Hi All,

Before I start I need to clear 3 things up.Take this as a disclaimer if you will…
1-I am by no means a snob, nor is this intended to seem patronising.
I am also not generalising this to everyone, there are plenty of people, companies and services here I LOVE
2- I am fully aware of the culture differences and necessity to adapt accordingly
3- I gave up an incredible life and career in London/UK to move permanently to St Lucia, which should say it all! I love the country and want to be an active participant in its’ development

So now that’s cleared up- let me explain the title. I am reminded/told anytime I complain about anything here that “ its just how St Lucia is”, every time I go on facebook however I see St Lucians complaining about it themselves…. Confused yet? I am…. A technician or contractor is hours late- “that’s st lucia”, someone doesn’t turn up to a meeting- “it happens all the time”, you get no reply to your emails/calls- “it’s normal, give them more time and try again”…

newsflash

Nothing will change if the only complaints being made are to your facebook friends hours later, we need to take a stand against bad service, poor manners and the lack of professionalism too often tolerated and shrugged off as ‘normal’. It’s time to redefine ‘normal’ and it starts with each person individually, taking pride in themselves,ensuring they remain hardworking, trustworthy and delivering the highest standard of service possible, no matter what they do.

Next it comes down to the more senior staff- from department managers through to the company owners to implement and instil rules/guidelines and standards. Richard Branson has many well-known quotes and one of my favourites is:

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Respect your staff and they will respect you. Expect the best but equip them to deliver the best. You don’t need some fancy training course, if you’re great at something they’re not so strong on, guide and train them, maybe even provide a series of in house training sessions if possible and share your knowledge with others. This type of relationship will bring out the best in them and that will be the person your customer/client gets to deal with.Offer initatives to your staff, monthly prizes, bonus’s or extra vacation days to those who perform and penalty’s for those who don’t. This is popular in england and although you may lose a few staff from it, it will be the ones you don’t actually benefit from or need. The ones who have it in them (both the potential and desire) will have that extra push to perform well. It is also vital that you recognise a job well done however small, if you’re quick to blast every small mistake but not acknowledge small achievements you will instantly alienate your team and they won’t see the value in working hard.  Just a quick well done, I appreciate it, proud of you- email or chat goes a long way.  Activities outside work and company team building/fun days/events are also important. This can be twice a year, a summer and christmas party perhaps but giving your employees a glass of wine, plate of food and a nice day out really does go a long way!

Back to the issue…. being told you have to accept poor service. This stemmed from an incident I just had:
I have spent the past 2 days at home waiting repeatedly on a plumber. In total he made 5 separate visits, every time he needed another tool he left for (literally) between 4-6 hours. The final time he disappeared before 2pm to get a crow bar and returned at 7pm. After telling me he hadn’t answered my calls as his phone was on silent, he literally laughed it off when I pointed out I’d missed a planned beach trip with my son and in-laws on a rare day off work. I lost my temper at that point and guess what… I was apparently in the wrong to get upset because… yes you guessed it… “it happens to everyone”.

If every single company took note of the regular complaints/incidents occurring and actively worked on solving those issues from the root, not only would their individual company be significantly more successful but it would have a substantial ripple effect across the entire country, its tourism and development. Whether you are a CEO or the person cleaning that CEO’s office, do your best, consistently deliver an exceptional standard of work and enjoy the benefits. Think of it this way, you are at work 80% of your week either way so why not make it count….

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If someone is late without calling before, rude or unprofessional pull them up on it, tell them its unacceptable and resolve it quickly.It is only when people are told repeatedly their service is poor and faced with the possibility of losing that business that they will do something about it.

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Nothing can beat the feeling of a job well done and seeing great results thanks to your own hard work.   Its time for St Lucia to recognise the potential it has but also recognise its’ flaws, resolve them (LIAT – i’m talking to you!!!) and stop accepting this as normal!!!!

Charlie xxx