Author: Carolyne

Dethroning the King

Today we dethrone the King. Down comes the crown, down comes the royal gown of velvet and soft felt and down comes the red carpet runway.  Today we dethrone the King. Down comes the headdress of finely picked plumes, down comes the cloak of vervet monkey fur and down comes the floor mat of intricately woven reed. But why oh why must the King be dethroned? Why are all the instruments of power, glory and dominance going going gone….reminiscent of the first pummel of the auctioneer’s gavel? And the answer’s simple – because the time has come. The time has come to debunk the old adage that Customer Is King. And as with all things in life, change is inevitable. Today we graduate from what we’ve known best and move on to the next level. Let’s look a little bit at this King business shall we? What happens around the King? Here are a few typical activities:-  All subjects bow down and prostrate themselves in awe and honour The King is a dictator, decreeing stuff left right and center All communication to the King is by carefully selected proxies The King’s word is unquestionable, unchallengeable, un-bendable. It is law The King is surrounded by a ring of protectors in their suits of armour There’s carefully orchestrated distance between the King and everybody else. So with this in mind, is...

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Right? Righteous? Righteousness? Right?

I have been asked the question ‘Is the customer always right?’ countless times, and when I respond NO, the askers are without fail taken aback. Quite taken aback actually, of the mouth agape variety. But YES indeed contrary to old age belief, the customer is NOT always right. We’ve continuously been taught in the past and made to believe that the customer is always right, and the customer service school of life has continued to embed that belief. But let’s just take a step back and think about it…….. are they always right? Really truly, is the customer always right? Staff who interact frequently with customers will tell you that in very many instances the customer is wrong. The customer may either have incorrect information, or may in some cases have expectations that are out of this world, like say for example, expecting to waltz to the front of an already existing queue and get quick service with the expectation that the serving staff should know they are a very important person. Very often as well, customers are quite crafty and looking for ways in which to get away with free products or services, and will cause a mighty ruckus in an attempt to get away with as much as they can for as little payment as possible or not at all. Sometimes too, customers may be misinformed about...

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Of Banking Communication and ‘Sharp’ Ears…

My bank recently sent me a notification to let me know that an account that I had with them was declared dormant as there had been no activity on it for the past six months and that to reactivate it, I needed to go into the bank and fill out a form and pay up the reactivation fees. I felt irritation wash over me at this communication and called the help desk where I spoke to a lady who was very quick to let me know that their customer service manager would call me to give me answers.  Given the previous not too pleasant experiences I had gone through with the bank, I politely indicated that I would rather hold and be transferred to the manager as I suspect they may not call me back as promised. After several tries she informed me that the manager would definitely call me. True to form, I received a telephone call a few minutes later from a gentleman who asks for ‘Harriet’. I duly inform him that I am not Harriet and he hangs up surprised. After yet a few more minutes the same gentleman called me and said he is calling from my bank in response to my complaint, upon which I inform him that I am not Harriet and that it is real pity that they do not have the...

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Enemy No. 1

Enemy – Can your customer be your enemy? This question came to mind recently when we had an experience at an up market coffee house in Upperhill one early morning. We had a group breakfast meeting at 7:00am Saturday morning and in good time keeping fashion, my group mate Makena and I arrived at 6:55am and stood in the parking lot catching up. Whilst there, two ladies walked past us, pushed open the swinging doors to the coffee house that were closed, got in and closed the doors behind them. At 7:00am we decided to wait inside the café for the rest of the members. On pushing open the same swinging doors, the two ladies were struggling to open the main door to the café. One looked up, saw us and said in quite a hostile voice “We are NOT open yet”.  No greetings, no acknowledgement, no request to find out what we wanted, just a cold piece of information about their not being open. To which I looked at my watch, pointed to their prominent well branded piece of signage outside the gate and said “Your signage indicates you open from 7:00am and it is 7:00am now?”  The two ladies looked at each other and one asked her colleague in what I can describe as a bothered demeanor “Sasa tutafanya nini?”(Now what are we going to do?) At...

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The Wayward Wandering Teacher

As I put thoughts into words, I think to myself just how many times I have toyed with the idea of documenting my views on matters customer service, branding and communication. Having been in the service industry for many a year I find that I am always on auto pilot, looking at situations, happenings, incidents and interactions through a teacher’s lens. Yes, right in here lives a teacher, seemingly desperate to have her voice heard, much to the chagrin of my family and friends as I swing into ‘lecture’ mode and give that service person, be they in the supermarket, gas station, restaurant, reception desk or on phone, my two cents about their service delivery and what exactly it is they could do to up their game. The same applies when exceptional service is delivered and ‘teacher dearest’ emerges, thankfully this time to acknowledge and say ‘well done!’ to the ‘student’ So to save the people in my life from further mortification, and also to save myself from the possibility of loneliness as my folk disperse faster than tray tossed chaff from wheat at the first signs of Teacher Dearest’s usually spontaneous appearance, this blog is an attempt to reign in that wayward teaching gene and channel her( are genes gender sensitive?)into some structured output. Teacher Dearest...

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Welcome to See Service

Carolyne Gathuru

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