customer service and the people who serve and support customers daily. This year, the week is themed “The Power of Service,” paying tribute to changes in dynamics of service offering amidst the pandemic.

In Tanzania, the week has gained popularity in recent years, with organizations engaging in several endeavors, notably staff dancing videos to popular Nigerian or South African tunes with matching attires. It has since become a week of marathons of staff dance videos and social media posts of staff donning a variety of matched attires from vitenge to Gujarat attires. The rivalry is so fierce that one crucial aspect is being left out; the customer. Very little is done to improve service levels and address customers’ pain points.

While there’s nothing wrong with the dance videos and matching attires, the jubilations should go concurrently with a focus on improving customer service.

In recent times, there have emerged so many gaps in our service delivery industry that, as customers, we are becoming accustomed to a tradition of being “okay” with poor services. Our expectations have gone so low, to the point that being served satisfactorily is considered a favor and not a right.

Suddenly, it is okay for; staff to demonstrate a lousy attitude, take calls while serving, or drop calls. Response times now vary with moods; companies now send reps with a lack of product knowledge. There are cases of unprofessional interactions, poor telephone etiquette, moody cab drivers, poor packaging that leads to spillage, ridiculous flight delays and cancellations, unregulated lunch breaks, and many other shortfalls.

I can’t be the only one who gets dismayed when, after ordering a cab online, clearly stating my destination and fees on display, then being asked by the driver, “unaelekea Wapi Boss,” then start to negotiate the price.

I constantly attend football matches. However, I don’t recall the last time I ended up sitting on my designated seat. You have to look for any vacant seat. The stewards are just there enjoying the match. They want you to “understand” and be “okay” that someone sat in your seat. Find another seat, Bro. It is okay.

The digitization of the monetary transaction services means most transactions and bills are now executed online. Commonly at one’s mobile phone convenience. All is well until in times of troubleshooting. The reverse transaction times vary from 24-72 hours; why? The journey to migrate customers from the traditional to digital channels has been long and costly. Still, the disappointments and unreliability will give customers reasons to think otherwise.

If you are a frequent local flyer, you will agree that some airlines tend to delay or cancel flights out of the blues. They expect you to “understand” the existence of reasons “beyond” their control. Flights from KIA to JKNIA scheduled for 19:00 hours could be delayed to midnight, just like that.  It is supposed to be okay; it is “just five hours “delay, just like last week or a week before. What’s all the fuss about? Just five hours.

We can look all flashy in our “Amapiano dance” Customer Service Week videos, donning the lavish matched vitenge or Gujarat attires. Still, if nothing is done to improve our service levels and address the service gaps, we could all end up sounding like a broken record.
Happy Customer Service Week.

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