Wednesday, December 21, 2011

An eventful count-down to 2012 … Clarice Theys

What an eventful week it was … This is the last issue of this paper for 2011 and I thought of sharing with you some bits and pieces of the week that was!

I had a full piece written called Dress Code Debacles where I was exploring my irritations about people who accept invitations and never adhere to the dress code … to the embarrassment of those who do! Picture this: The invitation states Formal with a bit of Glam – yes, these days people get increasingly descriptive and precise in their invitations. This is a milestone birthday party – and even the food is a 4-course meal at a posh venue. Then the guests arrive … in smart casual attire.

What a disappointment it is for the hostess who didn’t hold back on expenses … I feel it is utter disrespect to ignore the rules of etiquette. So this is only a reminder … let’s stay mindful this Festive Season – a time of many invites. Sometimes, when you these important rules of etiquette, it can cause public disgrace and in private, hurt individual feelings and even create misunderstandings or real grief and pain.

Speaking about pain … what’s up with friends turning disagreements and different opinions between them into so much personal pain that they even shame themselves repeatedly into the ‘poor-me-so-sorry-that-I-live’ foetus position? With the object of their wrath blissfully unaware until of course when they hear it through the grapevine … How about utilizing 2012 for more dialogue? Let’s talk more and put to work the old adage that we can indeed ‘agree to disagree’ – thereby valuing our friendships and connection more.

I previously promised to touch on the subject of Service Delivery here at the Coast and although I also promised not to mention names in my critiques, I’m sure it won’t do any harm today – to the contrary. Thumbs up to Café Rosso, and Village Café for outstanding responsiveness of your waiters. I just have one, tiny little issue with the former – loud gossiping about co-workers between themselves in such a way that customers can hear every little detail is just not on!

Mobile telecommunication homes here still seem to top the list of bad service providers. My experience – more than fifteen years – has been just bad. The one I’m using – and only because my dear husband bought me a phone on contract with them - still don’t do it for me! Not here, not in Windhoek, not anywhere! What is it with this company? Can anyone please tell me why they do not comply with any of the pillars of Service Delivery – I’m not even touching on Service Excellence?

Don’t they know that the customer expects consistency of performance all the time? It means that companies deliver the service right the first time, every time. We require of them to be responsive – to know their customers’ needs, anticipate them and then deliver it speedily.

How about trained and competent service consultants? When the employee is half-trained, it also means that the service or delivery that is provided is often poor or inferior. To tell a customer that a front-line service person is new in a company does little to satisfy or change negative perceptions.

And then there’s the consideration and respect that customers want. Chewing bubblegum and rolling eyes while attending to a customer is inexcusable. I don’t even want to go to the ‘keeping promises made to a customer’ with ‘Windhoek’ or ‘Head Office’ always the perfect scapegoat for everything that goes wrong.

Hopefully someone – with young blood - within this company will see the light soon and realise that service is the only component that distinguishes one competitor from the next and that it can be the competitive edge if it adds value to the customer’s experience and perception …

Enough about Service … I had the opportunity last weekend to interview two famous SA personalities, Terence Bridgett and Paul du Toit from Binnelanders-fame. I’ve found them quite entertaining and real … that’s apart from the jargon they used which, for periods, left my brain on a speed-trip to Google with immediate A-Ha moments seconds later!

I couldn’t help but wondering why would people – especially guys and not particularly them – try so hard to show-off the marks of a real man which include cultural hub, hip fashion, cool appearance, studied poise, elite education, proper recreation and fitness? Hmmm, busted! I’ve googled the word Yuppie!

But apart from using words like eclectic instead of the more commonly-used ‘diverse’ or ‘free’, they’re just fantastic and I believe that the Rough or Touch edition in which Namibia will feature, is something to look forward to! And on that happy note, have yourself a splendid Christmas and an out-of-this-world 2012!

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