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Thread: Business etiquette - noticed difference between Cape Town and Johannesburg.

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    Business etiquette - noticed difference between Cape Town and Johannesburg.

    Hello,

    I lived in Gauteng for many years, then moved to Western Cape around year 2000.
    I was immediately annoyed at how business was done in W.Cape, and 15 years later very little has changed.
    (Yes you try and educate)


    Here is what I witnessed, it is a *generalization* and its not true for all companies,
    though true for a large percentage: (It is like the environment and area is influencing their behavior)
    (Many companies has since impressed me greatly with their professionalism)

    In Cape Town:

    1. You contact a company, they arrange a technician to visit you. (wow they answered their phones this time!)
    2. Technician says "will be there tomorrow morning". (no time given, its "Slaapstad" of cause! adapt or die)
    3. Technician (neatly dressed) shows up very late, test something, and says "Will be back tomorrow morning". (again no time)
    4. Technician does NOT show up next day, you contact him, he says "oh sorry got busy with another job", will reschedule.
    (no call to warn you he is stuck or busy). To him it is OK. normal way of "doing business".
    5. You feel neglected, unimportant, and wish you never have to deal with this company again.

    Same scenario in Johannesburg / Randburg
    2. Technician makes a date: specific time, gets GPS coordinates to your place.
    3. Technician neatly dressed, polite, friendly, shows up on time, does the work skillfully. No need "to be back tomorrow".
    4. If technician is accidentally held up: he calls you, makes alternate arrangements like different time or different technician.
    5. You feel empowered, proud to do business with them, would recommend them to friends.

    My own 2c opinion: Cape Town companies are far less professional than Johannesburg counterparts,
    the Lay-back-ness is getting in the way of Getting-Things-Done.

    If you disagree: you welcome to show examples to prove my opinion wrong.

    Another example: lets call them COMPANY A (in Cape Town Area Northern Suburbs)
    1. you walk into a shop to look for a new (say) bed lamp.
    2. Guy sits behind the counter, looks like he is bored with life.
    3. He does not get up to help you. He stares you in the eyes, does not greet, expressionless just sits there.
    4. You need help, you ask him for help, it looks like you just asked him to donate a kidney, its all over his face,
    he does not really want to help you, he is just there waiting for time to pass so he can collect his next paycheck.
    5. He tells you, sorry cannot help you with Brand-X, does not offer to source it, just dead-end business.
    5. You walk out of the shop. miffled, swear to yourself you will NEVER support this shop again.

    No it does not help to complain to his boss, because you find out he IS the boss.

    Same scenario in Gauteng:
    2. Guy greets you as you get into the shop, smiles, asks immediately how he/she can help.
    3. If their shop does not stock it, he offers to get it from another branch, or give ideas where else you might try.
    4. You walk out of the shop feeling important, satisfied and helped: even if you don't have the product in hand
    5. You tell yourself: Now Here I will shop again.


    I would love to teleport company A into Gauteng, in the middle of their competitors, and watch them slowly die.

    I will think up a more positive list on "how to help companies to be a bit more professional".

  2. #2
    Diamond Member HR Solutions's Avatar
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    Eddie you are pretty much on the target. It does get very frustrating, but that is the way the Capies do it and sometimes I think that having the laid back attitude is the way to go, perhaps a whole lot less stressful.

    To add to your examples, having a recruitment business in CT the candidates are also totally laid back and we often hear them saying "I think Im going to just find myself and take 3 months off". People in general seem less career orientated making it that much harder for us to survive in Cape Town. So we have a double whammy - we have the clients who look for staff but can't make up their mind when we do find them good people and need to "think" about it for a few weeks, not realising that maybe the candidate is going to find another job, and on the other end we have the candidates who don't want to really work at the end of the day. (Not all of them)

    It makes for interesting working in CT
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    Hi HR Solutions

    The most horrible feeling is to wait for someone who said "They will be here in 15 minutes". Then you keep an eye on the gate, pace up and down,
    wait patiently, and after 30 minutes you're steaming. I've learned to take a Cape town persons "15 minutes" with a grain of salt,
    I no longer wait for them, if they are late, I phone their boss, complain about their time keeping, cancel the appointment, and do business with other more reliable companies.

    I have managed to educate-along-the way and play the system, by being strong, polite, well-spoken, friendly and enthusiastic.
    (fine line of not becoming-an-ass)

    When you make an appointment with someone to see you:

    A: Get them to specify a time, or state a time and here if they agree, and ask them to call you if they find they are going to be late. Give them a missed call on their phone to make sure they have your number.
    B: offer exact GPS co-ordinates to your premises, ask them if they have a GPS, or if you can email them a PDF or PNG map with directions.
    C: Ask who their boss is who you can call to check for reasons if they are late for their appointment. They tend to not-be-late when it is their boss who asks them to visit you.
    D: offer them coffee and tea when they get there, be super friendly to them without becoming 'their-friend-or-family'.
    E: Compliment them on good work and good time-keeping.
    F: Phone his boss next day and voice your appreciation for the professional way they did their work.

    then things tend to go smoother and better. Just a pity its not a natural process.
    Geeks like me work with NTP time protocol and atomic clocks accurate to nanoseconds, and good time keeping tends to be important to us.

    And tip for Lay-back "we have all the time in the world and don't care about YOUR time" Restaurants in Cape Town greater area: (time-savers)

    1. Phone to make a reservation.
    2. When they seat you, immediately place your drinks order with the person who took you to your seat, and make sure to ask their name, and ask who will be your waiter.
    (that way the menu's get to you quicker and you don't have to wait 30 minutes for a waiter to notice you)
    3. Ask them to bring the bill together with the food, then you don't have to wait 30 minutes after your meal before they bring the bill.
    4. If you sit in an near-empty restaurant, and you need the attention of a waiter, and the 5 talking-to-each-other waiters stands 6 meters away pretending not to see you,
    take out your cellphone, call the restaurant's manager and ask him to send "that waiter with the red hair named Peter who avoids eye contact with you" to your table.
    (Last one is rude, its fun to watch the manager storm out of his office to break up the chatters, but at least you don't wait 30 minutes for your beer,
    *and* you don't brew in anger about bad service anymore)

    Just be careful not to be nasty so that they want to spit in your food.

    Its fun to improve the system!

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    Diamond Member adrianh's Avatar
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    Eddie - you are now the official generalization champion. I lived in JHB and CT for many years. There are good and bad companies in both cities. You make out as if JHB businesses walk on water... come on, get real.
    How easily someone is offended is directly proportional to how stupid they are.
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    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    It's difficult to be on time in Cape Town, I'm often late because I couldn't help stopping whilst on route to a customer because I had to;

    Check out a whale
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    Check out a dassie
    Have a quick swim in the ocean
    Klap a quick zol
    Take a stray dog to the local animal shelter
    Help an old lady across the road

    Cape Town isn't what it used to be, I got refused entry to a job the other day because apparently board shorts and slip-slops aren't allowed on building sites any more
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    Hi Adrian, yes you are right it is a generalization,

    I had some really good interactions with some companies here in Bellville.

    What I'm aiming to show: is the statistics:

    Chances of goods service in Gauteng e.g. Randburg is higher,

    Chances of good service in Cape Town (Northern suburbs) is noticeably lower.

    It is two different areas: West Rand region is fast-paced and geared for business, (if you're not friendly, you're out),
    Cape Town Northern Area is slower-paced and still has to learn (by looking at examples from elsewhere) on how to do good business and to keep customers happy.

    My secret goal is to improve local businesses where I encounter bad service.

    Cheers enjoy your weekend.

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    Diamond Member adrianh's Avatar
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    The are lies, damned lies and then there are statistics.

    You make a fundamental mistake: Us Cape Townians don't actually give a sh1t as long as we make enough money to get by so that we are able to surroundings all is good. I much prefer this lifestyle where I get to choose my customers and do as I please to owing a sh1t load of money on a car and house that I bought so that I can impress my friends!

    The difference is that we simply don't care for the rat race!
    How easily someone is offended is directly proportional to how stupid they are.
    ~GS Elevator

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    Diamond Member Justloadit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by adrianh View Post
    The are lies, damned lies and then there are statistics.

    You make a fundamental mistake: Us Cape Townians don't actually give a sh1t as long as we make enough money to get by so that we are able to surroundings all is good. I much prefer this lifestyle where I get to choose my customers and do as I please to owing a sh1t load of money on a car and house that I bought so that I can impress my friends!

    The difference is that we simply don't care for the rat race!
    I seem to recall from another thread that this type of behavior peed you off

    Quote Originally Posted by adrianh View Post
    eish....what a couple of weeks I've had. I've been very unhappy with the performance of my staff for a long time. We had numerous meeting over the past year and I started giving then ultimatums in the past 2 months. I showed them the math that is the business i.e. income v.s. expenditure. They seem to be unable to comprehend that if they do not produce the required income then there is no point in them being employed. I showed them that if I were on my own how I could produce more income than expenses by simply producing a small number of products by myself. Their R25K overhead is only worth my while if they make enough money to cover their own salaries, our overheads and also to make a profit. @ R30K overhead we need to sell at least R80K worth of products. At the beginning of last month I spelled this out once again in no uncertain terms. I made it clear that unless they bring in the desired amount of money that I WILL close the business at the end of the month and operate as a sole proprietor.

    I watch them the first week and they are still as lackadaisical as always.
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    Diamond Member adrianh's Avatar
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    To be fair, bad service does annoy me too...I suppose that I've been out of the mainstream customer service side of things that I don't think about it much (except of course when my customers sh1t on me for my bad service)
    How easily someone is offended is directly proportional to how stupid they are.
    ~GS Elevator

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    Diamond Member wynn's Avatar
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    The worst of all is the 'Civil Service Shuffle'.
    You know the one, where the fat bitch in say the post office slides her humungous arse off the stool and has to fetch your parcel from the room at the back.
    First a huge sigh and eyes rolled up, then a slow dismount from the stool and a slow pain wracked shuffle to the rear, then when she returns with your parcel (or whatever) after you hear a loud laughing conversation with others in the back room, another sigh and a grunt as she fits her posterior back on the stool then presents the parcel as if she has done you a huge favor. :-)
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