The Observer (Kampala)

22 April 2012

Uganda: British Airways Lectures Students On Customer Care

British Airways will start supporting students in customer care to help some of its customers, who have been struggling to maintain their businesses. The move follows a realization that many Ugandan businesses are collapsing due to poor customer care. The airline, which has been in Uganda for the longest time, will carry out lectures in schools on customer care, especially how to turn challenges into business opportunities. The first such session took place last week at the Kampala - based Career Institute where hundreds of students gathered.

"Customer care is about professional handling of clients," the airline's Servicing Executive Mariam Karia started. "In actual sense, the customers are your bosses; so, you have to handle them with utmost politeness, patience, humility and honesty," she added.

Karia, who has been with British Airways for nine years, urged the students to be ethical, patient, hardworking and humane if they want to perfect customer handling, adding that outstanding customer care personnel get frequent promotions at workplaces.

"I first sat at the front desk before being transferred to marketing and later to my current position. Several other former front desk officers have also been promoted due to their excellent work," Karia said.

The four-hour interactive session was attended by students from the various courses taught at the institute. Excited students tabled various queries about customer care, although most were intrigued by the intricacies of being an air hostess.

"Is it true that you cannot be an air hostess if you are not beautiful? I want to become an air hostess, how do I do it? I also hear that air hostesses get to travel a lot?" queried Freda Kyeza, a second-year student of Tours, Travel and Fairs.

But Karia maintained that the students must be ethical and brilliant while handling customers, in whatever one is doing, explaining that even rude customers should be treated nicely."

The airline's Finance Officer John Byantalo told students that they only take interns in exceptional circumstances, but they are out to support education and youth development. On a lighter note, one excited student suggested that he wanted to strike an instant partnership with B.A to transport cargo for the airliner only to be humbled by learning that he has to first register his company and apply for a lease.

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