17 June 2011

Still no Understanding of the 'Customer is King concept'

People who know me will support the fact that I always try to be positive about Ukraine.
But try as I must, it is getting more difficult.
We all know the stories about bad customer service from 'former soviet union countries' and many of us still share the experiences concerning the almost complete lack of any awareness towards 'customer service' in the service industry in Ukraine.

Many of my friends are ready to offer examples of bad customer service, but I thought I would share with you some experiences from today both good and bad.

Some of the more expensive restaurants in Kyiv provide VERY good service. But they tend to be the VERY expensive restaurants also. Like

Restaurant "Richelieu"

Always provides excellent service from all the staff and food and drink is served very quickly.
However, it is one of the more expensive restaurants in kyiv. A meal for two people including wine came to UAH 1700 ( USD 214) (GBP 135)

After this I visited the Golden Gate Pub in Kyiv city centre. After waiting at the bar for approximately 10 minutes without any sign of any staff wanting to serve me I decide to walk out and find another place. I then walk down the street to the famous 'Chateau Bar' in Kreshatik Street. Where the 'girl' asks me 'do you have a reservation?'. To which I reply NO.
Sorry she says...all tables are fully booked. After giving her a very big 'спасибо', I walk off down the street to Arena City. Now please understand that I know this place very well, as I live across the road. But they still don't give a dam if you are a regular customer or not.
After sitting for approx 5 minutes Iam presented with a menu. Knowing the situation I order a beer very quickly and worry about any further requests until later. After 12 minutes (I timed it as per my mobile phone), no drink appeared. I then got up and walked out.
Went to the local super market and purchased beer and snacks and returned home.

I will NEVER get use to the bad customer service in Ukraine. I think about the situation come next year for UEFA 2012 when many foreign visitors will be in Ukraine. How will they understand that they are kept waiting 5-10 minutes to be served a beer in a bar/restaurant/cafe. In most European countries it is so simple to serve a beer within a few SECONDS of a customers request. They came to that particluar bar/restaurant/cafe to be SERVED and offer their 'custom'.

It is still truely amazing to find that in Ukraine is takes SO LONG for a customer to be served with the most simple of requests. Plus even when you do get served it then takes SO LONG to receive the Bill after you have placed the request.

I appreciate that Ukraine has its own culture and I would never wish Ukraine to become like an Amercian city.But there are many cities like Prague where they discovered long ago how to take care of those important people called 'customers'.

Wake up Ukraine.......UEFA 2012 is a major opportunity to show you are a real European city.

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