Home' Advocate Communications : Fiordland Advocate 28 July 2011 Contents HOT TOPIC
Page 6 | 28 July, 2011
Customer service sinks to a
new low: On his way back from
Auckland, my husband Chris went
into a dairy to buy a drink. Two
shop assistants were chatting
away and he had to attract their
attention to get them to serve him.
As he left the shop, he heard the
person who served him apologise
to her colleague for interrupting
their conversation to serve a
In my last column I said that I
would focus on what businesses
can do to provide excellent
customer service to ensure that
customers keep coming back.
Sadly many companies, like the
one above, leave it to chance and
simply hope that their employees
know what good customer service
is. This particularly seems to be
the case in places where there is
limited competition. So how can
you keep customers happy so that
they become your best marketers?
Business owners and managers
can start by leading by example.
If your employees see or hear
you treating customers in a less
than favourable way, why should
they make the effort to keep
your customers sweet? Making a
commitment to and establishing
a customer service culture within
your business will show your staff
that you value customer service.
Providing regular training is
important, using role plays of both
good and bad service so that your
staff know and understand the
difference. Empowering your staff
to make decisions by providing
them with good information
can also improve their ability to
respond well to customer needs.
Rewarding staff who give excellent
customer service will demonstrate
to both staff and customers that
customer service is important to
your business. Treat your staff with
respect and they are more likely to
treat your customers with respect.
Encourage your staff to engage
with customers. A friendly smile
and greeting can go a long way.
But it needs to be genuine and
not just a "hello, how are you?"
because that's what they've been
told to say to every customer.
Encourage your staff to listen
to customers and to keep any
promises they make. Also it
is good to provide them with
the appropriate skills to deal
with complaining customers.
Remaining calm and professional
in the face of an angry customer
can go along way to defuse an
Finally, it is always good to
remember that without customers
there is no business!
Are you giving top
customer service? Ridiculous figures
The figures presented in your
recent article on the new Te anau
public toilets make interesting
If, as Council has stated, there
was to be a total of 170,500
visits a year to these toilets, that
equates to 467 people using them
every day of the year -- or roughly
nine bus loads. Anyone who is
in business in Te Anau would be
overwhelmed to imagine that
so many tourists were visiting
the town in a year. Indeed the
shops, cafes and accommodation
sites could hardly cope with that
number of people.
If, as the council claims, it costs
around $100,000 to run the
toilets for a year, then that would
require 100,000 visits at $1 per
visit, or 273 visits every day of
the year -- approximately 5-6 bus
The tourist season runs for around
six months, so effectively they are
claiming that 555 (approximately)
people will use the toilets each
day of the tourist season, and
even worse to reach their quoted
number of 170,500, some 950
visits would be made each day of
the tourist season.
These figures are patently so
far out of kilter that one can
only wonder at the quality of the
staff who did the calculations, or
perhaps it was the calculator at
fault, or maybe even a systemic
failure. Perhaps it was even the
same machine they used for the
figures on the Te Anau Manapouri
Whatever the reasons for the
ridiculous figures, we the voting
and paying public deserve
some answers and maybe even
some apologies. What was the
community board of the time
doing when they agreed to all of
this and where was our elected
representative to query what are
obviously such nonsensical figures
Could the Council also tell us
what happens if their figures
are correct, as having quoted
$100,000 to run the toilets, then
if 170,500 visits were made in
a year that would leave some
$70,500 over. Where would
this go? Would it be credited
against the capital outlay of some
$800,000? This would mean it
would take 11 years to recoup the
initial cost and by then the toilets
would be badly in need of a major
renovation with such high use.
Some answers please.
Dorothy E Bulling
Dunnies and dumpsters
(1) Lion Park Toilets: The council
was warned that to charge a dollar
was an invitation for all to devise
ways of avoiding the dollar charge.
So it has been proven.
The fact that the dollar charge
has fallen well short of 'self
funding' the toilets is unsurprising
when you consider the cost of
construction. Council may now
gain some understanding on how
the complexities of their consent
requirements and the associated
costs impact on businesses.
Perhaps Council could explain
the cost of the toilets (approx
$800,000) which equates to
approx $4000 per square metre!
This community built the new
Fiordland Health Centre for
approximatley $2000 per square
metre. One would have thought
the new health centre would have
been somewhat more complex
to construct than the Lions Park
Then, by God, they decide to
spend $9000 on a 'consultant'!
I despair at the attitude of both
Local and National Government in
terms of their spending. Another
example, Brownlie doubles the
pay rate for Christchurch 'Quake
Recovery Appointees'. Do these
people live in the real world?
(2) Wheelie Bins: Recently all
retailers in Te Anau received a
notice from the district council
informing them that to have more
than one advertising 'sandwich
board' outside their business
(most likely in the vicinity of the
footpath) required a 'resource
consent'. Clearly the intent here is
to ensure safety for those walking
on the footpath.
It seems the collection of wheelie
bins is only achievable with the
current contractor by leaving the
wheelie bins on the footpath.
I'm just wondering if Council could
inform us if resource consent was
obtained or indeed necessary
to allow wheelie bins to be left
scattered over our footpaths?
A winner is drawn every week!
Drop in to Te Anau Subway to
register your birthday and be
entered into the draw when
your birthday arrives.
Don t miss out !
HOW DO I ENTER ??
come and have
lunch on us!!
It s your
6" Sub & Drink
& your choice of either
2 cookies, 1 bag of chips or
1 bag of apples
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