Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 3, Issue 15, Tuesday November 15, 2005



News flash

Customer Service- A concept yet to develop in BD

HOW many of you haven't had the experience of engaging in a really bad dispute with a shopkeeper? A lot of us in fact confront retailers about price, quality and quantity almost everyday. In our country, customer service is a concept that only resides in the text books of business. The number of upscale retail outlets has increased in this capital over the last decade but the question remains as to whether or not our customers are satisfied with the way goods are sold to them from these so-called classy outlets. This piece of write-up is an effort on our part to enlighten the local shop owners in the way they and their employees should try to conduct themselves while serving their clients.

The shopping spree that emerged during the Eid time has by now, subsided. Like any other year, this year too the Eid shopping experience had been characterised by terrible customer service. It doesn't matter it's festival time or not; customers should be treated with respect and care all through the year. Most shopkeepers forget or aren't aware of the fact that customers are the life-blood of any business.

Sometimes not only are the shopkeepers reluctant to greet a customer but also offensive enough to pass rude remarks when someone asks too many unnecessary (from the viewpoint of shopkeepers) questions. Our shop owners and their employees often fail to realise that it's because of these customers that they are still in the business. We believe that it's a shop owner's responsibility to teach his staff about how to behave with the clients. Countless stores lose customers each year only because of their inferior customer service.

The following pointers have been put forward only for the benefit of the local shop owners and their salespeople, so that they can retain good customers and continue to do well in business throughout their existence. First and foremost, a shopkeeper must learn to listen to his customers. And not just listen to the customers; they must at the same time, also respect every word their customers utter. Bear in mind that your one impolite word is powerful enough to drive away your potential customers.

Don't make promises that you can't keep. If you know that your boss doesn't believe in the exchange of sold products, then make sure that you don't make such a promise to the customer. Salespeople often promise that they would reimburse money if a customer has any dissatisfaction regarding any product. In reality, the opposite seems to happen. Therefore, it'd be better for your business if you stop making false promises to your clients.

We know that no one likes to hear complaints and we also know that it's never possible to satisfy all the people. But then again, not every customer comes back with a complaint... Remember that you can create a positive image for your store and establish good customer service standard if you tactfully handle one of those few complaints that comes from the customers.

The shop owners must teach the employees to be helpful, courteous and knowledgeable. They should discuss with them about the long-term benefits associated with serving a customer in the right way and attending to his grievances promptly. Every shop owner must give his staff the power and information required to make the customers happy. Sometimes the employees are scared to take an extra step because of the fear of losing job or being criticised.

Remember that a simple smile, a warm greeting from the salespeople can bring in so many customers to a shop. You don't have to do something large and expensive to make customers keep coming back to your store. A sense of etiquette and patience to listen to the clients are enough to bring back customers to your store. You might reduce your price by 30% but that doesn't necessarily ensure a flood of clients to your shop. It's quick and good customer service that helps a business to create goodwill for itself.

By Wara Karim

Dearest diary,

Today I want to talk to you about, passion. Okay, now don't you start getting all moony on me. I am not going to talk about “that” kind of passion, but passion as in… my passion for cooking or other peoples passion for music, reading, traveling, home-making, charity, fashion, jewelry, working out, etc. etc.
I was at a dinner last night, where we were all sitting around a big table, chatting, eating and generally being the social animal that we are. As I was enjoying a succulent beef strip flavored with oyster sauce and wondering how in the hell did these people get the beef to be so soft, it suddenly struck me that, here I am thinking about, my fave, my passion… again, food. So that got me thinking, all these people around me, each must have their own particular brand of passion too. So I looked around and I tried to pin-point to the best of my ability their passionate causes.

There is one friend of mine, who I shall call “Nadia”, who is absolutely passionate about befriending orphans. Be it children or animals. There was this child, lost and crying on the street, brought to her, who she fed, clothed & schooled till he was feeling secure enough to be put in a responsible orphanage where she regularly visits and takes care of his basic needs. And any animal who is cage bound will be bought and set free. It's no wonder she has a menagerie at her house and God forbid if any of her animals fall sick or get lost. I only hope, if I ever fall sick, she should be nearby.

Then my gaze wandered over to my next friend who I shall call,“Eliza”. She is a true inspiration to motherhood. Her involvement in her children's academic activities should be written down and given as guidelines to other parents during the start of each school year. Or better yet, it should be added to the national curriculum. Her passion astounds me.

Then comes in view my friend “Anchala”. She organizes and arranges with a passion. Every event is planned to the T. So obviously everything turns out perfect. Then my view rests on another close friend “Faria”. The movie, Mother India should be renamed Mother Faria. She is really passionate about being the perfect home maker and mother.

Then I see “Lopita”. She says she is passionate about being lazy, but to me, she is one of the most hard working people I know.

Then comes my friend “Irini”. She should have been a healer of some sort. She is always ready to give solid, good advice to anybody in need. A passionate do-gooder.

Then comes in line my ever passionate friend “Shefali” who is impassioned by the works of Meherasons, Nakshatra, D'damas and Hazoorilal. She should be their muse. She will definitely do a damn good job! (passionately).

Then I see my friend “Cinderella”, quietly tucking into her dinner, deep in thought. I am sure she was thinking about her next interior designing venture.

Then there was my friend “Lima beans” she is passionately intellectual. I am sure she finds mere mortals like us…so…boring and normal.
And wait, there is one more tucked in between two of my friends..."Armanah" The coolest cucumber of the lot. Teaching is her forte. If only there was one of her in every school, this nation's problems would have been solved.

Lastly my friend “Bubbles” who is passionately vivacious. She is like champagne, uncorked. Once opened, heady and unstoppable.
So some passionate, heartfelt recipes today.

Lemon chicken
1 chicken
2 tsp oil
1 tsp ginger, garlic paste
½ tsp red chili powder
Salt to taste
For the marination:
2 tbsp yogurt
1 tsp coriander powder
The juice of one lemon
½ tsp red chili powder
Salt to taste
For the garnish:
½ tsp Garam masala powder

Clean and cut the chicken into small pieces. Mix together the ingredients for the marinade and marinate the chicken pieces in it for an hour.

Heat the oil, and fry the ginger garlic paste. Add the red chili powder and the marinated chicken. Cover and cook on high flame for about 15 mins. Or till the chicken is tender and the liquid has evaporated. Check the seasoning. Sprinkle with garam masala powder. Serve hot.

It is not simply what you put on your body that counts; it's what you put in it, that is why beauty diet is the vital ingredient for people of all ages who want to optimize their looks in a natural way.

Nerves in the skin

The skin is home to millions of tiny receptors that feed information to the nerves and brain. If the body becomes too hot, sweat glands cause us to perspire, and the skin looks flushed. When you become too cold, blood vessels in the skin contract to stop heat loss, turning the skin pale and leaving it cold to the touch.

Skin nourishment
To make the radiant skin, the dermis must be supplied continually with oxygen, vitamins, minerals, essential fats energy, and protein via tiny arteries. In addition, its network of little veins must remove carbon dioxide, along with other waste minerals of metabolism. A hiccup in the supply of oxygen and nutrients or a long-term lack of either may reduce the speed of skin renewal and compromise both texture and condition.

Fosters plump, well-hydrated skin

What milk does?
Milk helps maintain the continual renewal of cells in the skin and contributes to the daily smooth growth and development of skin structures, including the nerves that supply it. Milk can play a part in the regulation of water balance in the body, which is essential for the maintenance of well-hydrated, firm-looking skin.

Why milk works?
Milk is one of the richest suppliers of calcium, which is essential for the maturation and ongoing healthy growth and development of skin cells throughout the body. Magnesium, another essential mineral found in milk, is important for the smooth operation of nerves that supply the skin. A 200ml glass of milk provides more then 175 ml of water, which helps boost fluid intake. Along with the potassium it contains, milk's water content contributes to good hydration.

Milk serving ideas
Served chilled, skimmed milk can make a long cool, refreshing drink. Add fresh fruits such as strawberries, bananas, and peaches, and then blend to make nutritious smoothies and milk shakes. Warmed milk makes delicious, soothing hot chocolate and malted bedtime beverages. It can also be used both cold and hot on breakfast cereals or to make yoghurts, and may be added to soups to give body and nourishment.

Milk watch points
Some people may be intolerant to milk and find that it aggravates dryness and eczema. Whole milk contains around 20g of fat per pint, compared to less than 1g in skimmed milk.

O Yoghurt
O Yoghurt drink
O Calcium- enriched Soya milk
O Mineral waters


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