By Martin M. Lwanga

“I cannot take this crap anymore with all the fees we are paying!” with those words, Eddy, stormed out of Living Academy. Eddy and his wife Mary were a middle class couple who worked from dusk to dawn, lived frugally and invested widely. One of those areas was the education of their three biological children and two adopted orphans from siblings who had prematurely passed away of HIV/ AIDS.

In taking their children to Living Academy they knew it was one of the best since it normally produced the highest Primary Leaving Exams (PLE) grades. However, they were disappointed by the unfriendly attitude of staff. To get hold of a teacher there with a query was as seeking out a needle in a haystack. Their language was coarse. “If you don’t like it here there are so many UPE schools down the road,” was a typical reply to a complaint.

One day one of the couple’s kids suffered head injury in a football game. The school did not mind informing either of the parents though they had both their phone numbers. Later, they charged them for nursing their kid before they turned up at the end of the day.

After abandoning Living Academy, the first school they decided to visit was Town High, another top performing school. Since both held full- time jobs, lunch- hour was the most convenient time. On dropping at the school they found all offices locked up since it was lunch- hour. While waiting in the car- lot, security came over and ordered them out of staff parking lot. “Don’t you know how to make appointments? You people go out and wait from outside!”

After two hours of waiting in the bleaching sun, finally, they were ushered into the Admissions office. “We have a few places but you must book with cash,” the Administrator promptly lectured  An attempt to ask about the nature of education offered brought back one quick answer, “There is a long waiting list and if you are serious hurry up and just pay.”

Fearing, they would end up in a same situation, the anxious couple asked some of their trusted friends to recommend schools that would recognize them as individuals.

A work- mate of Eddy told them about a new school, Crystal Junior. “Although their fees are slightly higher they will give you the attention deserving of a working parent.”

Eddy and Mary got to Crystal Junior during the lunch- hour. The first thing they noticed was the friendly welcome of security who, smartly dressed, kindly asked whom they needed to see. Ushered before the front- desk, the smartly uniformed receptionist warmly received them before walking over to the Head- teacher’s office.

“He is in meeting,” she soon came back, “but has asked you to wait for no more than ten minutes. Meanwhile, can I get you some cold water to drink? Please, feel free to read some of our school magazines and annual report while waiting.”

Five minutes later, the Head- teacher stepped out of his office and with a wide smile welcomed the visitors into his neat office. “We are so excited that you could take time to consider us. But have they made you feel at home while waiting?” Eddy and Mary nodded with satisfaction.

“Good,” said the Head- teacher. “Now, first, I would like one of our customer care staff to take you around our school campus so as to see where our clients, oh, I mean pupils take their classes from and the facilities we have. Please, feel free to ask him any questions as you go around. We see parents as our partners and are always learning from them.”

Out they went, visiting on- going classes. They noticed the school- grounds were perfectly attended to with grass well manicured and all buildings coated with a fresh paint. All school officials had name- tags to identify themselves and would pause to greet the strangers.

Back in the Head Teacher’s office the couple was told that the school’s philosophy was offering a holistic education. “We believe every child is an individual and that’s why we emphasize teacher- student ratio and giving total attention to every child.”

At the end of the day for Eddy and Mary the choice was simple. Knowing how hard they worked for their money they wanted the best for their kids and were glad to pay a higher price than premium for quality. And as for Crystal Junior, in spite of its limited student population, hers was one of the most profitable businesses since she was able to charge a higher price from a happy and satisfied clientele.

Customer Service in the Twenty first Century

Discussion Question

  1. How has Cristal Junior used Customer Care as a competitive edge?
  2. If you were to start a food business what are some of the customer care features you would put in place?


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