The FINANCIAL — Against a background of large competition and international companies entering Georgia’s markets, local companies have started paying more attention to their services. However despite this most of the individuals interviewed by The FINANCIAL complained about bad services.
If your company doesn’t have the practice of Mystery Clients then look through this article by Madona Gasanova and get information about how to win your client’s satisfaction.
“A competitive environment encourages companies to look after their image and get closer to international standards. All companies must be focused at the satisfaction of their customers. There are numerous companies in Georgia providing just the minimum level of service. That’s a mistake of the employer, for different reasons maybe they are not paying much attention to service and the result is the loss of customers,” Elguja Meladze, Director of Management System, ISO Standards representative in Georgia, told The FINANCIAL.
Most of the international companies in Georgia have started a practice of Mystery Clients. But still service in Georgia is stated to be at the lowest level.
Some restaurants, cafes or retailers like Nike, Sella, Sisley, Puma, United Colors of Benetton, informational service 09 and Technoservice do not provide as high a service as would be expected. And endless waiting on line for the operators of Caucasus Online or United Telecom is so boring, you’d be better to just pay a visit to their office.
“You are 20th in the waiting list, you must wait for approximately 20 minutes” – most of the time such responses from CO and UTG are insulting for its users. However the company says “auto responders are being introduced to improve services”.
Such a strange understanding of services has been observed at Puma also. One of the clients of Puma told us recently that he was advised to keep his wallet out of sight “as the risk of stealing in the shop is too high”.
Calling the informational centre 09 you most often face a reality of receiving three or four addresses which you didn’t ask for and having to pay much more than you expected.
Bad quality service in Georgia was recently the subject of a joke where the conversation between an internet provider operator and a customer is taking place. During the chat it becomes clear that the customer does not possess good computers skills and yet the operator, instead of helping him, doesn’t miss an opportunity to ridicule him.
“The effects of bad service first of all influence companies’ interests,” says Meladze, ISO Standards official representative.
“The management of the company must be oriented at underlining especially good workers and encouraging them in different ways. No employee should have the impression that their bad work will remain unnoticed or unpunished, and in the same way any good work must be encouraged. Maybe employers won’t like hearing their customers complain but it is really worth it for them in the long run. Further steps should be taken in controlling the competence of the company’s management,” Meladze says.
As for companies with high standard services, banks, pharmaceutical companies, restaurants of m|group, mobile communication companies Magti GSM and Geocell and international airlines were all listed.
“Once every six months we conduct special courses to raise staff’s service quality. The courses last for a week. We have started a service controlling system. It is focused at keeping customer’s interests. For our bank it’s much more important to receive our client’s suggestions, recommendations and even remarks. In every branch of our bank there are special desks where the phone number and email address of a quality control service is on display,” Julia Enukishvili, HR manager of BasisBank says.
“Bank Republic offers different in-house training courses to its employees to improve soft skills.
Depending on the subject the courses last from between 1 to 5 days. The Quality Management Department is responsible for studying customer feedback. There are a few channels to receive this feedback on, among which there are a website, feedback boxes in the bank’s outlets, mystery shopping, etc,” Ana Tikaradze, Career Development Coordinator of the Human Resources Department of Bank Republic, Societe Generale Group, says.
“As opposed to in foreign countries, in Georgia we don’t have a culture of complaints services. Most unsatisfied customers simply close the door and never return. But even this loss must be significant for the employer,” notes Meladze, Management System.
“The company must become interested in getting information about the dissatisfaction of customers. A very popular method is the example of reclamations, where clients can write their discontent. A competitive environment is a good opportunity for improving a company’s service and quality. Currently companies have started the system of Mystery Clients. These Mystery Clients mostly pay visits to branches which are unaware of the practise,” Meladze says.
“Mystery Shopping is an ongoing project at Bank Republic which enables customer service quality control. In the case of any complaints, feedback is studied thoroughly and action is taken accordingly,” Tikaradze, Bank Republic, SocGen Group, notes.
Like Bank Republic, BasisBank uses the system of Mystery Clients and takes actions if necessary. “We use the service of Mystery Clients. Such searches help us to privately rate our workers. In the case of client’s remarks we start researching the situation and if our employee really was to blame, only then are actions taken accordingly,” Enukishvili, BasisBank, says.
“Foreign companies and large competition has increased the interest of local companies to get closer to international standards. The demand for qualification ISO Standards has not changed even against the background of the world economical crisis and August’s events. From 2005 EBRD started financing from 30-90% of companies’ expenses for ISO standards. The number depends on the scale of the company,” Meladze, Management System, notes.
Some of the holders of ISO Standards certificates in Georgia are: Tegeta Motors, Elit Electronics, Aversi pharmacy, Iberia Service, Omega Motors, m|group, Dio, hotel Old Metekhi, Unigroup – distributing company of Lukoil, Wissol, Pharmaceutical Company PSP and others.
The companies which are in the process of receiving ISO Standards certificates are: beer producing company Natakhtari, Construction Company Sasco, Kapital Invest, Horizont, Bagrationi 1882, Batpharma and others.
Written By Tako Khelaia