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How to deal with customer complaints. A lesson from Tamkeen.

How to deal with customer complaints. A lesson from Tamkeen.

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Twelve days ago, I had this to say about Tamkeen:

As you can see above, just one day after posting the initial complaint, which was borne from frustration and previous experiences with Tamkeen, someone took notice of my complaint and took positive action. No less than three Tamkeen personnel called offering to help to resolve the situation. And they did, almost immediately.

Within a day, all paperwork was resubmitted and accepted within their system. The lady in charge of this particular project was immensely helpful and responsive and called me back to assure me that the paperwork was in order and that she has passed on the project to payments.

My other complaint which I shared with those who followed up was to do with the payment period. Tamkeen promises to release payments once all paperwork is accepted within 60 days. I told them that as a small businesses and we simply cannot afford to wait for two months to get our payments, especially when those payment equates to 50% of the total project. Our cashflow won’t allow it. They promised to see what they could do about that too.

Imagine my pleasant surprise yesterday when I found the payment has actually landed in our bank! Just 12 days after the initial complaint. This is excellent.

Thank you Tamkeen for taking active notice of complaints, and thank you too for expediting payments. I hope that as you have proved that you could take such quick action once the complete document set is submitted, that this responsiveness becomes the norm rather than the exception.

Thank you Tamkeen, once again, for your efforts. It is very much appreciated.

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Short sightedness

Short sightedness

Why is it that to every attempt to reasonably increase fees we get an unreasonable reaction? The commercial registration in this country was just BD30 (US$80) annually and there is an intent to increase it to BD50 ($130) so what do we get? Rather than the sane question is what additional value do we get for this increase, we get the Chamber of Commerce bleating that this will “hurt SMEs”. Ok, fine, it might hurt some – which should never have entered business in the first place because of this meagre sum will affect their existence, they’re not worth having in the market in the first place. Their contribution must be negative by all standards. Yet, when we get a humdinger like this one:

The decision to extend the moratorium on Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) fees until the end of the year was yesterday praised by Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) chairman Dr Essam Fakhro.

The response we get is an insane

He said the decision was sound, timely and to the point. [source]

And the Chamber – which most definitely does not represent businesses in Bahrain any more (the fiasco of sectarianism, tepid support for local businesses, completely disconnected from its membership, etc) – clap until they pour down with sweat.

Hello! Anyone home?

To anyone who participated in Tamkeen’s initiatives, the medium and long term benefits gained by SMEs is tremendous.

TamkeenFor the first time in this country’s history we have SMEs starting to appreciate the role that structured processes can play in a business’ future, that marketing is not just printing paper bags with their logos on them for the cheapest price possible, at treating their employees as partners and investing in their training is a good idea, that they have the ability to access seed and working capital to incubate and sustain their ideas and they’ve started to look at international markets and realised the tremendous opportunity that international certifications like ISO and others offer them against fierce competition.

Now that well that initiated this seismic shift in the way that SMEs can do business is all but stifled and the Chamber, who should be the first to fiercely fight such a decision, is applauding this short sighted decision.

Mind boggling.

Look, I’m not suggesting that everything Tamkeen does is perfect, most certainly not, but constructively criticising their efforts and programs in order for them to improve and benefit the country’s struggling SMEs is a much better strategy than cutting or completely canceling its funding.

Just when we started to realise that our future depends on modernising our methods and recognising how to sustain our businesses, we get this. Who benefits from this? I can’t think of any other than the big cats who employ thousands of cheap indentured and ill-educated people who are paid a pittance which can only equate to a gross violation of their human rights. How sustainable is that method of doing business? If this is what the government wants to happen, then they might as well start building slave dhows and be done with it.

SME’s desperately need the programs offered by Tamkeen. They should be supported much more than they currently are, in staff, consultants, resources and anything else to make the only government program which is worth its salt carry on. Not have their funding cut and their future made uncertain.

This is an unmitigated disaster for us SMEs.

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