Salary Upsize = Decreased Downtime
["Service"? What's that? Is that even a word in the Trini dictionary?]
I have always complained about service in Trinidad. The fact is, service in Trinidad, as compared to many first [and even second] world countries, is way below the standards that it should be at. In layman's terms, one might even say: it sucks!
The moment I lay feet on this island, as I stepped off that plane, after spending a year in New York, I was immediately drenched in the poor service of this country, and still am up to this day.
My initial assumption was that Trinidadians were poorly versed in customer service and care, and that companies should invest more in such training for their staff. Everyone knows that the key to success in any business is great customer service, so companies should not have a hard time finding justification to invest in it.
I have been on such a customer service course, and it has proven to be a wonderfully great big waste of my precious time, since the key points are already embedded in human nature and thought to us all by our mothers and grandmothers ["say please...."]. These are ideas and concepts and methods of quality service that we all already know how to do but that we don't implement.
So tonight it hit me: the true secret to great customer service is not education but motivation.
Let me explain: I worked late tonight since one of my web servers suddenly crashed [:S .. nightmare!] and I needed to get a particular "customer's" website back online. The motivation that drove me to do such a thing was the mere fact that I'd learn new technical concepts in the process. Now in Trinidad, learning is not a popular motivator.
Take for instance my [TSTT] internet line which has been down for the past two weeks and been disconnected as such, almost like clockwork, every two months. They claim that people are stealing their copper lines [don't ask me why they do this strange things in this country]. Luckily I have my other phone line to use to get online [it's still an inconvenience though]. So, i was thinking: why is it that these tech at TSTT don't just plug in a wire and fix my problem!
Ok it may not always be that simple, but truly, in all of my IT jobs, a lot of the customer related problems have a very simple fix - plug in a wire, press a button, type in some commands, etc. So why is it they don't just do that? Because in Trinidad we value our time, when it's lunch, we take lunch, when it's home time, we go home - promptly.
So now you ask: why is it that the staff of first world countries don't mind going the extra mile, don't mind working through lunch or having lunch at their desks, or leaving later or arriving earlier? Simple! Because they get paid! YES, Trinidadian employers do not pay! And for those employers reading this blog - if you don't believe me check the statistics. Pay is the leading motivator for a lot of people [except me of course - I'm not money hungry :)]. In Trinidad, employers tend to pay as low as possible, do not pay over time as much as it is avoidable, they stretch the hours as much as possible, and take advantage of the youth[since they are inexperienced].
American job advertisements even post the full annual salary for any job position they are recruiting for; yet in Trinidad it remains a tight secret until the very last moment of the entire process. Check the newspapers, you might be lucky to see one of the embassies advertising, and they post the actual annual salaries.
With that said, please remember that caring customer communication is genuine, timely, specific, and sincere.