I asked myself the other day, are people listening? Do businesses care? I found the answer by doing some serious eavesdropping. I told you na, che-che poly, da my name.
I visited a popular bank in the heart of Sinkor last week (No Name No Blame) and overheard a conversation (or argument) between the customer and the bank employee, who happened to be a “manager.” The customer was complaining that she had withdrew some money on her business or corporate account, but didn’t realize one of the $100 bill was torn and attached with a tape. She explained to the bank manager that she only found out that the bill was torn and attached with tape when she tried to use it twice. The bank manager asked the customer to point out the teller who had given her the money. The customer did.
The bank manager asked the customer how the bank knows for certain she got the money from their bank. And I’m thinking to myself, if she is going through this much trouble to exchange the bill, why don’t you give her the benefit of the doubt. What was even more surprising, although this customer told him she had a corporate/business account, he never bothered to ask her name or look up her account. He went as far as telling her the next time she should not only count the money, but she should make sure it is not counterfeit. He said he couldn’t help her and walked away from her.
I kept thinking, this poor dim-witted bank “manager”, what kind of example are you setting for your staff? We, the customer should now be checking for counterfeit? What’s next, we should also go and get our money from your vault as well? Nevertheless, the customer marched right upstairs and spoke with the MD, and problem was solved. A customer behind me was laughing the entire time. He said, “she needs to call Ma Hawa”. I turned around and pretended not to know what he was talking about. In my best acting role, I asked who was Ma Hawa, and if she worked for the bank? The customer told me where to find Ma Hawa. I couldn’t help but smile.
Visitation to many of these banking institutions in Monrovia is like punishment for most of us. We dread going to them and being overlooked and/or disrespected. It’s bad enough that the tellers are slow, inattentive, unfriendly, and not knowledgeable. It’s even worse when you see the managers behaving rudely.
As I watched the interaction between the Big Shot bank manager and the customer, I wanted to interrupt and offer the manager a quick advice on how to handle the situation in a more diplomatic manner.
First, ask the customer for her name and account information. Explain to the customer that you don’t usually do this, but you are willing to make an exception this time only.
Most customers aren’t trying to rip off you. Most, especially not a customer who is asking to “exchange” a $100 bill. You know very well, this situation doesn’t occur often. You are the expert who was put in charge to help fix problems. You were not assigned a role simply to fill a seat and show off your nice suit and tie. Good service isn’t about fancy suits and ties, it’s about being genuine, loyal, friendly and assisting the customer in a respectfully and courteous manner. Although that angry customer didn’t know Ma Hawa, I felt it was my civil duty to tell her story.
Disclaimer: The views expressed by Ma Hawa to any specific corporation, firm, product, or service, or the use of any trade, firm or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public, does not constitute endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the Daily Observer and their staff.
I would Love to Hear from You
Response to Letters
Last week’s article “Wild Wild West” was an interesting one. I received some response from several readers.
I received a letter from one of the readers requesting that I take on “employees”. At first, I felt one letter from an employer was a little suspect. I thought the letter might have been from one of our businesses we had talked about, No Name No Blame. Either way, it is someone reaching out to at least explain some of the reasons as to why customer service is not a term familiar and/or appreciate enough by most entities who are in the business of serving customers.