Haji Sunday Manara a.k.a “De la Boss”, the spokesman of Tanzanian football giants Simba Sports Club recently reposed a moving statement by Instagrammer “malisa_gj,” in his official Instagram account about sordid customer care at hotels and other places in the country. Although it’s a generalized but very strong statement, it gives us food for thought, considering that this is not just like any other person, rather it’s a person with a huge voice in society.
In East Africa, they say, if you ask about the spokesperson of football clubs, the only name that comes out is Haji Manara. The rest, whether it is in Tanzania, Uganda, South Sudan, Kenya, Rwanda or Burundi football clubs, few people, even within their club circles, know their voices. But Manara’s booming voice roars like a lion in the jungle, and everyone has no choice but to listen.
No wonder in a nation.Africa’s Steve Omondi recently wrote that “Kenyan clubs need people like Simba’s Manara as officials.”
When we come also to Taifa Stars, our national team, he has also been vocal and very encouraging. Yes he is a patriot! So when he posted (in Kiswahili), “Tanzania is the only country where a waiter eyes you like a raw tomato, listens to you with contempt as if s/he is chopping onion juice.”
One would have thought it was just another of his sarcastic statements, but the guy was dead serious. The post went on to describe an experience, with the waiter taking sweet time before serving someone. The whole service is slow, shabby, full of bad attitude and most unfriendly.
The post asserts that Tanzania has a huge problem in the delivery of customer care services. In some cases, customers are even treated as slaves at service delivery areas. This could be at banks, offices, phone companies, public transport and so on. “It hurts. We need social transformation!” He suggests in the post that, there is a need to start teaching customer care from secondary school to make a nation that respects the customers!!
Haji Manara ends up reminiscing about someone in Kariakoo, Dar es Salaam, years ago, who had his Chips Kiosk, named “Hapa Mteja Fala Tu,” Kiswahili for “a customer is just a fool here.” It’s unbelievable that one can have such words to welcome the customers and still be in business. Poor customer service is a recipe for business failure. The customer is supposed to be the king or queen. In reality, the customer is the one providing your livelihood. I’m a teacher, and students are my customers.
If I don’t have a flow of students every year, it would mean I’m out of a job. If you are selling chips, and no one buys, then the business will close.
Some years ago, there were a lot of complaints that, in most good hotels in the country, you would find foreigners employed even for tasks that Tanzanians could do. The 5th Phase government did a lot to ensure only deserving foreigners got such jobs and committed them to train Tanzanians. Those working in the hospitality industry should learn their lesson.
In essence, as a nation we need to have a business mentality, which customer care and good manners are parts of it.
To excel, you need to make your customer satisfied or as they say use the feel good factor. Anyone parting with his/her money to purchase anything from you, it’s better to make them feel good, and then you can have returning customers. For your business to sustain and succeed, makes sure you provide a very good customer services to your clients. This will help you to retain your customers, and will have a bigger implication on ensuring successfulness of your business.
Saumu Jumanne lectures at the Dar es Salaam University College of Education (DUCE)