Why Trinis Still Get Bad Customer Service

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The customer is always right. Right? So I can’t be wrong when I say that we often get piss poor customer service in Trinidad and Tobago.
From the KFC girl who might give you a serving of attitude along with the Cruncher combo you waited on, to the salesgirl in a clothes store who might rub you the wrong way or give you a ‘yeah wha yuh want’ look, these sorts of experiences are common for almost everyone. I’m sure that no business deliberately sets out with the goal of providing bad customer service, but that is what happens day in, day out. What I’d like to know, is why do we experience it year in, year out?
If it’s one thing we Trinis are known for, it’s our penchant for a confrontation. The minute we feel we’re getting the short end of the stick, we cuss and ‘carry on’, until we get what we want. Everyone in close proximity needs to know of the injustice we’ve experienced. So it’s ironic that we tend to be quite fickle or downright complacent when it comes to customer service. We either let bad customer service slide, or spew out green verbs for five minutes, and forget the whole thing a few minutes later. Then the next day we’re at it again, waiting in line for the same treatment to be dished out.
We all would agree that good customer service is defined by honesty, quality, efficiency and personal attention. Bad customer service, however, involves wasting the customer’s time, dishonesty, poor quality, and a lack of accountability whenever an adverse situation arises – especially when customer service representatives take their issues out on us.
Consumers probably have the most important role when it comes to bad customer service. So although we Trinis may complain about it, we have to ask ourselves whether our complacency about taking action is the real cause for its continued existence. Businesses that don’t seek to improve their service obviously deserve blame. However, is it also our fault because we don’t stand up for ourselves enough? If more of us demanded better service, would things change?
Few people actually stand up for themselves when business establishments treat them poorly. Tell me. How many of you would leave a store or restaurant when we realise early on that staff has a poor attitude. How many of you demand your one cent or five cents in change when we pay $29.99 or $29.95 for an item, or complain when KFC or Marios delivers your meal an hour late and demand that “after 30 minutes, it’s free?”
I have a friend who refuses to make a purchase,, whenever she gets poor customer service. So every time she has a bad experience, she saves money. Not many of us would stick to our consumer activist guns like that. As a matter of fact, not many of us would call the Consumer Affairs Division or the Bureau of Standards to lodge a complaint. (Yes… I know. I know. It’s a long, bureaucratic process to actually lodge a complaint, which makes you feel like not exerting the effort).
No matter what role one may consume in the exchange of goods and services, the onus is on everyone to play their part. Can we really fix the problem of poor customer service by placing full responsibility on businesses? I think not. It’s definitely a two-fold solution requiring the customer knowing what she or he deserves, and the business owner understanding the importance of the ‘happy customer’.
As a realist, I’d say if we, as consumers, can’t depend on businesses to get it right, then we need to learn how to take action for ourselves, and, hopefully, if enough of us start doing it, businesses that dish out poor service will be forced to improve.
As the customer, it’s your right to be doted on by the company you choose to give your hard-earned money to. I’m not talking about going to .the extreme of taking advantage of the saying “The customer is always right”, or salespersons or customer service representatives, as servants instead of equals (and yes there are customers who do that). All I’m saying is that if you’re not happy with how you’ve been treated, it is your responsibility to let the business know.  Here’s how you do it effectively:
* Stay calm. Becoming irate will hurt your chances of having your problem solved.
* Be specific about your complaint when you are speaking to a customer service representative.
* Ask to speak to a superior if necessary. They will usually have more options available to effectively fix your problem.
* Offer suggestions. Sometimes the solution isn’t immediately recognisable in the heat of a dispute.
* Accept that you may have to compromise. In some cases, the solution that you are seeking may be beyond the highest authority at the time of the incident.  In this case though, you should definitely follow up with a superior.
* Write a letter to the company or business owner. Make sure that you include your initial problem, the names of everyone you spoke with, your specific customer service complaints, your proposed solution and your contact information.
* If all else fails, go somewhere else. Taking your business elsewhere will make a powerful statement.
As consumers, we should use our buying power responsibly. As Trinbagonians, we should learn to defend our right to great service. So tell me, do you think that we need to stand up for our consumer rights more? What has been your worst customer experience? Did you do something about it?

 

The customer is always right. Right? So I can’t be wrong when I say that we often get piss poor customer service in Trinidad and Tobago.

From the KFC girl who might give you a serving of attitude along with the Cruncher combo you waited on, to the salesgirl in a clothes store who might rub you the wrong way or give you a ‘yeah wha yuh want’ look, these sorts of experiences are common for almost everyone. I’m sure that no business deliberately sets out with the goal of providing bad customer service, but that is what happens day in, day out. What I’d like to know, is why do we experience it year in, year out?

If it’s one thing we Trinis are known for, it’s our penchant for a confrontation. The minute we feel we’re getting the short end of the stick, we cuss and ‘carry on’, until we get what we want. Everyone in close proximity needs to know of the injustice we’ve experienced. So it’s ironic that we tend to be quite fickle or downright complacent when it comes to customer service. We either let bad customer service slide, or spew out green verbs for five minutes, and forget the whole thing a few minutes later. Then the next day we’re at it again, waiting in line for the same treatment to be dished out.

We all would agree that good customer service is defined by honesty, quality, efficiency and personal attention. Bad customer service, however, involves wasting the customer’s time, dishonesty, poor quality, and a lack of accountability whenever an adverse situation arises – especially when customer service representatives take their issues out on us.

“If more of us demanded better service, would things change?”

Consumers probably have the most important role when it comes to bad customer service. So although we Trinis may complain about it, we have to ask ourselves whether our complacency about taking action is the real cause for its continued existence. Businesses that don’t seek to improve their service obviously deserve blame. However, is it also our fault because we don’t stand up for ourselves enough? If more of us demanded better service, would things change?

Few people actually stand up for themselves when business establishments treat them poorly. Tell me. How many of you would leave a store or restaurant when we realise early on that staff has a poor attitude. How many of you demand your one cent or five cents in change when we pay $29.99 or $29.95 for an item, or complain when KFC or Marios delivers your meal an hour late and demand that “after 30 minutes, it’s free?”

“How many… complain when KFC or Marios delivers your meal an hour late and demand that “after 30 minutes, it’s free?”

I have a friend who refuses to make a purchase, whenever she gets poor customer service. So every time she has a bad experience, she saves money. Not many of us would stick to our consumer activist guns like that. As a matter of fact, not many of us would call the Consumer Affairs Division or the Bureau of Standards to lodge a complaint. (Yes… I know. I know. It’s a long, bureaucratic process to actually lodge a complaint, which makes you feel like not exerting the effort).

No matter what role one may consume in the exchange of goods and services, the onus is on everyone to play their part. Can we really fix the problem of poor customer service by placing full responsibility on businesses? I think not. It’s definitely a two-fold solution requiring the customer knowing what she or he deserves, and the business owner understanding the importance of the ‘happy customer’.

As a realist, I’d say if we, as consumers, can’t depend on businesses to get it right, then we need to learn how to take action for ourselves, and, hopefully, if enough of us start doing it, businesses that dish out poor service will be forced to improve.

As the customer, it’s your right to be doted on by the company you choose to give your hard-earned money to. I’m not talking about going to .the extreme of taking advantage of the saying “The customer is always right”, or salespersons or customer service representatives, as servants instead of equals (and yes there are customers who do that). All I’m saying is that if you’re not happy with how you’ve been treated, it is your responsibility to let the business know.

Here’s how you do it effectively:

  • Stay calm. Becoming irate will hurt your chances of having your problem solved.
  • Be specific about your complaint when you are speaking to a customer service representative.
  • Ask to speak to a superior if necessary. They will usually have more options available to effectively fix your problem.
  • Offer suggestions. Sometimes the solution isn’t immediately recognisable in the heat of a dispute.
  • Accept that you may have to compromise. In some cases, the solution that you are seeking may be beyond the highest authority at the time of the incident.  In this case though, you should definitely follow up with a superior.
  • Write a letter to the company or business owner. Make sure that you include your initial problem, the names of everyone you spoke with, your specific customer service complaints, your proposed solution and your contact information.
  • If all else fails, go somewhere else. Taking your business elsewhere will make a powerful statement.

As consumers, we should use our buying power responsibly. As Trinbagonians, we should learn to defend our right to great service. So tell me, do you think that we need to stand up for our consumer rights more? What has been your worst customer experience? Did you do something about it?

 

Joshua Ramirez Wharwood

Joshua Ramirez Wharwood is a Communications major at the University of the West Indies. Whenever he's not feeding his addiction to Skittles and Coca Cola, he immerses himself in all things digital. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/joachim365.

7 Comments

  1. Gayletrini

    January 17, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    I was going to submit a similar article. This is a pet peeve. Everytime I go back home I am annoyed by it.

    Great article, great tips.

    For customer service to change though I think the key thing for all of us to do is your last point. We should all find another option.
    Instead of all being sick of Royal Castle and their lack of service we should just boycott them they would wise up real quick.
    Well that is my 2 cents any way.

    • Triniinthebean

      October 25, 2013 at 2:47 pm

      I doh know bout that; Royal Castle Chicken is BOSS!!! Lol!

  2. Alicia

    January 18, 2011 at 4:14 am

    I have to agree that customer service in Trinidad leaves me shaking my head. I visited last year after being away for 10 years. There were a few instances that reminded me why I no longer live in the land of my birth.

    Good customer service does not consist of “Who sent you?”, the recital of your problem to 5 different people who have no solutions, but they just want to “maco”. It does not matter where I am but if I walk into your store, and looking for help that does not look like it is coming, I will turn around and walk out. It could be a hole in the wall or an exclusive department store. In the end it is my money and I will choose where to spend it. Chances are I will be a repeat customer if I am given good customer service.

  3. christine

    January 18, 2011 at 10:34 pm

    ah get plenty, plenty MAD
    wen dey have attitude oh gad!
    for MY money ah wuk hard
    so doh gimme yuh face bad!
    ah go walk out & cuss hard
    doh go back to dat pad….
    poor service….its soooo sad!!

  4. come on people

    January 21, 2011 at 9:14 am

    yeah, it boggles my mind how bad the customer service is in trinidad. it is crazy that the resturants run out of food, i know i am a spoiled american, but if you are open for business you should have what it takes to keep your business going. but people take it.

  5. Jag Joseph

    January 1, 2013 at 7:28 pm

    I made a telephone order to KFC ST. James from Camp Ogden in St James ……waited for an hour and a half before I made the phone call and they told me that the driver saw nobody so he left..I had to watch the phone in disbelief…IT IS A MILITARY CAMP HE WAS SUPPOSED TO DELIVER TO!! THERE IS ALWAYS A SENTRY BY THE MAIN GATE!!! AND THE SENTRY WAS BRIEFED ON THE DELIVERY AS WELL! SO WHAT STUPIDNESS ARE THEY TELLING ME!??..If anyone can give me a contact for whoever runs or the manager in charge of the customer service for KFC I would be most grateful…they need to get their reigns pulled to be in order…way over doint it…

  6. Gemma David

    March 17, 2016 at 11:36 am

    Thank you for this article Joshua. I shared it on the Facebook page of CSTD-tt.

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