No Choice At All

Written By: The Lowdown - Apr• 30•13

It’s never a good idea to go shopping on Christmas Eve, but when a friend asked for help with getting a PVR decoder for her father for Christmas, it didn’t even enter my mind to refuse.


After battling the Lusaka traffic, I got there later than planned, just before 3.30 pm. Finding a parking space, I made my way to the end of the line which was about three metres outside the door.


I hung about for 5 minutes and noticed that there didn’t seem to be much going on inside. My fellow queue-ers confirmed that the line had not moved much since they had joined the queue. I undertook to find out what, or should I say if anything was going on.


Making my way to the counters, everyone seemed to be busy except for the two counters where there were no assistants! A busy day like this and some of the counters not manned? Sounds like poor management to me.


I spent the next two hours observing what was going on. But before that I knocked on the supervisor’s door. I expected that the supervisor would be out at the counter supervising. But no, she was in her office with the two missing assistants and a customer/cousin/VIP. The customer/cousin/VIP was picking up a new system and he needed preferential treatment which included taking away two members of staff who should be attending to the public.


I explained to the supervisor that there was a mess outside and that something needed to be done. I am not sure whether she had to draw up a battle plan or call for re-enforcements, but it was a full twenty minutes before the supervisor stepped out of the office. Eventually someone came down the queue collecting decoders for repair. These people were dealt with to the side so they got out of there quickly.


From my continued observations that afternoon, it looks to me as though the system has not been set up to be efficient or customer friendly. For example, it is one of the counter assistants who has to get new decoders from the storeroom. Or that is what one assumes when one sees the counter assistant leave his station and return some minutes later with a box of new decoders. This may be well and good when they are not busy but surely on Christmas Eve and the other known busy days of the year, why not change the system and let the supervisor or someone in the back office do it. This will get the customers moving through quickly which will keep the customer happy. Or perhaps Mulitichoice haven’t figured this out yet, that it is necessary to keep the customer happy.


And look out if you need a replacement smart card. The number of replacement cards that can be issued on any one day is limited. One of the gentlemen standing near me in the queue needed a replacement card and the replacement cards were finished. Yet they were still issuing new cards for new clients. I couldn’t stop myself interfering and started making noise, so they quickly agreed to give him a new card but otherwise he would have gone away empty handed or been forced to buy a new card as they suggested. I subsequently found out that is to do with stock control but surely, a few more cards can be issued and a record kept of them. But perhaps this is just too customer friendly for Multichoice.

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