Friday 25 November 2005

Watchdog dresses up as Santa

Christmas is coming and Consumer Watchdog wants presents!

Not for ourselves of course, but to give away to the deserving service stars of Botswana.

In the run up to Christmas we’re asking those service providers who really care about customer service to donate Christmas prizes we can award to the service stars we celebrate and maybe even to the readers who recommend them. The prizes can be as big or as small as the suppliers can afford and can be either in cash, goods or vouchers, whatever the supplier thinks would be best. All the prizes will be announced in this column and on our GABZ FM radio show and lots of recognition will be given to the donors!

So how are we going to choose the winners?

Between now and the last Monday before Christmas we’re inviting you, our readers, and listeners to the GABZ FM show to contact us with details of the service providers who you think deserve a Christmas present. We want to find the real stars, not the ones who go just a little further than the rest but the ones who you think the nation as a whole should celebrate.

The rules are simple. You can’t nominate your brother, lover or colleague. It has to be a genuine employee of a service provider. It can be someone at a supermarket, filling station, restaurant or even the security guard at a shopping centre, anyone who delivers a service. Obviously we’re going to validate every recommendation to make sure there’s no funny business.

The judging panel will be the team at Mmegi and the presenters of the radio show.

All you need to do is drop us a line, email us, phone us or fax us with who they are and why you think they are so special.

Back to the suppliers!

We’ve already approached a number of the organisations we know from past experience like to recognise and reward success and we’ve had a great response from them. So, who has donated so far? Well, no surprises, it’s the usual suspects! Primi Piatti in Gaborone we first off the mark and have offered 4 P100 meal vouchers.

We’ve also had offers from Pick N Pay at Molapo Crossing and KFC in the Main Mall both in Gaborone. Nandos have donated 15 meal vouchers. Standard Chartered Bank have very generously donated P1,000 which will be awarded in P100 Woolworths vouchers. First National Bank have also been very generous and have offered P500 in cash which we’re going to set aside for the winner of winners which we’ll announce in the last week before Christmas. More and more offers are coming as and we’ll keep our readers up to date as we hear more!

So, all you other suppliers our Christmas appeal is to join us and help us to celebrate success. Let’s help our service champions have a great Christmas!

Separating the wheat from the chaff

One of the things we’ve noticed in our dealings with suppliers over the last year has been the great variety in approach and imagination between suppliers when it comes to dealing with customers and the community in general. Some suppliers, like the ones mentioned above, really do seem to care about the quality of service they deliver but as importantly the general levels of service available.

A few weeks ago 30 people contacted us to celebrate Blessing at Equatorial Coffee for being a generally fantastic guy. We gave Blessing a voucher that had been donated to Watchdog by Primi Piatti, just a few metres away from his workplace. However, some people have suggested to us that it is a bit strange that his reward for being great at Equatorial was a meal at Primi, a competitor outlet.

We don’t think it’s strange at all. Both Equatorial Coffee and Primi Piatti recognise that everyone benefited from this award. Equatorial come across as great for employing Blessing, a service star, Primi Piatti come across as being generous and committed to quality service and Blessing got a free meal! Did anyone suffer? Of course not! Will either Equatorial or Primi to lose business as a result? Of course not! Is Blessing upset that his reward was for a meal somewhere other than his workplace? Of course not!

Companies that really understand about customer service seem to get the picture. Their business will boom when they are seen as open, friendly and competitive but not protectionist, not secretive and not unimaginative. These companies understand that they themselves will benefit when there is greater competition. Competition separates the weak from the strong, the good from the bad, the wheat from the chaff. In a competitive business environment all companies that deliver the best service will benefit. Did the opening of Primi Piatti put the Caravela Restaurant in Gaborone out of business (they are, after all, both great places to have a top-quality meal and compete with each other for business). Of course not, there’s room enough for two and each no doubt inspires the other to improve even further.

As Herbert Hoover said: "Competition is not only the basis of protection to the consumer, but is the incentive to progress."

This week’s stars!

  • Some while ago we twice celebrated Mojwadi from Bomaid for excellent service. We hear that in response to this Bomaid were so delighted with her being mentioned that they gave her a trip to Kasane as a reward. Good for Bomaid for recognising their star and for rewarding her!
  • The directors and staff of New Capitol Cinema, notably Gaone, for going out of their way to give a great time to a group of kids taken by SOS to see a film.
  • Cousin at Incredible Connection for putting a customer’s problem right and for compensating him very generously.
  • Tiro at Nandos for sorting out a customer’s reported problem so well.

No comments: