05 Apr 2014 - 4:42


The saying, ‘Customer is king’, does not always hold true in Qatar, with customers complaining of the indifferent attitude of companies and their representatives who deal with the public. The customer is king for them until he has bought their product or service; after that, his status is downgraded to that of a servant.


People complain that customer care staff, who are supposed to help them, leave them dispirited. Often when a customer approaches a customer care desk, he is either given a cold shoulder or made to wait for long. When the wait ends, the customer care staff are unable to provide the required information because of their lack of knowledge, which points to poor training. 
“Working in a public relations or reception job not only requires academic qualifications but also some personal talents. The job requires that a person can work under pressure without losing his temper, and treats people in a friendly way,” Naji Rashid Al Naimi told an Arabic daily. 
“But what we see now is customer care officials busy on the phone, chatting on social media. Some are busy updating status messages while others can be seen playing games on mobile phones. This makes customers angry and leads to heated arguments. This shows that executives, especially in the health centres, are not trained well to deal properly with customers,” Al Naimi said.
Customers say that the reception at a company’s office is like an airport. The airport gives a foreigner his first impression about a country. Similarly, the reception gives the customer his first impression about a company. The image of a company can get tarnished if staff at the reception deal rudely with customers.
“Once, I went to the emergency section of a health centre with my leg broken, in severe pain. I did not find any receptionist for a long time. When I found the receptionists, they were casual in listening to my problem. Their attitude left me wondering why I had gone there,” Abdul Rahman Al Manhali told the daily.
Apathetic executives are not the only problem customers face. They also suffer discrimination on the basis of nationality and skin colour. Customers complain that sometimes customer care staff give very cordial treatment to a person standing next to them just because of his skin colour.
They also complain that some customer care executives think that customers are inferior to them, and do not treat them with respect. 
However, those working in public relations stress that they treat customers with respect, regardless of their own personal problems. 
“The nature of my job requires me to forget my pains and personal problems and smile every time a customer comes to me. I treat customers with a smile and all respect because if I fail to do so, it will spoil the image of my company,” Sonia, who works in a hotel, told the paper.
See also page 2