Service demands rise
A rebellion against e-tolls; and a banner hoisted by a disgruntled Cell C customer in Johannesburg. These are signs of a new era of consumer activism, believes Aki Kalliatakis, managing partner of customer management consultancy The Leadership LaunchPad.
“Consumers have not fought for their rights as they should,” says Kalliatakis. “[This] is changing fast. Frustrated consumers will increasingly hit out at companies that let them down.”
There are many reasons for consumers’ new-found boldness. Among them is greater foreign travel. “People go overseas and ask why we can’t have the same level of service in SA,” he says.
For companies that fall short on customer service, this should be a wake-up call. “Rebellious customers will express frustration by challenging companies in very public places,” he says. “At times it will resemble a banner-waving customer liberation movement.”
Change is evident. “More CEs are taking an active role in customer service,” says Kalliatakis. “Change in service delivery culture must come from the top.”
On a positive note, Kalliatakis says brands with good service levels will “win big in 2015”. Stafford Thomas