John Ekongo It is not funny at all, but if there is anything that goes down to the boil of my neckline and raises my pitch-black, unkempt Afro hair like static electricity, then it is customer service in this country. To say the least “Dit stink”. If it is not the hold-on tone – enough to swear that I have learned the love of classical music by perpetually being put on hold. If you are in doubt I can assure you I am a self-confessed expert on Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, thanks to the “Hold on Sir” tone. Interestingly enough Namibians tend to be complacent when it comes to value for their money, and most of the time we are ushered to a very rude and vague, no it’s finished and sorry can’t help you why don’t you try some place else. Walk into any shop, or better still those big grocery retail chains, no sooner you come to the check-out point, after standing in the queue for so long you will see the salesperson slam down the disgustingly tiny notice board “closed” in front of you. Then you hear: “Ek is op lunch, en ek het ook nie my tea break gevat nie.” One local comedian even remarked that while he was making an order at an airport cafeteria the saleslady kept yawning loudly, and there have been instances whereby some receptionists are in the habit of chewing bubble gum while attending to visitors. Then there are mini conferences going on, whilst you stand idle and wait for the two aunties to finish discussing the last night’s episode of Paloma and the love of his life Diego – who are they anyway ? Management also is not spared, so they entice you with advertisements and gimmick words singing glory from 25% discount on all sales, buy for N$300 and qualify for an appealing price only to realize later that that competition is only applicable in South Africa. So much for the slogan “your truly Namibian store and we care for you” and our blind loyalty. More like give me your money and shut up. Service at some of the local banks is also laughable and though the customer is supposed to be king or queen in Namibia it appears it is the other way round. In fact, who fits the latter profile better, insurance companies and those entire fancy rich corporations that sell you intangible service, you get that cover, or equity funds, bond and who knows what terms. So you hear, caring for you, for your peace of mind, your life in good hands. Hell no, it’s more like welcome to the world of stress and high blood pressure. They bill you wrong, debit you wrong, and they just about do you wrong in all areas. So you demand the right product, then it is, “Sir unfortunately we have to contact South Africa, as our controlling branch with regard to financial matters are based at our mother body main offices in South Africa, they are the only ones who can rectify the situation.” Then I think for myself and say South Africa was not involved when you took my money, what the heck is going on here? Of course you will hear: “We will let you know soon Sir.” But don’t be surprised when this only happens some eight months later. Then it is the taxis. Please drop me off at A. No problem would be the answer and you only realize the driver meant point B. Now you realize the guy actually never knew the place at all in the first place. So you demand a refund, then you get the drooling “owu eku-lombwela uulonde olyelye, eta ike iimaliwa yange, ilo oti ku *&%^^#@ kameenu ove. It is everywhere, even in the charge office, a public building for that matter. If I dare say something then I would have made the best speech of my life that I would most definitely regret – such is a message pasted on a notice in one of Windhoek’s charge offices. I have heard enough stories of Windhoek Prison Cells. So I better say nothing at all. To top it all off, all these corner shops in your suburb or neigbourhood, supposed to be convenient stores, it is not a convenience at all. It sells you nothing unless it makes 300% profit on you, so yeah for that ply of toilet tissue you so uptightly forget to buy, will cost you $4 in those stores. Customer service in Namibia leaves a lot to be desired, and it is saddening to say that service providers treat customers with no courtesy at all. Apart from that the only courtesy they have is the love for your money. And then you have the nerve to tell me not to complain – Sorry “complain that I shall do”. Eewa.
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