Customer Disservice: Consumer Watchcat Perspective

There are victims of violence. Victims of sexual abuse. There are victims of gender-based violence (GBV) which is generally accepted as female. You cannot be male and be a victim of GBV. That is just plain violence. At least that is the standard that obtains on these shores.

There are other victims we hardly ever talk about. Radio Botswana (RB) never talks about them. RB 2 never does either. Not even their elder sibling BTV. There are no rights group formed specifically for this to fight the victims’ cause. There are no NGOs trying to source the usual donations from the international community that are so hard to account for. These are victims of poor customer service! What we are experiencing on a daily basis is not customer service. At best it is customer disservice.

Getting exceptional customer service is like looking for a needle in the Gamodubu Landfill. The checkout staff routinely treat you like you are a great inconvenience to store procedure. And just pray to God that your change is not 5t or 10t.

In Checkout School they are taught not to return such amounts to customers and keep quiet. Should you have the testicular fortitude to ask for it you will be at the receiving end of a torrent of subtle, snide and choice remarks.


I once went into a store to buy a toaster and asked for recommendations from the store assistant. The store assistant running on high-octane arrogance fuel coolly replied ‘a cheap one’. Ok there is probably nothing wrong with that, but saying that to someone whose bank balance is challenged reeks of the highest level of nasty.

So I did not buy the toaster just to sabotage her sideshow. I took my chances with the angry wife and concocted a story to present when I got back home. All the time I was praying to God to give me patience, because if He gave me strength then I would also need bail money.

Government departments are no better. It seems there’s a silent rule to make the nastiest, laziest, uncooperative individual interface with customers. If you are not being served by a customer service person who probably got a U at a customer service course, you will be served by someone who looks like they have swallowed a truck full of bitter lemons.

As soon as customer service staff realise your wallet is wafer-thin the courtesy will disappear like a rainbow t-shirt at an LBGT meeting. But times are changing and they have to be careful with this. The Cashless Movement means we do not carry wads of cash in our wallets but instead we carry plastic cards. Also the guys in our alleyways and traffic lights who are the unofficial Cashless Society enforcers have ensured that the reluctant ones are dragged into the Cashless movement kicking and screaming. Literally.

A few bashed car windows, some minor and major bruises et al and the target becomes a convert. This is surely not the way it should be though, but it is more effective than the marketing campaigns that the banking sector usually runs. We have situations in our clinics where the attitude and disposition of service personnel make ‘I am a nurse’ sound dangerously close to ‘I’m an a**’. Bottom line is we are tired of being treated like we are made of Hitler molecules. We have some money on us most of the time and that should count for something. Must count for something.

(For comments, feedback and insults email [email protected])

Editor's Comment
What about employees in private sector?

How can this be achieved when there already is little care about the working conditions of those within the private sector employ?For a long time, private sector employees have been neglected by their employers, not because they cannot do better to care for them, but because they take advantage of government's laxity when it comes to protecting and advocating for public sector employees, giving the cue to employers within the private sector...

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