The Sweet Service Award goes to Hilton Weiner, and is nominated by Jane Wright: “My son was desperately looking for a suit for his matric dance which was held last Saturday. He is very tall, but very skinny so it seemed an impossible task to find a suit that fitted him in the length but didn’t drown him at the same time. We finally went to Hilton Weiner on the Lower Ground floor of Cavendish Square. Kudos go to Leigh, their sales lady, who dealt with us in such a professional manner, making sure that he found the right suit in their store and when the jacket wasn’t available, she sourced it in Johannesburg and had it transferred to the Cavendish Square shop in time. We even went back and bought his shirt there because we knew she would get the right fit and we would get the right advice. She is confident without being brash, dynamic without being forward, helpful without being fawning. She is truly an asset to her company”.
The Sour Service Award goes to ABSA Bank’s credit card department, and its employee Etienne. Earlier this week I popped in at Detail Interior Design on Dorp Street in Stellenbosch. My credit card would not allow the transaction, and so the manageress allowed me to transfer funds into my card on her computer, something I have done before, and has never been a problem. However, the machine asked the manageress to call for authorisation. I had to provide my ID number, full (German) names, cell number and postal address. Halfway through I asked Etienne whether he did not have enough information already to verify who I am, and he said that he was doing this to protect my money, something I did not ask for, and that he would decline the transaction if I did not co-operate! The manageress then was given an authorisation code to finalise the transaction, but was asked many more questions and procedures than appeared necessary, to such an extent that I told her to stop the transaction and that I would pay in cash, given that the ABSA communication had taken half an hour already. She was asked by Etienne to cancel the authorisation by fax, and she asked if she could e-mail it to him, which he refused. To add insult to injury, the payment is reflecting on the credit card statement, even though no slip came out of the credit card machine during the transaction!
POSTSCRIPT 4/4: I was most impressed to receive the following e-mail of apology today from ABSA’s card division: “With reference to your complaint received on 1 April 2011 from Absa Business Bank Cape Town, regarding the service you received from our Authorisations Department on the credit card account. We wish to sincerely apologise for the fact that you did not receive the service you are entitled to. Absa’s attempt at delivering exceptional service has indeed been damaged, as we know that the success of an organisation depends largely on its relationship with its customers. Be assured that the matter has been addressed with Ettiene and we are in coaching conversations with him and his manager, to ensure that similar incidents do not occur in future. We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for bringing the abovementioned to our attention and trust that future dealings with us will be of a more professional nature. Kind regards
Complaints Management Centre
The WhaleTales Sweet & Sour Service Awards are presented every Friday on the WhaleTales blog. Nominations for the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be sent to Chris von Ulmenstein at email@example.com. Past winners of the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be read on the Friday posts of this blog, and in the WhaleTales newsletters on the www.whalecottage.com website.