Friday 14 April 2006

This IS an ad for Standard Chartered

Oh sorry, no it’s not. We mustn’t be biased in favour of any particular bank just because they sponsored and paid for the Consumer Watchdog 1st Birthday Party at the GICC last Friday!

Oh no, just because they were incredibly generous, organised the best function we’ve ever been to and allowed us to stare at their Managing Director as he warmed up the audience and danced in a way that most Brits couldn’t do, well that doesn’t mean we have to be nice to them and advertise his bank, does it?

In case you haven’t heard us going on about it on GabzFM, seen the coverage on BTV and in the papers we had the most amazing night of celebration last Friday. 150 service stars, the ones named in this column every week, were invited to the Gaborone International Convention Centre along with their managers and a range of VIPs so they could be celebrated in public and in front of the whole nation they so ably represent.

Best of all, and none of us can quite believe that we managed this, the guest of honour was the President himself. His presence really enabled us to make the noise these service stars deserve. Every one of them deserves to be celebrated by the entire nation and his presence helped us to do this in staggering style!

We went out of our way to make a night of fun and we’ve discovered how to do it. This is our donation to the nation for this week. How to make a public function go with a bang. It’s a radical idea and I’m not sure if the business community is ready for it yet but here goes.

Keep the speeches few and short and the partying to a maximum.

Simple really.

I promised myself that this column wouldn’t be like an Oscars acceptance speech but there ARE some people who need to be thanked. None of what Consumer Watchdog has achieved would have been possible without their contribution.

Nina Hamid from Foodsafe International gives her valuable time and skills every time there’s anything to do with food safety and hygiene. Her skills are helping to save lives.

Minchin and Kelly Attorneys have been there for us, and more importantly the abused and disrespected customers of Botswana whenever we’ve needed to wheel out “the big guns”. Several people have benefited directly from their interventions and we thank them for it.

GabzFM, of course the best radio station in Botswana, and everyone who contributes to the Daily Grind show are stars, all of them. Of course Warona and Thebe, Kate’s co-hosts and “partners in crime” have created an unopposable force for consumer’s welfare but just as importantly for celebrating all the good service we get, even though it’s sometimes hard to find!

And Mmegi. This column has allowed us to get out to the entire nation and help us to spread the word about service, about competition and about success. Kabo Makgoboane and the team do a great job and they deserve huge credit for it.

When we started Consumer Watchdog early last year I don’t think we had any idea what an impact it would have and we certainly had no idea that it would end up in a party with the president giving out awards. My suspicion is that the general level of service has genuinely increased in the last year and it would be great to think we’d contributed a little towards that.

Two final thanks.

To the President. To be honest if he hadn’t been able to attend we still would have had a great time but the fact that he did, in between two state visits by foreign Presidents, the day before BDF Day, while running a country when most mortals would have chosen a quiet Friday night at home with the family is just amazing. We’ve been told by several people that to be celebrated by the President was a once in a lifetime event. Thank you Sir!

To Standard Chartered Bank. To Nigel, Prabhu and Basadi and the entire team who worked so hard to get things organised, to get t-shirts, certificates and awards produced, to arrange catering and drinks, sounds systems and lighting. Your efforts and generosity were astounding and will not be forgotten!

But, like we said 2 weeks ago, this isn’t an advertisement for Standard Chartered, OK? Well, perhaps just a little one.

And now a few appeals.

How can we improve? What should Consumer Watchdog be doing in the next year? What issues should we take on? Please let us know. It’s only by our listeners and readers making suggestions that we can respond properly so get in touch, OK?

And another appeal. To suppliers. Who in your organisation deserves to be celebrated? Which backroom staff help your company to excel and to make customers happy? It’s usually the frontline staff that are celebrated but it’s very often the people behind the scenes that enable them to do it. It might be the company accountant, the HR manager, the cleaner or the driver. It might even be the guy in charge, you never know. Celebrate them!

And yet another appeal! This might be a bit of a challenge but here goes. At our party we celebrated three Government employees. Yes, that’s right. They work for Government. Despite what all of us say about Government staff this goes to show that they can get it right. I know for sure that there are others in Government who understand, who realise that they are the largest customer serving organisation in the country. Which of them are service stars?

This week’s stars!

  • Brian and the team at Broadhurst Motors for going beyond the call of duty to get a problem fixed. They even came out after hours just to help out a customer.
  • Annah at Stanbic Bank Industrial Branch for being really pleasant and helpful. Our listener says “we need more people like her out there”.
  • Modiri at Barloworld Motors for being really friendly and welcoming and being so pro active when it comes to service. We are told she even phones her customers during the day to keep them up to date with progress on their car service.
  • Loungo at FNB Head Office for making sure a problem was fixed quickly and efficiently and with a smile!

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