Tue | Nov 13, 2018

Time to revamp customer service in Jamaica

Published:Saturday | November 1, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Time to revamp customer service in Jamaica


After sojourning overseas for a number of months, I grew accustomed to first-class customer service.

It was refreshing to have customer representatives in the United States of America and Asia treat me with the greatest cordiality.

I was confounded by the warm smiles, the unfailing

show of enthusiasm, respect, attentiveness and efficient

service offered at almost every entity with which I conducted business.

During one of my layovers, I decided to dine at a notable restaurant. Wanting to experiment with the fares, I ordered an unusual entree. It appeared rather sumptuous on the menu, but,after partaking, I pronounced it unpalatable. The food was incredibly salty and spicy!

I feared an embarrassing fracas, so, for about five minutes, I sat silently and forced my mouth open with the unsavoury morsels. Eventually, I gave up and politely expressed my displeasure to the waitress. She was extremely apologetic. I was stunned! She even recommended a different dish, and offered a refund. Instantly, I thought of Jamaica and the 'cass-cass' that would have likely ensued.

Of course, in preparing to return to Jamaica, I had to recondition my mind to

deal with the frowns, aggression, inefficiency and disrespect regularly served at most establishments.

The lady at the telecommunications company outside the airport certainly didn't deliberate in getting me re-acclimatised to the rampant hostility here. She contorted her face, hissed her teeth, and stared at me disdainfully the entire time she tried to activate my phone.

Her expressions brought me down memory lane. As I waited patiently, I remembered the man who gave me a homophobic label after I examined a blouse he was selling, but later decided against buying it. I remembered the I-cannot-be-bothered and lady-what-you-want voices on the other end of line when I called some of our local ministries.

I remembered the lady

downtown Kingston who 'cuss mi propa' because I touched her ripe mangoes, realised they were soft, and opted against the purchase. I remembered my unanswered emails to a certain tertiary institution that is deemed well-acclaimed, and, finally, I remembered I was home and needed to readapt.

Fellow Jamaicans, we need to revamp our approach to customer service. There are too many of us who continually treat customers based on their epidermal and socio-economic complexion. This must end!

We cannot intend to maintain productive businesses when we treat our supporters poorly. It is time we train our employees properly and dismiss persons who repeatedly undermine or disrespect consumers.