A big part of products anywhere you go in the world is consumerism and the consumer experience. In SA trends have been set that state that the consumer has no power, that the consumer has no say and is not in control. This for me is worrying and frustrating.
It is with this in mind that I would like to delve straight in to the SA Rocks Product Week interview with Ian Donovan, Director of getclosure!.
Consumerism is a massive part of life, rich, poor, thin, fat, healthy or not, anyone and everyone has to either be a consumer or a seller. So it affects us all. For a while now I’ve been complaining about the end consumer being taken for a ride, be it banks, wholesellers, retailers, anyone is trying make a buck at my expense.
Enough of my moaning! Let’s get in to the questions:
1. Tell the readers of SA Rocks why we are interviewing you, what do you do and exactly why am I talking to you about consumerism in SA?
getclosure! is an independent online complaints management portal that facilitates discreet complaint resolution and provides comprehensive information on consumer rights and remedies.
We set up a discreet line of communication between consumers and suppliers to manage the complaint handling process. And best of all, the service is free for consumers!
4 key ways in which getclosure! assists consumers:
1. We deliver each complaint to an appropriate person in the supplier organisation.
2. We follow up with the supplier to get a response to your complaint.
3. We identify remedy providers willing to address unresolved complaints.
4. And we provide much needed information on consumer rights and remedies.
What we have realised is that South African consumers aren’t vocal enough about bad service. We whinge a lot, but all too often we just don’t actually take the step of making our complaint known to the party delivering the bad service.
That’s where getclosure! comes in. We offer a user-friendly service that saves time, money, frustration and importantly, one which yields results.
2. Where does a culture of good service start and with whom?
The important thing to recognise is that a culture of good service cannot be imposed by management. In some businesses, the commitment to good service can be traced to an inspirational leader who sets a high standard for others in the organisation to emulate. In others, good service delivery is the result of appropriate incentives. And there are other businesses – and I believe that getclosure! is one of these – in which the people who actually deliver the service have decided for themselves as a team that they are going to deliver an exceptional service.
3. Is it really the fault of the retailer that good service is hard to come by, or do we as consumers make it so bad?
It is the retailer’s responsibility to offer good customer service by training its staff, implementing the correct channels through which consumers can complain and to educate its customers.
As consumers though, we often allow businesses to get away with bad service by not complaining and in so doing perpetuating the problem. If consumers want better service, they need to step up and draw the attention of businesses to service that falls short of the required standard. Good businesses will always respond appropriately to constructive criticism.
4. What action can be done by the public to improve the situation?
Lodge constructive complaints! Go to www.getcosure.co.za and click on the submit a complaint button to start the process.
5. Are there ways to handle bad service? Does shouting and screaming really make things any better?
There definitely are appropriate and inappropriate ways to complain and to a large extent, this depends on what you are trying to achieve. If your objective is to receive better service, the best place to start is with the person responsible for delivering the poor service, with a polite but firm complaint drawing attention to the problem. If that does not bring the desired response, the next step is to identify someone in the organisation who does care. And that is where getclosure! can assist: we go the extra mile to bring complaints to the attention of an appropriate person in the relevant organisation. Our experience is that in most cases this achieves the desired result. Inevitably there are businesses that do not respond appropriately and in those cases, the intervention of a third party may be needed in order to get the complaint addressed. Part of the getclosure! service is to assist consumers with unresolved disputes to identify a suitable remedy provider. In extreme cases, for example where the supplier simply couldn’t care less, the consumer may find it necessary to use the media to draw attention to the problem.
6. Do you think there are certain industries that are worse than others when it comes to bad service?
Every industry has examples of businesses committed to service excellence and others that are less committed. We think there is a growing commitment across all industries to delivering a better service and we’re delighted to be playing a small part in that process.
7. What do you think a startup or new business can do to ensure that service starts off well and remains so?
Every business, but especially every new business must listen to its customers. If a customer has taken the time to highlight a problem, it should be seen as an opportunity for a company to improve and deliver a better product or service. By complaining, these customers are giving the company a rare second chance to make good. How quickly and effectively a business responds to complaints often determines whether a consumer will continue to do business with them.
Surveys indicate that 60% to 75% of customers who complain to a supplier about a product or service will use it again if their complaint has been resolved and 95% will do so if the complaint was resolved quickly.
8. Is there anything I’ve left out or that you’d like to include here?
We’re about to launch our new home page and would love your readers to tell us what they think of it and what we can do to improve our service. Go to www.getclosure.co.za.
Thanks for taking part in the interview, it’s always great to speak to people in niches with opinions about things that affect so many of us!
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