Skip to main content

How to get good service

Service in South Africa is less than consistent.   Every day, we have to deal with people who have little or no interest in providing a great customer experience.

So how do you raise your happiness level and get better service most of the time.   I have been conducting a personal survey into this and have found the following:
  • Shout, bully and demand and, under certain circumstances, you get faster service, not necessarily better, but you move up the ladder
  • Wait to be served, and you will wait a long time
  • Polite and assertive behaviour, on balance, gets the best results
Sometimes, I feel that the power has shifted.   In other words, as a consumer, it seems to be up to me to greet the service provider first, be absolutely charming, ask nicely for whatever it is I want, and thank them graciously after receiving unfriendly service.

The counter of this is that when I receive great service, I keep going back, even if the product is not as good!

Under promise and over deliver!   The front office staff and sales people often sincerely promise great service and delivery, but do not ensure that it is either possible or standard practice behind the scenes.

A few simple tips:

  • When making a large purchase, ask for references, and double check the integrity of the referrals ie not family members or buddies.
  • When the power is in the hands of the provider eg on a hospital ward, be friendly, be firm, be appreciative, smile a lot, and, if you are a frequent visitor, send a thank you gift 
  • When the person you are dealing with to resolve a problem has no real power, ask for a manager
    • If no manager is forthcoming, ask what the best way forward is, and let them give you a response, rather than telling them what you want
  • Document your progress in writing, politely and clearly, use bullet form, so it is easy to read and send them to the person you are dealing with, and their line manager, if known.
There are times when the service is so bad, over such a long period, that polite, assertive behaviour is just not enough.   Many larger companies have distanced their management from direct client interaction eg cell phone companies.   It is almost impossible to speak to a manager if you are unhappy with service.

As a consumer, you can vote with your feet, and move to another supplier, but this can be very expensive or you can choose to publish your complaint either on their website or publicly.   This usually garners a quick response from senior management.

We all deserve to get great service and be treated with respect.   There is no doubt that money and power help, which is why the famous ask "do you know who I am" when they want service delivery.  It shouldn't be necessary.   As consumers and suppliers, consistent standards create positive relationships.   Wouldn't it be nice if every interaction with a supplier started with a warm greeting, and ended with a result or a plan for the next steps?   As well as, "thank you for being our client, we appreciate you."

While we wait with bated breath for the thank you's from our suppliers, I have found that thanking companies in writing for great service has noticeably improved the service I receive.  We have some wonderful clients at +Accsys (Pty) Ltd who regularly let us know about great service from our staff, and we really appreciate the feedback.

I would love to know if you have had either positive or negative experiences, and how you handled them.

Links, Notes and References


Thank you for reading Teryl@Work.   Should you wish to use any of the material, please acknowledge this blog as the source.

Popular posts from this blog

Resignation - keep building relationships

Resignation – avoid burning those bridges It has been a great pleasure working with a colleague like you. Now, you are off to your next big challenge! Good luck and farewell!
Isn’t that what we all want to hear when we leave?  We were appreciated and we will be missed.
The need for all parties to maintain professional conduct in the event of resignation is critical, particularly now when we are working within an unsettled socio-economic climate. Employees should avoid damaging relationships, and employers need to adopt a neutral approach and ensure that there are policies and processes that enable the separation to be objectively handled.  For example: ·A formal resignation letter is required·A formal acceptance of resignation is issued confirming any special conditions·An exit interview takes place·Handovers are planned and executed
Our HR team advise those who resign their position to adhere to a few golden rules. Failure to do so could harm whatever bonds have been formed at the workpla…

Favourite Words

Shambolic – it simply sounds better to me than chaotic.. Do lots of people have favourite words or just a few of us nerds? As everybody is starting to think holidays (or maybe you prefer to vacation), it seemed a good time for a different type of blog. Have you noticed how many words with pleasant associations sound more attractive than those that describe the negative. Watching a TV quiz show the other night made me wonder. The contestant hated bulbous and gusset! There have always been some words that appeal to me, triskaidekaphobia being one. I now know that I had the meaning wrong! I thought it meant fear of Friday the 13th, but it is simply a fear of the number 13, so how does paraskevidekatriaphobia grab you? That is the real word for fear of Friday the 13th. Love it! Now I prefer rural to bucolic, but Robert Beard (see below) selected the latter as one of his favourites. Effervescent is a gorgeous word, so descriptive and onomatopoeic while ethereal makes me think of gossamer and fairie…

What I learned from the snake queue...

The lesson of the snake queue
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it or Leave well enough alone.  But do we?  Oh no, we are always trying to improve on things, no matter how well they work.
Progress does come from constant improvement, but it needs to be an improvement!
Hence the lesson of the snake queue… I know that life isn’t always fair, I also don’t believe that everything happens for a reason (see below). However, the advent of the snake queue made me feel so happy.  I knew that, once I was in it, I would get served next.  I didn’t have to decide which shopping trolleys in front of me had more items, and pick a line accordingly, I simply joined at the rear and waited my turn. Those stores who have duplicate snakes facing each other do add a small element of stress in terms of which one to select, but I cope quite well with this one if I have my Kindle…. The same at airports, pharmacies and banks, such a fair system. Then, a colleague and I went to the USA and arrived at Washington Airport with…