Male store attendant arranging grocery

When bad people happen to great brands

We live in South Africa, a country where labour is cheap and readily available. We also routinely complain about poor service in South Africa. The connection here is that since labour is so cheap it’s easier to constantly hire people, give them minimal training and then set them loose on the hordes that will enter your stores.

You’re essentially stocking your store with cattle that are unable to answer any questions but will work for the lowest common denominator salary.

A perfect example is almost any technical store. I’m not exactly expecting a salesperson to know the manufacturer of a motherboard but I do want them to avoid telling gullible customers that the iPad Mini has a retina display. I also find it fairly amusing that most iStore employees have Blackberry’s.

This isn’t a fringe case though; most store attendee’s have little care of empathy for their customers. They’re doing a job and they only care about a paycheck at the end of the month. That said, is it the fault of the store attendants or is this an issue that stems from the top?

Do we as South African companies automatically push the lowest common denominator to our storefronts and therefore misrepresent our brand? I think it’s a lack of training and investment in people that has led us to this. It’s a catch-22: do you train and then release your staff onto the sales floor or do you drop them in the deep end and hope they learn without any investment?

I think it’s a matter of training the basics, something that some large companies clearly are disinterested in.

It’s not all doom and gloom though; try and get hold of the Multichoice call center and you’re greeted by some of the smartest and capable people on the other side of a phone.

Don’t let you’re great brand be brought down by bad people you haven’t bothered to train up.

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