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Every beginning of a day means new drama for the people dealing with customer care. As much as we all complain how awful customer care is in most offices in Kenya, there is always the other side of the story.

Talking of how miserable Kenyan customer care is, there are times you go to the same office often and you always find the one at the front desk grumpy and snapping at you whenever you ask a question especially at the airport and immigration offices. After you’ve had to stand for a long time in a long queue, the last thing one would want is to have an encounter with a too serious, frowning face that can’t even force a fake smile for you. Some purposely make you wait and wait and wait for hours as they take their sweet time doing the services for you. It can actually ruin your entire day’s mood by how they talk to you and even when you try to be friendly, all you will get is an ungrateful glare. All this, chances are, maybe they just didn’t have a good start or they missed breakfast or rather, the boss had the wrong start with them but then, in the end of the day, as a front desk clerk, your sole aim is to attract customers to make them come again tomorrow not to chase them away.

When you work as a customer attendant in an office where you have to deal with different people everyday, you might as well end up having tough headaches, migraines or even depression. Every person has a different character and ironically speaking, the person would expect the one behind the desk to talk in the same way as they do. One needs to be very patient especially when arguments get to the boiling points and you can’t take it anymore.

Out of the curiosity of capturing the other side of the story, my friend who works in one of the Samsung offices at the front desk made me stay around for almost one and half an hour just to see how the conversations go like in their office. Every person who came by came with a different tone; the friendly ones, the very impatient ones, the ones who must create a scene, the ones who would ask gently, the ones who would create so much tension even to the boss himself, the ones who always had something to whine about repeating the same things again and again, the ones who would loudly insult your products and services and how bogus you all are, and by the time I was leaving the office I just had to ask my friend ‘and how do you survive this everyday?!’ I bet they carry paracetamols and hedexs in their wallets and eat them like sweets daily.

I’ve ever seen groups of ladies go to boutiques or stalls selling jewellery or watches and they would keenly ask the seller to remove the stuff so that they may see them clearly. They would wear them and each would ensure they have a taste of the bracelet or watch on their hands. At this you can imagine maybe it is a group of five to six young girls, clearly coming to just have fun. They would make the seller remove almost all what is on the shelves and by the end of it all, they would not buy one single thing. Obviously, anyone would be pissed by such tendencies and it is always the next customer who walks in that pays the price of the attendants being angry and grumpy.

Customers are mostly drawn to the offices that have a lounge room, where one will be offered tea or coffee and sometimes even biscuits to go along with the drink but then, this can only happens in well established companies which apparently, know very well how to win their customers.

As much as you, as the attendant, may be having a bad day, your emotions shouldn’t be reflected in how you treat your customers. Many people end up not buying things or even buying unnecessary things just due to how friendly, gently they are handled or the vice versa. Patience should be a main characteristic amongst the attendants at the front desks but still, even we as customers need to be considerate on how we make our demands. Just as we are in a hurry to get proper quality attention, they also need a peace of mind from all the tension we create for them!

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A freelance writer, journalist, poet and blogger venturing mainly in social and community issues, study and analysis of behaviour and life, and the plight of the under-dogs in the society. 'I feed on human stories.'

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