Ghana’s growing customer service problem is an albatross but it’s not the root of the general service problem the country faces. You may not like a front desk person who prefers to chew gum while talking to clients and/or customers of their organizations but have you considered how we treat artisans? Have you asked yourself why politicians think they can take citizens for granted or pastors rip off members of their own congregations?
There’s a general lack of respect across the board.
Many have argued for things to be based on meritocracy but the reason that is not working is that everyone assumes they can do what the next person is doing.
One may look at a beautiful work of art and be faced with three choices. The first choice is to invest in this artiste whose work we admire. The second is we can be our own artiste and compete with him/her and then there’s a third; totally dismiss or extort the hitherto brilliant artiste. The first two choices come out of respect but the third and most resorted to option in Ghana is to ignore a brilliant piece or extort the artiste until he/she is rendered useless.
We are quick, in fact, too quick to look down on people. It’s beginning to look like the default Ghanaian position.
People who are meant to serve, tend to look down even on their bosses and that means we have built a society that thrives without effort.
Why should I try when no matter what I do, people will think nothing of it as long as I am as black as they are?
The lack of respect is why we can’t get talented people to work for any Ghanaian interest. Everyone who attends Harvard or Yale or Oxford wants to work for a multinational because they will put a high value on their education and pay them accordingly. Even the richest Ghanaians are not willing to pay the most talented people well except they are expatriates. If you are black as they are, you can be an Edison and it won’t matter.
So our most talented minds are building the Apples, Facebooks, and Googles of this world because really, they are the ones who know the value of what’s in a person.
We can’t continue too long with this toxic attitude. We have to do better.
A week ago, I had a discussion with a client in the U.S. and he said he stopped working with Ghanaians because everyone feels big. It may seem pompous at first to say that but deep within it is the question of our utter disrespect for anyone and anything.
Having respect for people is an art form in itself. You can train yourself to see and act beyond your need to feel important by making others less important.
Our importance must not stem from a need. It must stem from a place of self-worth. When we value ourselves with or without the approval of others, it will be easier to respect them and still hold our heads high.
If we will improve customer service and begin to build lives, homes, businesses and a nation that will survive, we must first pay attention to putting some value on the people we engage. It doesn’t matter whether you are at the front desk or you are a multi-millionaire. The only way great things have come out of people is the value societies put on those things. If we begin to put a value on the things and people coming out from among us, the sky will not be limit enough.