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Service quality: What are the expectations?

Service quality is an achievement in customer service. It is what every organisation should endeavour to deliver to their customers and clients. It is what will bring about repeat business should clients be satisfied. Customers and clients form service expectations from past experiences, word of mouth and marketing communications.

brand savvy with Stha Magida

Air Zimbabwe
Air Zimbabwe

The cliché “experience is the best teacher” holds fast in most consumer experiences. With this knowledge at hand, no business in its best form should ever let a customer walk out of their premises totally unsatisfied. I tend to notice service quality a lot in my interactions with various businesses and I tend to critically analyse all my experiences, helping me form an opinion. As a thought leader in my spheres, this may also influence the decisions of those people around me knowingly or unknowingly. What is my point, one may ask? Well, it is that personnel representing a particular brand may not know who walks into their premises and how these people could impact their business. It is with that in mind that service must always be top notch. A trusted friend of mine this week went on Facebook to complain about his bank early this week. While he did not mention the bank by name, I immediately said to myself that those people who knew him well would probably know which bank he banks with. Given his status and role in society, he definitely can influence the decisions of his circle. His sentiments would have been taken seriously by me for example and if I ever needed to consider a bank for any business, I would definitely not choose the bank he was referring to. You see, while marketing communication efforts play a big role, the customer experience is far-reaching.

I had the great pleasure of experiencing excellent service of the Holiday Inn in Bulawayo last week. I must say that it is what I have come to expect of that brand. They are committed to ensuring the best in their service quality. Chiku Mulinde and his team need to be congratulated for this and with the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair around the corner with the possibility of having to prove themselves some more, I hope that they will bear this in mind and excel.

Another organisation that I am truly proud of in Bulawayo that I interact with quite frequently is the National Handling Service. Their service is quick and friendly. All my experiences with them have reminded me that it is how service organisations should treat their customers. This is not so with their sister company, Air Zimbabwe Interline Desk at the Harare International Airport. The gentleman who was manning the desk on March 26 at around 6am in the morning lived a lot to be desired. He seemed not to have woken up on the correct side of the bed. I witnessed a client ahead of me expressing his frustration at him. Little did I know that I would also experience my fair share. I walked to and from the domestic airport twice on the one day that I decided to wear high heeled sandals despite having explained to him that and being absolutely convinced that he had the answers to my service expectation right in his office. I was not pleased. What intrigued me the most is that he did not apologise for his lousy service acquittal, suggesting that to him this was just business as usual. Such bad attitudes spoil it for Air Zimbabwe as a whole. One bad apple can cause so much damage to a reputation that other employees are seriously trying to achieve. I am not sure how much training this gentleman has gone through but as I raked my memory I was almost persuaded that he has been with Air Zimbabwe for a long time.

Food Lovers at Sam Levy Village also gave me an experience to remember, particularly so because I was hosting visitors whom I consider very important. A waiter called Nkosi, pity I did not remember to ask his surname, gave service that was totally refreshing. He remained just as motivated from the time we sat at the restaurant to the time we left, which must have been close to three hours later. It is people like Nkosi who make the customer experience so wonderful. Kudos to this young man; his attitude will definitely take him to the top.

So much for service quality. Till next week, keep reading and remain brand savvy.

Stha Magida is a marketer by profession with experience spanning over 15 years. She writes in her personal capacity and is contactable on email:

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