Comments: Duty should not be reduced to an act of kindness

The other day while in Kampala, I visited an Orange Telecom customer service centre at Garden City Shopping mall to purchase a data bundle for my mobile internet.

The other day while in Kampala, I visited an Orange Telecom customer service centre at Garden City Shopping mall to purchase a data bundle for my mobile internet. As I waited to be attended to, there was an exchange between a male staff member and a lady who looked to be of South Asian origin.

At one point the Asian looking lady said to the gentleman serving her, “You are very kind, can I have a photograph with you?” The smiling gentleman accepted and a picture was quickly taken. The lady even asked for his phone number. And voila, yours truly had found a story idea.

It appears that this lady who was probably just a visitor to Uganda had endured a lot of poor customer service experiences and had come to the conclusion that by default, people do not have to be nice to customers. Now when she found a genuinely kind and attentive person to attend to her she was blown away.

Stop for a minute and think about it. Staff who have a duty to handle clients with utmost customer care rarely do so and so when it happens it is not perceived as a duty but mere a character trait of a few. In others words you should not expect to be served well and when it happens it has nothing to do with the job description of the person attending to you but a natural trait of kindness.

Much as I witnessed this scenario in Kampala, we can safely say the same situation or even worse can be found with several establishments in this country as well. We have heard so many people complaining about the poor state of customer relations here including those by our President himself.

That is why I think people should have listened and noted when he advised Rwandans not to accept poor services. If indeed you are paying for a service then the execution of the same should not be a gesture of kindness but a fulfilment of one’s duty or responsibility to a customer.

If I may ask, how many times have you had the phrase, “Nshobora kugufasha” (I can help you). The point is that you should serve me not help me because you are in business and not a charity organisation. I am here for service not mere favours. I still recall the time a security guard at a bank told me he could help me by opening the doors yet it was not yet time to do so. I told him off.

Anyone hiring staff ought to remind them time and again, what their role and duties are in order to do away with the scenario where good service is just a blessing not a routine. And much as we agree that things are wanting, there are places where improvements in service have been noted.

Companies where the management has realised the importance of treating clients appropriately or those where the staff may be expecting a tip from generous clients god service can be expected. In short if your firm depends on kindness instead of responsibility then you should expect clients to move away in search of better deals. Duty should not compromised if you are to remain competitive.

ssenyonga@gmail.com