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How does business deal with government’s GV monster?

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How does business deal with government’s GV monster?

Just when you think things can’t get any worse they always do. The challenge for business is to soften the blow. That challenge has never been greater.

Government has screwed up big time. It’s been spending beyond its means and has failed to build a more self-reliant economy.


As a result, our currency is weak. Petrol prices are through the roof. In reaction to external pressures our interest rates are hiked, driving up bond repayments.


The mugging of the consumer then continues via e-tolling, rising inflation and higher food bills.


The consumer’s plight is ignored by politicians. Meanwhile, consumers are soured by every revelation about Nkandla, government waste, irregular expenditure and breath-taking lack of service delivery.


Government, like Frankenstein, has found it takes time, but it is possible to create a monster. In government’s case they’ve called into being the GV or gatvol consumer.


Many GV consumers are broke or have minuscule disposable income. It’s monstrous what they have to put up with. They’re losing patience. They’re angry and confused.


These are the people the private sector has to deal with when they walk into stores and businesses. They’re in no mood to be messed around. They are fit to explode.


Business has to defuse the situation and somehow make a profit from an embittered, exploited population.


The only way is through service that says ‘We’re not government; we’re here to help you, not fleece you’.


A good way to start is to return to basics. Improve service so consumers answer ‘Yes, yes, yes’ when they ask fundamental shopper questions like…

  • did I get good value or do I feel ripped off?
  • was everything done right first time with superior levels of quality?
  • am I treated with respect and courtesy and do I receive superior and responsive service?
  • are they available when I need them?
  • have they have hired the most competent people to help me?
  • do they listen to me or are they only interested in their own goals with no interest in mine?
  • do I feel physically and emotionally safe in the places I spend money?
  • is their communication with me accurate, relevant and personal?
  • is the operational environment free of risk, doubt and poor ethical behaviour?


The questions are based on the ServQual Model developed by Parasuraman, Zeithaml and Berry to define the characteristics customers look for in a relationship with business.


The GV consumer doesn’t answer ‘Yes’ to many of these questions during interaction with official departments. This creates opportunities for private sector businesses to stand out.


Make a friend and supporter of GV consumers and you’ll find they’re not monsters after all. They could be the making of your business.


In so many ways, government might be failing. That doesn’t mean your business has to.

Last modified on Tuesday, 11 March 2014 08:01
Aki Kalliatakis

Aki Kalliatakis runs The Leadership LaunchPad, a business focused on customer loyalty and radical marketing that he founded in 1989. He helps companies to implement customised service and loyalty strategies and lectures at executive development programmes for a number of business schools of both local and international universities, though he believes practical ideas are more important than academic theory. He adds value at training programs in Africa and around the world.


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