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    February 27, 2013

    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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    • Bob

      you’re = your

      train up = train

    • Pieter

      Another journalist who does not know the difference between “you’re” and “your”.

      • Barrie

        Come on, you’re not serious. He did OK up to the last sentence…one mistake and “he does not know the difference”?

    • Sebastian

      His use of apostrophes is also somewhat unconventional. And what a pointless article – I (stupidly) expected some actual thought-provoking content.

    • Ravensqarr

      Our labour is not cheap at all, it is some of the most expensive in the world.
      Self pride and self accountability is from the inside, no matter what the salary.

    • We can clearly see you weren’t paid much to write that article.

    • Sean

      1. Clearly you’ve never had to ask multichoice anything more than “I’ve got an error message on my screen”. If you had, this article would be about them.
      2. Our labour is very expensive as someone else said as well. And I don’t know if referring to our labour as “cattle” will win you any friends either.
      3. Yes, our retail sector is shocking, all of it. So use the internet, it’s in your pocket. You don’t need a pimple face, blackberry curve armed, drop-out 19 year old to advise you on anything.
      4. If they work in a store as specialised as an iStore with a grand total of 3-4 products, they should know who makes the motherboard.

    • Julian

      The article mentions Multichoice which is a bit of a joke – Multichoice as an organisation can’t grasp the basic concept of an account statement.

      Month after month they send out dated statements stating that their subscribers own them money at some future point in time and reflect that future money due as currently due.

      Has the author of this article ever really looked at his monthly account statement? If they can’t get such a basic concept as an account statement correct they don’t deserve any compliments.

    • Mel

      Poorly written, poorly researched, generally crap article. You must also be getting the “lowest common denominator salary” (whatever that is but clearly you’re a fan of “lowest common denominator”). I also expected an intelligent piece…big fail!