Is your customer a king?

By Rita Krampah

“There is only one boss, the customer and he can fire everyone in the company from the chairman down simply by spending his money somewhere else” – Sam Walton (founder of Walmart)
A couple of weeks ago, the media and indeed most Ghanaians were in awe at the news of a 70 year old man who died because five hospitals (state hospitals inclusive) refused to attend to him because there were no beds. Strange as it is, it was not surprising to the masses that experience various forms of rejections from service providers every day.

Have the hospital staffs been given any form of customer/client services training? Do they understand how the service is linked to their salary? Do they have any knowledge as to how to even say no politely?

Are they aware of any customization processes in the organisation? Customer service is not in our DNA; and so we cannot claim “the customer is king”.

We expect payments from our customers and clients but behave as if they owe us. We put pretty and handsome faces in our front desks that spend more time on social media than attending to the customers whose money pay their salaries.

Most service industries do not train their staff on the importance of customer service and hence cannot hold them accountable when they misbehave. After employment, they are just to function-no in service customer service training. They don’t have any complaint processes and employees see customers who complain as nuisance, instead of seeing it as information for change and innovation. It is common to hear words “this is the way we do it here”; “this is the process”; “ sorry we can’t do anything about it” …etc.
The worse is our state institutions. They think the government pays their salary and so they are not accountable to any one; especially if you cannot “put weight on your documents” (Pay the bribe).
Many institutions boldly display their values and mission statements in the offices and customer areas but ask the employee what they mean and you will wonder which HR employed them.

The tellers at the shops and supermarkets are only nice in December because it is Christmas and they have to point the nicely decorated Christmas boxes to customers to donate into the boxes. But I always ask: Who needs to be appreciated, the customers who come to spend their money or the service provider who receives the money?

To borrow from Phil Snyder’s WAYMISH : WHY ARE YOU MAKING IT SO HARD for clients/customers to spend their money at your institution .Our untrained staff attitude and complacency, operational bottlenecks, etc.; is killing the service industry and killing people.

It is time customers and clients demand quality service for their monies worth. Don’t keep quiet when the service is not good. Complain till you see change.
Employers should review the service processes and procedure to appreciate the clients’ custom. Training should be regular and not end after orientation. Employers must invest in service training and punish when the need arises. It is the clients/customers who pay your salaries and not the finance department.

Rita Krampah
Ghana.
Corporate trainer, Social Entrepreneur, Motivational Speaker and Counselor.
Email: mserwah02@gmail.com