Imagine being banned from answering phone calls? Or chewing a pen at work? Harsh. Right?
The first week of the month was the Customer Service Week, which saw businesses send poetic messages to clients and give their customers treats.
For every satisfied customer, there is a customer care attendant playing by their employer’s rules. But did you know that there are interesting rules, some written and some unwritten, binding the attendants in various fields ? We gathered some of those.
Supermarket cashiers: No phones at work
In most local supermarkets, cashiers should not have their phones with them during their shifts.
“You have to wait till the end of your shift or maybe during breaks to use the phone,” said Jonah, who has been a cashier at a number of supermarkets including Tuskys and Uchumi.
It is a rule that should perhaps spread to government offices to ensure faster service.
Supermarket staff, he added, are also not supposed to pocket money or any valuable item dropped by a customer. Stories abound of supermarket attendants who lost their jobs after being spotted on CCTV cameras picking cash dropped by clients.
“You are supposed to take it to the customer care desk,” Jonah said.
Flight attendants: Never leave until the last passenger alights
Unlike your ordinary matatu where the conductor can alight wherever and whenever, in aviation it’s different. No attendant, under whatever circumstances, should leave before the last passenger is out.
“It’s a rule. You need to know what happens after all the passengers have left. And you also need to check areas like the cabin and find out how they are,” says politician Damaris Too-Kimondo, a former flight attendant.
“Remember, you are also the first one to go inside and check if everything is okay. You’re basically a waiter,” adds Mrs Kimondo with a chuckle.
Bank staff: Don’t use funny pens
What’s in a pen, you may ask? Provided it can cross t’s and dot i’s, shouldn’t any pen just do? Not necessarily, if you work in a bank. A common policy among bank staff is that you should look like a person people should trust with their money. So, using a pen with a chewed cap or discontinuous ink can earn a bank employee some serious reprimand from superiors.
A bank employee told us: “Chewing of pens, psychologists say, is self-comforting and occurs as a result of feeling anxious or stressed. One can only entrust you with their money if they think you’re sober enough to handle it.”The employee added that eating is also prohibited inside bank tellers’ booths because money is dirty. Literally.
Call centre attendants: Don’t hang up on customers
Ever wondered why there is some awkward silence at the end of a call to a customer care attendant until you finally decide to end the call? Turns out it is because most attendants are told never to hang up under whatever circumstances unless a supervisor okays it.
Ms Nelly Munoko worked at a customer care office along Mombasa Road until early last year and such were the rules.
“That’s like a universal rule in customer service. The customer has to always come first despite how rude and unreasonable they are,” she said.
So, what if a customer does not wish to end the call?
“You have to find a way of explaining to them to make them end the call,” she replied. “Or else, you engage the supervisor.” She noted that all calls are usually recorded and reviewed. During her stint at the firm that many firms outsource to handle customer calls, attendants found to have hung up on customers were reprimanded or even dismissed.
So, next time you hear a call centre attendant asking you “is there anything else you might want assistance on?” Consider it a request to reach for that red button.
Waiters: No carrying food home
Probably a measure for protecting stocks, the waitresses who serve you are not allowed to carry any of the food home.
Jackton Esendi, a hotelier, says neither whole dishes nor partly eaten food should be carried home by staff.
Wait staff are also under a rule that hot foods should reach the customer while still hot.
“The food’s temperature when it leaves the kitchen should be the same temperature it is served to the client,” he said.
Receptionists: Never, ever lose your cool
However belligerent and cantankerous a client is, a receptionist is never allowed to lose their marbles.
“I should remain calm, even when the client is running short of patience and temperament. And I should be warm to everyone who visits the premises,” says Jacky Otieno, a receptionist.