The FINANCIAL — According to the specialists of marketing interviewed by The FINANCIAL, customer service in Georgia doesn’t meet international standards. It’s still on its way to improvement, experts claim. The majority of Georgian business people questioned by The FINANCIAL think that local shops are the worst.
Customer service is very important and many specialists in this field think that bad customer service can ruin a business much faster than it takes to build it and indifference to a company’s customers only prolongs the inevitable death of that company. By maintaining good customer service, a businessman will be keeping customers, which in the long run is quicker, easier and cheaper than finding new ones.
US News and World Report did a study and found that the average American business loses 15% of its customer base each year. 68% of customers who stop buying from one business and go to another do so because of poor or indifferent service. 82% of the customers who leave one business and go to another do so because of service related issues.
“Customer service in Georgia is on its way to improvement. The country is developing, the competition is getting stronger and the companies try to keep up by improving the service they deliver. Although the level of service in our country unfortunately doesn't meet global standards, there are some companies that are delivering high quality service,” said Elene Baratashvili, Marketing Manager of the hotel Marriott Tbilisi.
“For any company regardless of what industry they come from customer service should be one of the most important issues. It is one of the main features by which the companies can get a competitive advantage over their competitors. Delivering high quality service is key to obtaining customer loyalty, while loyal customers are a company’s greatest asset,” Baratashvili commented.
“In general the service in Georgia has always been bad because most of the companies are not service oriented, but profit oriented,” Tinatin Gugberidze, marketing specialist, said in her interview with The FINANCIAL.
“But they don’t understand that the profit itself comes with high service quality, as consumers are more likely to buy or use something repeatedly when they like the service. However during the last couple of years there has been a tendency of service improvement in Georgia, as it’s quite visible that some companies are becoming more and more service oriented. This is a good sign. But when we compare Georgian service with the service in Western countries, as consumers we understand the difference very well, and unfortunately Georgia needs much more effort in order to improve the service.”
“Customer service is a key for the success of any company, because as I have mentioned good quality service is correlated with high turnover. Because the satisfied customer will come back to the company for sure, therefore if the company have a long term goal, rather than short term, one time profit, it should invest a lot into the amelioration of the service,” Gugberidze noted.
It’s unacceptable when a service provider doesn’t consider me “always right”, because I’m their customer; it’s not acceptable when the employee is not smiling at me while serving me; when the employee can’t give an exact answer about his/her product or service; when they don’t remember me after I frequently used their service; when they don’t try to provide me any additional benefits; when they treat me as though I’m serving them and not vice versa. Unfortunately all of this happens in Georgia all the time, even at relatively good companies,” Gugberidze said.
According to a survey carried out by The FINANCIAL, where 100 people between the ages of 18-50 were interviewed, shops in Georgia have the worst customer service. 80% of the people questioned consider one of the largest supermarket chains has the lowest quality service, 13% think that one of the leading local perfume retailers has the worst customer service, and 7% consider one of the leading pharmacy chains to have the worst service. A list of the Best and Worst Companies for Customer Satisfaction is to be published in a special edition of The FINANCIAL.
“I think that customer service in Georgia is very low. When I enter a shop the shop sellers and consultants look at me with such expressions that I get the feeling they want me to get out of their shop as quickly as possible. Sometimes up to three or four consultants actually follow me around which makes me uncomfortable,” Stuart Rowbottom, an Englishman who has been living in Georgia for two years, said in his interview with The FINANCIAL.
“The sellers mostly just stare at me and I don’t know what to do about it. It’s strange that when the sellers find out that I am a foreigner and not Georgian they become more polite and attentive. As for the banks in Georgia, I think that they have the best customer service in the country, I especially like the customer service at TBC Bank,” Rowbottom commented.