I hate to write such a negative headline about my birth country, but lying doesn’t really help anyone does it? Unless it’s one of those lies you tell so that you don’t hurt someone’s feelings, but as I’m hoping for my country to progress, it makes no sense to sugar coat the issues. The reality is that customer service in this country is not only bad, it’s appalling. Actually it’s just non-existent.

My friend, who moved back to Zambia about 18 months ago, told me that she spent the first six months angry, largely as the result of the terrible customer care. I laughed at first but by the end of the long weekend (Tuesday), I realised that we can’t sit back and continue to allow this to happen, and that we need to seriously start speaking out and demanding better service.

The problem is that generally people accept the poor service and complain among their friends or anyone else who will listen except maybe the manager. People have recounted many examples of shocking services – an internet providers customer care person hanging up on a client, a waitress demanding an explanation for what bad attitude she was giving a client, a sales person telling off a client for telling her to get off her personal call, and just told the counter person asking me if i can’t see that she’s given my three napkins (i paraphrase) and the list goes on, but still nothing changes.

Zambia has launched a rebrand for its tourist industry with the tagline Let’s Explore Zambia, it is a great viable opportunity for our economy other than focussing on a depreciating mineral like copper, but who wants a tourist destination that will have you pulling out your hair as a result of poor and frustrating service. It just spoils the beauty of a place when you get annoyed by bad service. Rude people does not endear you to any place.

After my annoyance today, I’ve decided that for sure I can no longer keep quiet and just take it, if it means I will continuously have to be calling the manager or explaining to the person in question why their attitude and/or service is poor then that is what I will do. It is unacceptable in this day and age for people to have to be treated badly by people working in the service industry – if you don’t want to smile, be friendly or even talk to people, then don’t work in the service industry!

It really is the small things that make a difference, but until we, as the customers, realise the power we have and start using it to demand better (really just acceptable) services! And this is what I have decided to do, one person really can make a difference (as long as others follow suit!). I’ll let you know how it works out.

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