Kenyan businesses need better customer service

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A receptionist welcoming a client. Image from http://www.youthvillage.co.za/2015/10/receptionist-wanted-at-theewaterskloof-gazette/

From the shopkeeper at the estate’s kiosk to the classy restaurant, service is the reason why people go back. I usually pass the first immediate kiosk and walk another five minutes, simply because the first one has attitude. It amused me that I was the one that tried to strike a conversation with the rude shopkeeper about the weird weather as she sneered and hurriedly gave me my packet of milk. I was nice enough to have given her several other chances to redeem herself as I tried to excuse her horrible service with the thought that her personality was simply melancholic.

Point is it is no customer’s problem if you have had a bad night or if you are simply not a friendly person. In most companies or businesses friendly service goes a long way. The following tips are a must have for your business, your employees or you as an employed one.

A receptionist welcoming a client. Image from http://www.youthvillage.co.za/2015/10/receptionist-wanted-at-theewaterskloof-gazette/
A receptionist welcoming a client. Image from http://www.youthvillage.co.za/2015/10/receptionist-wanted-at-theewaterskloof-gazette/

1. Smile: Whether you fake it or not, that is not the problem. A warm smile makes your customer more willing to buy your goods or stay for the services they need. This is where most receptionists go wrong. Your company may have a drop in customer numbers because of your receptionists or secretaries. I have personally been happier when I met a male receptionist, because they have fewer moods and are more professional. Ladies, you need to fake it till you make it especially when you’re going through hormonal crisis.

2. Say hello: you most likely do not care about your customer’s day, but you need to have the courtesy to ask. Remember you need to make your environment comfortable enough, regardless of the business you are in. I once met a landlady that shut me out from the time she saw me because she wanted a male tenant for whatever reason, she did not even say hi, but when she asked me if I was interested I refused. Always keep in mind we live in a time where there are so many options business wise. If you do not do these simple things, then on to the next service which won’t be far.

3. Be effective: if your customer is inquiring about something, they most likely do not want to see your bored expression. Kenyans have the bad habit of looking disturbed when it is their job to perhaps be giving information or sell. A buyer is giving you money and you act like you’re doing them a favor? They may tolerate but will not come back and trash your services to everyone else. Act enthusiastic about your job for goodness sake, at least you have one.

4. Stop acting like such a boss: Again, you are the one that needs the buyer. If you act all powerful the minute a buyer wants your goods then you have lost profits. There was a seller that was trying to rush me to get a fridge from him on the same day like it was the last fridge in the country. A smart customer service will act humble, let the customer feel important and possibly make them feel like they are really doing you a favor. Do not treat a customer like you’re the only option they have. Make them feel like there are many options but you’re the one they need.

5. Stop wanting bribes for your job: I am still figuring why some people feel like they need to be given “tea money” while it’s their job. If you’d like tea, use the money you earn to buy tea. When you get a customer a certain good or carry their shopping to the car etc as long as the company offers it then a customer owes you nothing. It is best when a client wants to give you something extra out of their own good will not because you nagged them for it. It is not your right to get kitu kidogo(something small) if it’s your job.

Professionalism is the key to a great business. From the watchman that stands outside your gate to the receptionist to the finalist every bit of service in a business merges to create something good, if one fails then a business may collapse or have a bad reputation. People evaluate your business based on service and how effective it is. Kenya’s customer service in most areas is biased. Sometimes it is based on where one is from country wise or location. This has got to stop in order to have better hospitable businesses.

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