I witnessed an incredible incident at a public swimming pool recently that made me furious at how irresponsible some people are with their work.
That day, a swimming coach was training eight energetic adolescents who were probably from a school or a sports club. Instead of watching over these kids, the coach kept himself busy on his phone and other unnecessary and personal affairs; chatting with other people and doing every other thing except watching over the children. After merely 20 minutes; he asked one of the children to watch over his friends and off he went leaving the children unattended at the pool.
You can imagine the chaos thereafter as they started running around the pool not minding they could slip, fall into the pool and drown. They started fighting among themselves and playing dangerous games. As furious as I was, all I could do was to hope that none of these children gets injured.
This incident is probably not exceptional to narrate here, but the level at which some workers are irresponsible is simply alarming.
Let us be frank and admit that many people are ‘lousy’ when doing their jobs. Many have no clew on what “responsibility” means when it comes to work they are paid for.
Strange enough, when these people are looking for jobs, they will promise heaven and earth to ‘over-deliver’ but once hired, they simply take same jobs that pay for their rent and children’s school fees for granted.
For instance, just look at the number of people who are always late at work, with hundreds excuses to justify their lateness. They are also folks who never respond to official correspondences or who treat customers as if they were doing them a favour.
Being responsible at one’s workplace implies that one takes serious the work and does it as required. It implies that one becomes answerable or accountable for something within one’s power, control or management as far as tasks and duties assigned are concerned.
It is a shame to see that many employees or even self-employed people have no work ethics. Look at mechanics, teachers, tailors, civil servants, teachers, managers, etc, who simply cannot keep to their promises.
Today, as we all talk about the need of improving service delivery in Rwanda, it is paramount we also understand that customer service is not only about the smile of the receptionist or the quality of the food served in a restaurant.
Improving customer service simply implies that we all do our jobs well, every single day, whether someone is watching us or not. It implies that we become accountable for jobs we are paid for.
How many of us use our companies’ valuable time attending to our personal issues not related to the jobs we are paid for? This is not ethical.
If we really want service delivery to improve in Rwanda, let us all take our work and duties seriously and go the extra mile to make sure the work we are offering is the best at all times.
Service will immensely improve if we all strive to work on time, do what, when and how we are supposed to deliver and, above all, be responsible for our actions and behaviour while at work.
Improving customer service is a personal and collective responsibility and, as says Winston Churchill, “the price of greatness is responsibility”.
The writer is customer service consultant and the publisher of The ServiceMag