So I’ve heard a lot of people saying Zimbabwe is heavily riddled with poor customer treatment across many commercial facets (I consider that to be true actually). The adage, ‘the customer is king’ seems to be loosely regarded locally – I’ve seen this in many places. Often times you can’t help but feel that whenever you are acquiring most services it’s as if you are a nagging charity case considering how you are treated. Customer care is paramount for the growth of any service provider and deserves to be given befitting attention. Herein I’m discussing some common service complaints that people report about or highlight across various platforms.

Staff Attitudes

I can bet that almost, if not, everyone has been a victim of this at one point. You get to a corporate or commercial building and in pursuit of just asking simple questions to maybe find your way or to enquire on something and you are handled with very discourteous attitudes. I remember going to leave my items at the parcel counter of a certain supermarket and when I returned to retrieve my items the lady on-duty ignored me for a good 10 minutes (whilst eating). When I had had enough and decided to confront her she said she was still on lunch break. I was like ‘why then didn’t you at least close the door? I’ll admit I lost it and I really gave her a heavy verbal reprimand so much that it drew people’s attention. Talk about sour staff attitudes – it’s a pandemic in Zimbabwe.

Customer Care Call Centres

Call centres for mobile service providers can be extremely annoying – I’m preaching to the choir on this one. People complain about how their calls never get through when they are looking to sought help on wide-ranging issues. Several people have experienced scenarios where automated responses tell you to wait, which you do, then after what seems like eternity you are told to wait again. Many customer care centres are guilty of this, be it mobile service providers or any other service providers. I suspect they have few terminals that are seriously inadequate given the demand for customer care services.

Mobile Money Services

The types of complaints here come in various shapes and sizes. Some people bemoan the ever-occurring incidence of doing transactions which don’t immediately return the requested operation. For instance, you make a purchase of airtime, electricity etc, money gets deducted but purchase request doesn’t immediately get through. Some complaints involve agents or merchants restricting cash amounts and arm-twisting people into making unplanned for purchases on the pretext of not having cash (or so as to access cash). Others also complain of inconsistent charges deducted whenever you make a transaction.

Intrusive Advertising

This is with regards to the mobile service providers’ domain. People complain about how they constantly get jumped by SMS notifications only to find that it’s an ad. Countless people say this is very intrusive and annoying as they are just bombarded with such ads (without their consent). This is also is being seen in the physical world where people come into your face or personal space to push for their products or services – it annoys most people.

Variable Pricing &/or Over-Pricing Of Goods

One guy once went into a supermarket to buy a certain product – it was priced at $25. A couple days later he was stunned to find the same product at $50 (same supermarket but different location). What the guy later on inferred was that goods and services are priced variably depending on location (i.e. downtown, urban, suburban etc). This means some people get subjected to exorbitant prices on the pretext and assumption that high earners live in that location. This is a very rampant exercise that people are complaining about.

Sacred Cows & Corruption

Queues are usually a common sight. Be it a fuel station, academic institution, bank, even fast food outlets etc. You can endure hours of  queuing only to realize that the queue has barely moved. I recount an incident where someone was in a fuel queue at a comfortable position of number 15; hours later he was shocked to discover he was now on number 35. The settings and contexts of such scenarios are varied but nevertheless very common. It’s mainly caused by two things, the use of corrupt means by service providers to favour certain individuals (through bribes) or preferential treatment of so-called sacred cows. People are also complaining about how fellow blacks treat whites preferentially at the expense of other blacks.

Erratic Data Services

The need for data is very high owing to the increased use of the internet nowadays. However, people have cried and cried on how data mysteriously depletes. This is happening both for mobile data services and Wi-Fi data services. The fact that there aren’t clear-cut mechanisms to help people audit their data usage to really determine whether or not everything is in order makes them suspicious. Lots of people feel that they are being short-changed.

Bus Services

This domain is replete with various kinds of consumer complaints. Some cite poor handling of luggage, use of inappropriate registers; some cite delays and total disregard for passenger needs. The most common complaint is about reckless driving – mostly excessive speeds. Several accidents that have occurred were later on discovered to have been due to reckless driving.

Poor Quality

This is an issue common in the foods services industry (fast foods in particular). Food can be poorly done whilst also being exacerbated by mix-ups of orders, staleness and long waiting periods.


Most insurance companies are letting people down. When time comes for one to make a valid claim, people are reporting that they get incessant excuses leading to long delays.

It is my clarion call to all businesses that they must treat customers with the honour they deserve. The business is its customers – let’s not treat them crudely.