- Kuwait Times Extra
“But, sir,” said my student, “it’s Kuwait.” He wrinkled his nose as if to ask, “What do you expect in Kuwait?” He was responding to an anecdote that I had shared in my marketing class about poor customer service in Kuwait.
That student’s reaction is a common response in my classrooms, and in the community at large. For whatever reason, someone or something has convinced Kuwait’s consumers that they just do not deserve any better, regardless of how much money they pay for products and services. Consequently, Kuwait has an inferiority complex when it comes to customer service.
What do I expect?
I expect my money’s worth. Don’t you? I want a quality product or service with world-class customer service.
And why shouldn’t we get it?
People often tout ‘no taxes’ as one of Kuwait’s attractions, and at the same time use it as an excuse for not raising the country’s standards. With more money, we would get more education and training and better service. Think again! We pay more for the same products and services than people pay in other parts of the world with tax, and that includes my native United States. Every time I buy a cup of coffee in Kuwait, I am paying at least 50 percent more than I would pay for the same cup back home. They do not call it “tax” here, but they collect it!
Before anyone gets angry with me and says (as I’ve heard before), “Go back to the USA,” that’s not the point, is it? Because that will not change the prices in Kuwait, and it will not repair Kuwait’s inferiority complex when it comes to expecting better customer service.
Who’s in charge here? Business owners or customers?
Forced to pay higher prices, why shouldn’t customers (regardless of nationality) ask for and get world-class customer service? It does not matter that it is Kuwait, and it is time to stop using that excuse.
Every business in Kuwait is capable of providing better customer service. Some businesses do an outstanding job already, and we need more to follow their good examples. Nowadays, many local businesses monitor social media sites, especially the ever-popular Twitter, to meet the needs of consumers. Others spend large sums of money to train their employees, therefore raising the standards that are much appreciated by consumers.
But wholesale change will not occur until customers speak up and possibly even refuse to buy when service is not satisfying. Many customers refrain from saying anything for fear of being considered impolite. Meanwhile, a silent but unhappy customer merely allows a business owner to believe that nothing needs to change because no one complains!
It is time to start complaining, politely. “Your customer service needs to improve before I will return to buy from you.” Say it with a smile. And when that happens often enough, not only are the customers in charge, but the business owners will listen!
And that’s when Kuwait will (finally) get over its inferiority complex about customer service.
By John P Hayes
Dr John P Hayes is a Marketing Professor at Gulf University for Science and Technology.
Read by 2699