I recently walked into an auto parts shop and I was forced to contemplate the old cliché ‘the customer is always right.’ I do not subscribe to the cliché because I have borne witness to many a rude customer and I was always so amazed that the individual behind the counter or desk could be so calm. Dominica is doing quite a bit of work trying to attract customers to its shores and yet very little is being done to develop customer service. As a local, three areas which are of particular concern to me at most of our business places are the issues of professionalism, knowledge and attitude.
While at school, we are often told that once in the business world, we have to adhere to certain codes whether they pertain to dress or manner of operation and that failure to adhere to these codes may result in a consequence. I believe that one’s appearance and the appearance of one’s work area is a clear indication of the type of service one will give and the customer will receive, and my experience has never contradicted my belief. Dress down day in most business places results in dress down service. Employees are often so busy chatting among themselves or using their electronic devices that they fail to even notice the presence of customers. What is most frustrating, however, is when the dress down service comes with ignorance of the job.
This leads me to my second point, knowledge. At present on the island, we have a lot of talking going on in the media by all and sundry on all different issues, but if one listens carefully, what one will hear is a lot of ‘parroting; a clear indication of the dearth of knowledge of the various issues discussed. In spite of the efforts of schools, the literary society, etc, it is clear that many do not read and when they do, they are drawn to the sensational issues and do not use the resources at their disposal to make informed decisions on issues. Reading empowers and is a healthy habit to cultivate for it is an important compliment to any job/ field, etc. Knowledge of one’s job or the field in which one is employed is very important and one should ensure that when a question is posed by any customer, there should be no stuttering when responding. When for instance, I walk to a business place and I am served milk in a gravy boat, and when I asked, why is the milk in a gravy boat, the individual does not have the faintest idea of the term, I know we are in trouble and I am embarrassed because I realize that one, the establishment has failed the individual by not providing the necessary knowledge; in this case, introduction to the tools of the trade and two, the individual was not ambitious enough to read to become knowledgeable of the area in which he/she is employed. The internet is flooded with information and the company, institution or agency with which one is employed may fail in its responsibility to its employees and the customers it serves, but the employee should not fail him/herself. Knowledge of the field one is employed in puts one at the top of the game.
This is but one example; we can all bring our personal experiences to bear in assessment of how well we are served, or we serve in the areas in which we are employed.
Finally, attitude to work can be the key component to determining how one embraces one’s job, embraces different modes of acquiring knowledge of the job through individual effort and translates such knowledge to ensure the delivery of professional service that customers rightly deserve. Good customer service can help secure your job and our Dominican market in these trying economic times. Lets us each play our part to deliver service which will keep our customers on our doorsteps.
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