A Zero Tolerance year

Happy New Year!  May 2017 be an exceptional year for you!

I haven’t thought of a slogan for this year as yet, but I’m seriously thinking about using Zero Tolerance. According to the old calypso by Cubba: “I ain’ mekking no sport this year”. That means both for myself and for the service providers I interact with. I will really have zero tolerance for poor service this year.

I hate to start the year on this note, but this is week one and already I have encountered three cases of bad, worse and worst service. The bad one happened when I popped into a fast food restaurant to buy a couple of things. I realized that I was waiting longer than I usually have to wait and that people with numbers after mine were being dispatched before me.

After 20 minutes, I made a call to one of the owners to complain about the service. The owner immediately called the manager to find out what the problem was and then called me back to explain the situation. I was satisfied with the explanation but I was not satisfied that the staff said nothing to the customers who were waiting, and worse yet, when they finally delivered the food, they did not even apologize for the wait.

The worse service I had this week was going to pick up my dry cleaning. I took it in on December 22 and I had a pick up date of December 31. Knowing that we would have several bank holidays in there, I decided to go for my clothes on January 4.  Would you believe that they were still not ready? Furthermore, I waited for several minutes before the lady who took my tickets came back to break the news to me that they were currently working on one suit and another would not be ready before the next day but the rest were finished.

I pointed out to her that I was already picking up later than the due date so really the clothes should have been ready. I am really fed up with the poor service, especially when there is no apology offered, as in this case as well.  In fact, they should have been asking me where they could deliver the clothes to me for the inconvenience of not having them ready.  Or an even more novel idea, calling me to let me know that they were not ready so that I did not waste my time going there.

While I will give the restaurant a chance, I don’t think I’ll be using that dry cleaner again.  This is not the first time this has happened and as I said, this year I have zero tolerance. Businesses in Barbados really need to step up their game. They need to innovate not only their products but also their service. Think how impressed I would have been if someone had called me, apologized for not having the clothes ready on time and then offered to deliver them to me! I would have been singing their praises all over this column. Hopefully someone from that company will read this and incorporate it into their service.

Now for the worst service of the week. Although I did not experience it personally, I got the story from someone who endured it. It will be no surprise to you when I say the words Licensing Authority. I don’t know another Government department more in need of process improvement, or probably even re-engineering than that department.

On this occasion, the person took their teenager to do the written test to get a permit to learn to drive. They paid the $30 to take the test and went over to the testing area for the 9:30 am time slot. However, there was no one to administer the test and discovering that they needed to get passport sized photos, they left and came back. I wonder how many people discover, after they get to the Licensing Authority, that they need photos.  Someone should set up a business nearby taking photos and make some money. Since the testing person had not come to work for several days, someone from another department had to come over to take their place and combine the testing and marking with the writing up of the form before the permit could be paid for which, of course, involved another set of queuing. They did not leave Licensing Authority until after three!

I don’t understand why the process of renewing your license has to be so painful.  Today I went to Warrens to pay for my daughter’s license and I was able to walk right in because there was no-one there. However, that is only the Barbados Revenue Authority side. She now has to go to the Pine to get the card updated or renewed. How inefficient is that?  And I know for a fact that sometimes there is no-one there to take the photos or to carry out that part of the process. I really hope that by the time I have to get mine done, the process has improved because, as I said, I have zero tolerance for poor service this year.

Since I said I would try to offer solutions this year, I will research how it is done in other countries and see if we cannot follow the best practice available. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Let’s make 2017 a year where we all come up to a higher level in all that we do.

(Donna Every is an author, international speaker and trainer. She is also the Barbados Ambassador for Women’s Entrepreneurship Day (2014 – 2016), the Barbados Facilitator for the InfoDev WINC Acceleration Programme.

Contact her at donna@donnaevery.com

Website www.donnaevery.com


5 Responses to A Zero Tolerance year

  1. King Kashta Moor January 7, 2017 at 11:24 am

    Hi Donna,

    I recently returned to Barbados on holiday. It was 14 years since I last visited and I cannot believe the lack of progression in regards to customer service. That owners, managers alike are still unwilling to take a stance on such a serious issue.
    As someone who has vast experience in customer service, I find this extremely bad for business. Maybe because so many companies are allowing this problem to continue, people are just used to it, and therefore can’t be bothered to complain.
    There were a couple incidents when I had to just put my items back and leave the store as I am unwilling to pay for that kind of service.

  2. jrsmith January 7, 2017 at 11:54 am

    Stop living in la,la land, nothing will change but will get worse , we are too educated to understand, what a job means , we are so laid back thats why everything goes wrong , nothing works, no one to complaint to , people having 2 hours lunch , sitting on the phone to they friends or family and no one getting sack……
    Welcome to the new year, 2017 same old , same old……………..

  3. Baje20 January 7, 2017 at 2:26 pm

    A well written article. I hope that Barbadians take heed and follow your approach for a zero tolerance 2017…there is strength in numbers.

  4. D Sutherland January 7, 2017 at 2:53 pm

    This is why the present Government, is taking advantage of its people.
    There is no accountability, and if there is, they two are asleep at the wheel.
    This problem started at the top.
    People you need to wake up.

  5. John Q January 7, 2017 at 6:04 pm

    Hard to break a bad habit…… We’ve been doing this for so long that it is now commonplace. It’s no longer acceptable or the ” Bajan way” of doing business


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