The Sweet Service Award goes to Stephen Towler, Group Sommelier of One&Only Cape Town. Towler is knowledgeable, offers excellent service and he has presence without being obtrusive about it. He was spot on with a suitable choice of shiraz, showed customers to maze his 5 000-bottle Wine Loft, and sent complimentary glasses of a dessert wine to the table. At no stage did one feel that he was trying to recommend the more expensive wines on the 35-page winelist. He took interest in the service deficiencies of maze, and helped to address them quietly and efficiently, even though the food side is not his responsibility. For a detailed review of maze at the One&Only Cape Town, read the WhaleTales blog post of 9 April below.
The Sour Service Award goes to Vodacom, for the appalling poor service customers have to endure when the cellphone company cuts off its customer’s line, even though payment was made by Easypay two days prior. No sms to warn one of the line cut was received. One has to call the Vodacom accounts department, and the call centre (which can vie for the unenviable award of the worst Call Centre in the country, shared with the Sunday Times) is completely customer unfriendly. There is no apology expressed or understanding what inconvenience such a line cut can mean to one’s business, that is totally dependent on sending sms-messages and making calls when one is out of the office. Instead one is treated as a criminal, with “verification” questions asked about oneself – ID number, postal address, type of Vodacom package one subscribes to (be warned to not get this vital piece of information wrong, as one then is hugely suspect), name of bank one banks with, and type of account one has with the bank. The significance of the questions, other than the ID number, was questioned by the customer. One then has to fax the proof of payment, and is told that it will take an hour for the reconnection to take place. The customer however had to call three times, and go through the verification process each time, because she expressed her frustration to each of the call center representatives, who then “punished” her by not reconnecting the line. The customer was cut off for 6 hours due to the unacceptable behaviour of the Vodacom call centre staff. No apology was received for the inconvenience caused!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.