Ishemunyoro Chingwere Business Reporter—
Local businesses should scale up consumer relations etiquette or risk losing out on the expected influx of foreign businesses that are showing increased interest in investing in Zimbabwe, the Chartered Institute of Customer Relations Management (CICRM) has warned.
Zimbabwe has had a litany of investment commitments and enquiries amounting to $20 billion since the advent of the new dispensation led by President Mnangagwa who has championed a foreign capital luring campaign through his “Zimbabwe is Open for Business” mantra.
Speaking in an interview with this publication yesterday, CICRM executive director Dr Mthokozisi Nkosi, said the size of business alone, number of trading years and market dominance, though necessary, are not sufficient to sustain a brand in the face of competition.
Dr Nkosi’s remarks are in line with President Mnangagwa’s call that local businesses should take advantage of the “Zimbabwe is Open for Business” drive and position themselves and benefit from increased economic activities anticipated.
“Zimbabwe has a number of dominant (business) players in various sectors of the economy and some of them have won awards for it but there remains serious gaps and deficiencies in the way they do business,” said Dr Nkosi whose organisation has also over the past two months embarked on training Government agencies on the best practices in service delivery.
Some of the organisations that have already benefited from the training are those with increased interface with the public and business among them the immigration department whose personnel deal face to face with people coming into the country, the National Handling Services which man the country’s airports, the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) among others.
Hospitals, and local authorities have also benefited from the training.
“Majority of the (local businesses) take advantage of their market size to abuse the customers.
“Some of their activities border on customer abuse, unreliable service systems, negative attitudes and at times taking customers for a ride.The best that they should start doing is to build trust for their products by the consumer so that when a new player comes in, the locals will benefit from already established foothold,” he said.
In this vein CICRM will tomorrow launch the Most Trusted Brand awards for all sectors of business among them the manufacturing and service sectors, which will honour both public and private businesses.
The organisation will focus on business stability, innovation to cope with the ever changing consumer needs, tastes, preferences and quality of service as well as ethical conduct.