Have you noticed a difference in the way you have been treated in supermarkets, banks and other retail outlets in the past week? Have you been treated with a bit of the respect a paying (or potential) customer rightfully deserves? Have they rolled out the red carpet and finally made an effort at providing good customer service? If so, don’t be alarmed at the sudden change of attitude! I’m here to allay your fears about this strange behaviour, and furnish you with an explanation.
It is Zimbabwe Customer Service Week! The second annual Zimbabwe Customer Service Week, to be exact – hence the good behaviour. Having debuted in Zimbabwe this time last year, this global, annual event (commemorated in the first week of October) is aimed at celebrating and promoting customer service excellence, as well as appreciating the role of customers in sustaining and expanding business. It is a week in which businesses and service providers are reminded that we, the customers, are integral to the expansion and sustainability of their livelihoods. The event was initiated by the International Customer Service Association in 1988, and is organised by the Contact Centre Association of Zimbabwe (CCAZ), in conjunction with the Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality Industry and the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe, among others.
It began with a two-day symposium in Harare themed “Driving Profitability through Customer Service Strategy” – speakers are Mary Kumbula, Managing Director of Almenta Pty (South Africa) and Mr A.J. Shahrill, founder and principal consultant of Nu Quest Management (Singapore). The week-long commemoration was yesterday taken to the streets through the Customer Service Brand Expo, held at Africa Unity Square in Harare, where several companies and service providers put their best feet forward and showcased their products, services and customer services skills. The ‘festivities’ will culminate in the annual Customer Service Excellence Awards.
It is hoped that the pearls of wisdom shared by the big fish at the symposium, expo and awards ceremony will trickle down to the men and women manning tills and counters, attending shops, sitting at reception desks; they might realise the importance of doing their jobs with smiles on their faces and cultivating a culture of respect and customer service excellence. Here’s hoping that you have all been treated like it’s your week. Let us know!