Friday 28 July 2006

More maturity

Last week I wrote about how maturity was a critical attribute of any successful company. I don’t mean age, I mean that certain something that comes with experience, some hard knocks and a grown-up attitude.

One of the key ways in which this maturity can bets be demonstrated is by taking the inevitable criticism you’ll get constructively and understanding that reasonable criticism from a customer is actually something to be welcomed, however painful it might be at the time to receive it.

We had a good example of this very recently.

We heard from a reader who visited the Gaborone Private Hospital earlier this year for a minor matter. While she was there everything was fine and she gave them her medical aid details so that all the horrible financial side of her treatment would be dealt with behind the scenes and she wouldn’t have to worry about payment and could concentrate on getting better.

Well, everything was fine until months later she got an attorney’s letter demanding full payment for her treatment as well as the various expenses they had incurred in chasing her. The letters she got from them became increasingly threatening (as these sorts of things do) and she began to get really worried. When she contacted the hospital she was told that her claim to her medical aid company had been declined because there had been too much of a delay between her visiting the hospital and the paperwork being sent from the hospital to them. Her position, a very reasonable position in my view, was that this simply wasn’t her fault. She had done everything correctly and didn’t see why she should be made to pay for someone else’s mistake.

Now all of us with medical aid schemes should go right now to the filing cabinet, the cardboard box under the bed or that worrying pile of paper under the kitchen sink where we file our hospital paperwork. Check in the small print and you’ll probably find a clause that says that if your medical aid company declines your claim, for whatever reason, you are the one actually responsible for making the payment. Nothing about if they delay the claim for so long that it’s no longer valid, oh no, it’s all up to you.

So where did this leave our reader?

Well, she called us for advice and we called to the hospital and asked for their side of the story. Pretty quickly we got a formal response from the management apologising for this mistake, saying that they would contact their patient to apologise to her as well and, best of all, would cancel all the charges, including the legal fees.

All in all a rather mature response to the problem don’t you think?

The All New Consumer Watchdog radio show

As I also mentioned last week we are really pleased that the Consumer Watchdog radio show is about to be re-launched on Yarona FM. If you haven’t heard them yet you can tune in on 106.6 FM next Tuesday at 7:15am. Co-hosted by Kate Harriman, the program will present new, exciting and provocative program elements addressing new sections of the community, will offer fantastic competitions and will continue the work of Consumer Watchdog in educating, informing and entertaining consumers.

Some of what we’re going to do will only become known on the show itself but here’s a few clues and hints about what we’re going to cover.

When should you take your clothes off in a store? Tune in to find out!

How was your “first time”? Tune in to share some experiences…..

Do you want to win a prize? The first 5 people who call into the show to either celebrate a service star, to report a success they had in getting good service or who just make us laugh out loud will win prizes.

Now, for those of you who aren’t in Gaborone and who may be feeling a little left out then here’s something for you.

The first 5 people from outside Gaborone who write to us, or who email or fax us with anything similar will also win a prize. The prizes are really rather good so give it a go. You might win something fantastic!

We’ve had all sorts of donations to help us launch the new show including cash, vouchers and all sorts of merchandise. We’re also working with certain large donors on some seriously awesome prizes to be given away over the next few months so you better start listening in or just keep reading Mmegi!

In total we want to give away a staggering P4,000 next week and if you want a share of this then you had better either listen in or start writing to us!

This week’s stars!

  • Lungi and Livingstone from Air Botswana in Johannesburg for going out of their way to solve a problem that wasn’t even of their making. Another airline (that will remain nameless but they also fly between Jo’burg and Gaborone) managed to completely screw up our reader’s flight and then demonstrated absolutely no interest in fixing the problem. When they heard about it our two Air Botswana heroes stepped in and took ownership of the problem and fixed it. That’s not just maturity, that’s fantastic!
  • Last week we managed to misspell the name of someone we were celebrating so here goes again! Omphile and Tlhabano at the Department of Road Transport who helped a visiting expatriate from Canada to sort out a driving licence issue. Our reader says that Omphile and Kabano “surpassed the level of customer service that I am used to in Canada”. See, we are as good as, if not better than the rest of the world when we try!
  • Dipsy from Musica at Game for going out of her way to fix a problem that a customer brought in that had actually occurred in Rustenburg. However Dipsy showed the mature approach and took personal responsibility.

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