Partnerships key to improving customer service

Ben Dehwa
Ben Dehwa

A strong partnership between customers and service providers is a key component in enhancing customer service for any business, says Air Botswana general manager. Speaking at the 2015 Consumer Watchdog conference in Gaborone yesterday, Ben Dahwa said customer service is about partnership and should be carefully maintained.

Dahwa said customer partnership is more than ‘putting customers first’ or finding mutually satisfactory solutions to shared problems. He also said it also requires commitment to forging long-term relationships that create synergies of knowledge, security and adaptability for both parties.

“Businesses today should become much more creative and flexible in their dealings with customers to give them exactly what they want without delay,” he said.

Dahwa also said creating a partnership with customers would help businesses maintain the focus they need to make good decisions and harness the power and commitment they need to weather volatile times.

The general manager explained that partnering with customers represents a business’ capacity to anticipate what customers need even before they know they need it. He indicated that most successful businesses are those that are in partnership of some sort.

Dahwa said at Air Botswana they are committed to service excellence and that from the moment a customer calls into airport’s reservations offices, to the time they bid them farewell, they deliver high quality service. “Our sales staff are fully trained to efficiently handle your reservations while the airport ground staff swiftly and pleasantly checks you in for your flight and upon boarding, one enjoys the most pleasant and professional in-flight service in the region,” he said. Kate Harriman, Consumer Watchdog co-director said their organisation is always inundated with griviences from people complaining about poor customer service.  “Our goal is to educate consumers about their rights and responsibility and that they should read contracts before they sign them,” she said.

Similarly, she said service providers also have the responsibility to explain contracts to consumers before they sign them.

Harriman also said she intends to dispel perceptions that there is poor customer service in Botswana, adding that the Setswana culture will help when it comes to customer service.

“I think it helps us because we are a polite nation, respectful and courteous which are the attributes needed for customer service,” she said.

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