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.
The writer is a customer service consultant.
Uganda Breweries partners with Kabaka Foundation to construct sanitation facilities in city markets
By Our Reporter
In a bid to improve the sanitation and hygiene that are health concerns in Kampala markets, Uganda Breweries Limited has launched a sanitation project that will see the brewery construct modern public sanitation facilities for the residents and traders of Nakulabye, Katwe, Mengo and Mulago Markets.
The project dubbed the “Kampala City Markets water and Sanitation” has been done in partnership with the Kabaka Foundation, which is an NGO presided over by His Majesty the Kabaka of Buganda. The 3 months project which is part of UBL’s “Water of Life” initiative will cost UGX 300 Million and will benefit over 26,000 people.
Under this project, each Market will get a modern sanitation facility with eights units; a toilet for people with disabilities, a washroom for men and women, three urinal bowls for men, one shared attendants room, a water reservoir of 5000 liters, a 1000 liter over- head tank and a water pump.
Speaking during the ground breaking ceremony at Nakulabye Market, Uganda Breweries Managing Director Mark Ocitti said, “Access to clean sanitation facilities is critical to the health and prosperity of our communities, and yet, too many people especially in the markets around the city do not have access to these basic services. Uganda Breweries is proud to partner with the Kabaka Foundation to reform and improve the lives of more than 26,000 people who live and work around these markets.”
Ocitti noted that this project is not the first done in partnership with the Buganda Kingdom. “UBL and the Kingdom have a long standing partnership to brew Ngule beer, the Kingdoms official beer. The beer is made from cassava and sorghum all of which are sourced locally from Buganda Kingdom.”
In his remarks, Owekitibwa Chris Bwanika, a Trustee in the Kabaka Foundation said, “This project marks another milestone in achieving Kabaka foundation’s aim of improving sanitation. Kampala city markets have dilapidated sanitation facilities and with the construction of these new facilities, we will now be able to address the problem of poor sanitation and the consequent spread of diseases among the residents, especially the children.”
Uganda Breweries Limited has in the past years run similar projects. In 2017, the company constructed public sanitation facilities worth UGX 300 million at Port Bell and Kirombe markets. The project benefits over 12,000 residents, traders and visitors to the two areas. UBL has also previously constructed sanitation facilities in Ggaba market and Kinawataka market.
Sheraton hosts Muslim community to iftar dinner
By Our Reporter
Sheraton Kampala Hotel treated the Muslim community to iftar dinner as they broke their fast on Thursday evening. The dinner was held to thank their Muslim partners, clients and guests for the continued support to the hotel and to also wish them blessings during this holy month of Ramadan.
The dinner was a blend of Middle Eastern and Ugandan cuisine consisting of special and customized meals of starter, salads, condiments & dressing, soups, main course, carving, dessert and a variety of drinks.
While addressing the guests during the dinner, the General Manager, Sheraton Kampala Hotel, Jean-Philippe Bittencourt encouraged the Muslims to keep up with the good spirit of brotherhood as they observe this Ramadan. He further thanked them for the immeasurable support to the Sheraton hotel and encouraged them to work as a team for peace and unity to be realized.
“To observe, this holy month, the hotel has set aside a special prayer place where our employees, guests and customers can say their prayer and break their fast. We have a designated area at the Victoria Restaurant where they can have a lavish buffet as they break their fast from Monday to Saturday,” Mr. Jean Philippe Bittencourt further noted.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and, is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting to commemorate the first revelation of the Quran to Muhammad, according to Islamic belief. Muslims are expected to put more effort into following the teachings of Islam with the fast beginning at dawn and ending at set.
Sheraton hotel during this holy month of Ramadan has special daily Iftar menu packages for individuals, families, groups and companies hosting their Muslim clients or customers to a special dinner.
V-Power weekend is back
By Our Reporter
“V-Power Weekend”, a promotion that allows customers to purchase Shell V-Power at the same price as regular fuel, is back.
Launched in March this year, the promotion is open to all Shell customers and is available at over 80 Shell stations countrywide. The offer runs for the entire weekend starting Friday morning to Sunday evening.
“This promotional offer is aimed at getting car owners to try the advanced fuel formulation and experience the thrilling power and performance of our premium fuel Shell V-Power,” said Emmanuel Ssebunya, Brand Manager Fuels at Vivo Energy Uganda. “Shell’s new fuels contain exclusive DYNAFLEX Technology which helps clean and protect key components in vehicle engines, reduces friction between the piston and cylinder wall, reduces possibility of engine knock leading to better engine efficiency and performance.”
The V-Power Weekend offer will run every month till December 2019 to give as many motorists as possible an opportunity to experience Shell premium fuels.
“Whatever car you drive, wherever you are going, visit a Shell station to get a full tank of Premium Shell V-Power at the price of regular fuel and GO WELL,” he added.
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