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Are We Losing Hope For Excellent Customer Service?

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By Mihigo Davidson

Looking at the customer service trends in Uganda, one can comfortably conclude that it will take long before businesses improve on their service. Going for lunch and a meal takes 30minutes or more, making an inquiry and a service rep sarcastically answering you, the fuel pump attendant ruthlessly calling you (customer) to order, a cashier somewhere looking at you like you are crazy, all these actions are common to any person who has been and is still in Uganda.

Most right thinking Ugandans attribute this wide trend to poor staff motivation and little pay to be more specific.

To these, how do you explain going to an orange shop and someone says they don’t have change hence they can’t serve you, considering that someone working in such a shop doesn’t earn below $300. Do they want the customer to go out and look for change? What happened to aggressive selling and helping a customer? Is it possible that employees don’t see the link between excellent customer satisfaction and their quality of livelihood?

In my view this answers the question of customer care in Uganda.

Later this year, I’ll be marking 5 years working in the professional service sector. Having worked in different capacities from a service rep in my early days to sales manager, creative director, marketing manager and recently GM, I can authoritatively say that the main person to blame in ALL cases of poor service is the Business Owner.

You see, when you start a business, you have a vision. One of the vision intelligent entrepreneurs have is for the business to run with or without the business owner being around, that means even if the Founder dies, the business should run as smoothly as possible at the same or faster growth rate.

In the beginning, the business is good, customer service, excellent, this attracts customers and hence more money trickling in. Before you know it, the owner can afford employing a manager to run the business as she/he takes care of other priorities which could be personal or business related.

But the major failure in this transition is failing to pass on the exact vision of the company to this manager and the whole team. Ugandans hate passing on their vision!! Before you know it, the manager is implementing his/her own version of the vision, this is coupled with the fact that Ugandans fear employing professional managers in which case they could have a better or finer vision.
Things like team building, staff motivation, training staff, monitoring and evaluation and various internal activities geared to improving service are done by a few businesses in Uganda yet still not to the mark.

This in the long run increases customer retention and consequently increases sales and profit margins for the owner who should re-invest in the business to better services (one of them increasing salaries) and thereby increasing referrals/customers, before you know it, the business is booming with excellent service. Then the business expands and so on and so forth.
The other problem is that Owners will want to buy a posh car as soon as the account figures are on the rise, when employees see you with a new posh car when their salaries haven’t increased, they feel cheated. You owe them an explanation; after all they are running your business.

In conclusion, if employers can show employees the service life circle, showing them how excellent service affects their ‘take-home’, then probably customer service would greatly improve.

cicle

The writer is a customer service consultant.

Email: mihigodavidson@gmail.com

 

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The MultiChoice Talent Factory announces MTF Academy Class of 2019

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By Staff Writer

MultiChoice Africa is thrilled to announce that the final students for the MultiChoice Talent Factory (MTF) Academy Class of 2019 have been chosen. After a two-month long rigorous selection process across 13 African countries, 60 aspiring filmmakers representing East Africa, Southern Africa and West Africa will begin their 12-month training programme at the MTF Academies in Nairobi, Lusaka & Lagos in October this year.

The final candidates were selected after a rigorous interview and adjudication process by film and television experts, as well as regional Academy Directors Njoki Muhoho (East Africa), Berry Lwando (Southern Africa) and Femi Odugbemi (West Africa). Launched in May 2018 as part of MultiChoice Africa’s ground-breaking corporate shared value (CSV) initiative, the MTF Academy is a 12-month fully-funded training programme aimed at upskilling the next generation of passionate young film creatives. As the first touchpoint of the shared-value initiative, the academy’s curriculum was tailored alongside MultiChoice Africa partner institutions Pan-Atlantic University in Lekki, Kenyatta University in Nairobi, and the University of Zambia in Lusaka, which will respectively confer the course qualification upon completion of the academy programme.

In addition, The Henley Business School offers an orientation intervention to the students at the beginning and end of the 12-month programme. The appetite for training opportunities across Africa is massive within the creative film and TV industry, according to MultiChoice Talent Factory Director Cheryl Uys-Allie, which is exactly why the MTF Academy programme was launched.“As one of the few industry players that not only tell African stories but also invest in them, the need for a dynamic training programme such as the MTF Academy has been a long time coming. As MultiChoice Africa, we always ask ourselves: what’s next in the industry, and how can we better prepare for it? The MTF Academy was the answer to that question: By giving young Africans the chance to hone their television and film production skills,” says Uys-Allie.The Class of 2019 is hot on the heels of the inaugural Class of 2018, who are ready to graduate and have their first films screened on M-Net channels and Showmax.

This year’s class will reap the additional rewards of -new partnerships between the MTF Academy and Jasco Broadcast Solutions as well as Nihilent with its connection to Bollywood, as well as existing partnerships with the New York Film Academy College of Visual & Performing Arts (NYFA), DOLBY Institute and Universal Music Nigeria (UMG). As part of their curriculum, the 2019 candidates will also be exposed to the MTF Masterclasses, aimed at upskilling industry professionals and emerging creatives alike by offering exclusive access to practical, expert-led industry skills workshops across the 13 participating countries. Here’s to another year of investing directly in Africa’s dynamic storytelling spirit through the MTF Academy!

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Supa Sigiri’s Relieve Households In Uganda Of Annual Excessive Charcoal Expenses

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By Staff Writer

The Government of Uganda through the Uganda Clean Cooking Supply Chain Expansion Project, a Government of Uganda project, implemented by Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) is encouraging the public to use improved cook stoves dubbed ‘Supa Sigiris’ designed to use less charcoal, emit less smoke and cook faster than the ordinary cooking stoves found in most homes. Currently, Supa Sigiri’s can relieve their users of at least 360,000Ushs worth of annual charcoal expenses.

According to the 2016/2017 Uganda National Household Survey, almost every household in the country either uses charcoal or firewood for cooking, revealing that the dependency on firewood as a source of energy is straining the environment locally, regionally and globally. Ordinary Sigiri’s emit large amounts of black carbon which in the long run contribute to global warming. 

The collective benefits of using any of the Supa Sigiri types are;

  • Supa Sigiris use less charcoal,
  • Supa Sigiris cooking time is greatly reduced thus making them a faster means of meal preparation,
  • Supa Sigiris emit less smoke, and therefore reduce the risk of health issues household members may face in association with smoke fumes released within the home, 
  • Supa Sigiris also ensure a cleaner and safer environment generally in the home because of their unique design.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Capital FM Cook off with Supa Sigiri held last Friday, 23rd August 2019, Michael Oboth Sales Personnel for the Envirofit and Ecozoom cook stoves explained that the Envirofit and Ecozoom are a product of a World Bank research to combat climatic change which has become a global concern. ‘Both Envirofit and Ecozoom cook stoves save consumption rate of fuel by 58%, have a 78% faster cooking rate and 82% smoke reduction.’ Oboth added that one can cook with the Envirofit cook stove in the comfort of one’s choice:  on top of plastic tables, woollen carpets or tiles and they will not cause a fire outbreak.’

Biolite cook stove Representative Uganda Andrew Abacha said, ‘Biolite improved cook stoves can uniquely charge your phone or light up as you cook. It uses minimal amounts of firewood which in the long run addresses environmental, health and financial challenges. It also saves its users money as they need firewood worth only 500 Ushs to cook with every day.’

Charles Akamanya, Sales Representative and Project Development Officer for the Potential Energy cook stove said, ‘The Potential Energy cook stove is versatile, uses both charcoal and firewood, cooks at double the speed and comes with two provisions for cooking both at the top and bottom.’


Debbi Nansumba, Project Officer for the Smart Home Supa Sigiri Cookstove said that being part of the Uganda Clean Cooking Supply Chain Expansion Project has generally created awareness for the cook stoves and widened the market. She called upon the public to use Supa Sigiris cook stoves because of their benefits that make them unique from ordinary sigiris.

Mugwanya Ahmed the Sales Representative for Ugastove cook stoves said, ‘Ugastoves are durable, can work for 4 years, have less carbon emission, save energy and use less charcoal than ordinary sigiris.’

The Supa Sigiris come in 7 brands and are priced as follows:


Stove typePrice (UGX)
1Smart Home17,000

ILF Smart Home17,000
2Ugastove charcoal stove  45,000

Ugastove dual stove45,000
3Ecozoom Jiko Fresh125,000

Ecozoom Jiko Bora165,000
4Envirofit Super saver charcoal stove200,000

Envirofit Charcoal stove170,000
5Biolite Home stove 2180,000
Potential Energy: Berkley Darfur stove95,000
7BURN Jikokoa150,000

BURN Kunikoa150,000

Any of the 7 Supa Sigiri’s can be bought either by cash or loan (PSFU is reaching out to the various office SACCO’s in and around Kampala for the member credit facility option). Supa Sigiri’s sale points around Kampala and Wakiso can be accessed at the following locations: 

  • Shop No. 4 located at Wandegeya market building, Northern wing,
  • Johnrich supermarket Kabalagala entrance,
  • Bugolobi market entrance, 
  • Nakawa market, charcoal entrance shop No. 278, 
  • Seeta Trading Centre next to Stanbic bank ATM.
  • Capital Shoppers Ntinda and Nakawa Entrance
  • Kasubi Market opposite Kobil Petrol Station

Supa Sigiri’s can also be ordered via the phone on 0783813902; via SMS to 8008, Type Sigiri [leave space] your location and send; Email: info@supasigiri.co.ug; or by visiting the website www.supasigiri.co.ug. The Supa Sigiri’s are also available on the JumiaUG shop.

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Breeze Serenity Saloon and Spa, a perfect one stop serene place for all your body care

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By Staff Writer

Not so many places around town will have you get all your body services at a one stop. Serenity Saloon and Spa is one of those places that will not need you place to place, the Kimathi based Saloon and Spa has services ranging from makeup, weaving, braids, dreadlocks, massage, pedicure & manicure, facial, body scrub, hair treatment, tattoos and physiotherapy services.

From those that have been at the place, the customer care is excellent and in a conducive and mind relaxing environment that has FREE WIFI. Because we have been there to experience the ambiance, the place is convenient for all classes of people including the working class because it opens through all 24 hours.

While is remains a classy saloon and Spa the charges are relatively friendly. Breeze Serenity Saloon and Spa is located at Kimathi Avenue, Pan African House, next to Kampala Casino.

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