Lucas Marang'a

A man at 40

Customer Delight.

Michael Joseph, former and now again CEO of Safaricom said that Kenyans have peculiar calling habits. This was because there were times (mostly Fridays and weekends) when the network was jammed with guys trying to communicate.  Then there were times when the network had little activity. Yaani even our phone networks have rush hour like in traffic on our roads. We are truly peculiar.

Another peculiarity, though I believe this is a general human peculiarity, not just Kenyan, is the way we complain about life. During the rainy season we complain that it’s too wet and cold. When the sun is out, we protest that it’s too hot. I wonder what Sir God makes of us at such times. Maybe He shakes his head in awe at his creation that never seems satisfied.

It seems human nature that we find it much easier to complain about stuff in our lives than it is to be thankful. Being a father has forced me to take a crash course in changing my ways. I’ve realized that I can easily destroy my baby sharks if all I did was highlight their weaknesses and shortcomings. I’m getting there slowly. I’m now conscious of the fact that I need to make a fuss about the good they do and their accomplishments, however small.

The outcome in their change of behavior has been encouraging because the frequency of visits to the doghouse has reduced. It seems the change in mindset is affecting my behavior positively too. My son and I have been regular visitors to the doghouse, yet we haven’t been there in a while. That means Mummy shark must be happy with the behavior of the men in her house he he. Let me stop here lest I push my luck too far.

I recently sold my car after seven years of good service. It felt like we were seeing off a family member. Being officially car less, I hailed an uber just before 7am on Monday morning to take my brood to school. As usual I call the guy once he shows up on the Uber app on my phone. He says he’s nearby and will be at my gate in two minutes. After five minutes he was still a no show, so I called him again. I was shocked at his response. He spoke angrily saying our guard is asking him many questions, so he has decided to drive off. I stood there for a minute thinking this driver clearly woke up on the wrong side of the bed today.

I angrily cancelled the trip and walked my baby sharks to our neighbor who graciously agreed to drop them in school together with his kids. Good neighbors are to be treasured folks so let’s endeavor to be good neighbors too. After seeing off my totos I got back on my phone to hail another ride to the office. I was irritated to find that I have been charged a cancellation fee of Kshs 150/=. I needed to pay the fee first for me to ask for another ride. Why should I be punished for a guy who drove off without even calling me back. They could as well have called it terrible service fee.

I could not bring myself to pay it, so I decided to walk to work. Maybe I needed the exercise he he. I do not consider myself a key board warrior but once in the office I tweeted about my experience and tagged Uber. They acknowledged my DM and we exchanged several messages where they were trying to justify their charge, but I remained adamant that it was unjustifiable. I even considered downloading another taxi hailing app.

The amount of money wasn’t the issue. It was the principle behind it. I told Uber that I’m giving them valuable feedback and they should use my complaint to improve their service to customers. A complaining customer is a valuable customer. Well when it’s a reasonable complaint. There are some clients we need to fire like yesterday.

After several exchanges on text with Uber it appeared, we were getting nowhere. I conceded and told them I will pay because I will need to use their service (especially now that I don’t have a car) but I feel cheated. I left it at that and got on with my day, but I still did not pay the cancellation fee. I was going to postpone it for as long as I could. Later that night I got a text from Uber Kenya informing me that they have cancelled the charge and I will not be asked to pay a cancellation fee on a subsequent trip. I was happy with that and thanked them by confirming that I will continue using Uber.

I then woke up to another text on from them on Tuesday morning. I will write it here verbatim because I was very impressed.

 “We’re sorry to hear about your experience on this trip. We understand the situation you described can be upsetting. We’ve taken measures to minimize the chances of being paired with this driver in your future trips. The partner – drivers are encouraged to maintain a high standard of professional services and feedback like yours helps us to improve your Uber experience. If we can help with anything else let us know”. 6.20AM

I was so jazzed that I almost asked for free rides until I get another car. Clearly, huge successful companies don’t just happen. Customer delight is the fuel that drives and grows them. I felt important enough by the attention they gave me. Like they know me personally yet I’m just one of their very many tiny customers.

So, there is the different peculiar habit I want to develop. Making a fuss about the good that happens to me. Once we get into a habit of having an attitude of gratitude then life starts becoming more positive and hopeful. Should we bring up what we are hot happy about? most certainly. But let’s not stop there. May we seek good, do good and be the good that we seek.

Rate your Uber ride well if you like their service today folks. Remember its Friday. The peculiar Kenyans habits day.

Oh, and they didn’t pay me to say this. They just cancelled my fee of 150 bob.

Friday, February 21, 2020 | Reflections

6 thoughts on “Customer Delight.”

  1. MG says:

    I was with a business mentor yesterday and she said that the key to success in business is soft skills and values. This couldn’t ring more true.

    Incidentally, I had a similar experience with the same taxi comp you me about a fortnight ago. The app was showing that the taxi was on the way. He called to say that he’d arrived. I answered in with surprise and asked him to confirm that he had indeed arrived because the app was showing that he was still en route. I got the telling off of my life! Anyway I cancelled the trip and sent the feedback that he was extremely rude and that I didn’t feel safe travelling with him. I wasn’t charged though, and got an email from the company, but I’ve since uninstalled the app.

  2. Jackson Kinyanjui says:

    Interesting article and experience Lucas! I have nothing but praise for Uber after being a faithful customer for the last 2 plus years. Infact I am surprised you were even charged in the first place; this rarely happens and the cancellation refund is usually very smooth.When it comes to customer experience they are way ahead of the rest. The others will rarely acknowledge your complaint, if they do it, its after 8 hours with a generic response that is never followed by any tangible action.

    Just last Sunday, I ordered a cab at Church, driver with a rating of 4.9 and with a cool clean looking Fielder; my expectations were quite high. My wife and I got in and the driver started the trip only to inform us there is a problem since we were paying using a card. Apparently we were his first customers for the day so he was hinting no fuel money. Trip charge about KShs 220 since it was short distance( by the way, this app compensates the driver so it reads double the amount on his end). He takes his time finally cancels and we get charges KShs 110( half the trip charge) deducted automatically since its a card payment. By now, I am already losing my cool because not only have we wasted our time but have been charged needlessly and the driver couldn’t care less( remember he is a 4.9)

    So we hail another cab from Uber and while on trip complain to the other app about my charge. Shock on me, get a response 8 hours later with promise to escalate. 5 days later still waiting for the escalated response. Second bad experience with this app so will probably delete and stay with Uber.

    In summary disconnect with what companies say and what they practice every day as far as customer delight is concerned!!

  3. Bonny Ngabirano says:

    This is a food one….Thanks for sharing …

  4. Mike Eldon says:

    It’s good for us to write about our good/bad customer experiences. Did you see my article on my hearing aid lady and the Pallet Cafe wonders?

    1. No i did not Mike. Please share

  5. Jackline Mburu says:

    Interesting a article Lucas. I’ve actually realksed that days I was grateful, life was positive and productive.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *