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March 2007

Customer Care College

Face_of_africal_2The remarks below are from aspiring actor and documentary filmmaker, Wanjiku m., of Nairobi made in response to an earlier Business Turnaround blog post titled, What Customers Want.

Personal attention is very important and here in Nairobi Kenya, it is highly lacking. Many are the times I go to a restaurant or a shop and I want to pull out my hair because half the time the person behind the counter really doesn't care what you want. So long as you give them money for their products, they really couldn't care less how you are doing or if you are a regular customer. One of my dreams is to hopefully open up a customer care college in the heart of Nairobi and have the government pass a law that will force all service industry professional attend at least one semester to learn how to deal with I said, a dream :) . Anyway, I long for the day my waiter will say "Hi Wanjiku, will you be having the usual?" cause it really doesn't happen here.

It doesn’t happen here much either, Wanjiku. Your idea, though, for a customer care college is inspiring. Imagine if the Chamber of Commerce and the Visitors Center got together and came up a plan for training the staff in all of the businesses along the main corridors through the city. It could be a customer care program specifically focused on how to be gracious and helpful to visitors.
Soon your town’s reputation would grow as a friendly place to stop and shop.  So Wanjiku, you dream isn’t so far fetched at all. Imagine what a forward-thinking Chamber of Commerce could accomplish by following these three steps.

  1. Chamber and Visitor’s Center invests in a customer care program that focuses on training individuals to have good verbal communications and interpersonal skills.
  2. Map the restaurants, service stations, and convenience stores located along major corridors that pass through the city.
  3. Provide the customer care program free to the merchants marked on the map. Encourage collaboration between business owners. Provide multi-channel methods for receiving the training program. Example: Off-site, on-site, or online seminars.

Abilene, Texas executed a similar program in its reinvention effort to become a hub for tourists traveling across state. Today you’ll find Abilene listed in the Top 10 Leisure Destinations of Texas alongside metropolises like Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio.