Keep all your customers

What you need to know:

Customer experience is a significant pillar of business growth

Customer experience is set to be the number one business differentiator in 2022 and beyond. This remains true for both the large corporates, suburb supermarket and even the clinic next door. Customer experience is a significant pillar of business growth.

Now let us look at a few simple yet important reasons why a customer will leave your business.

•Lack of efficiency – All customers want their time to be valued.

This can range from the time it takes in a hospital queue, waiting in a saloon or to get a loan from the bank. Automation and technology have made our patience levels grow very thin. Even when you click a computer button and the response is delayed for a micro second, you almost blow a fuse. We now want instant everything including the boda boda rider you sent to pick something from the market.

Your business had better have all processes aligned so that the end user is pleased with the wait time and quality of the product or service. Innovation and technology would be a great solution for this. Chat bots and face to face video support options are becoming a popular option.

•Lack of appreciation or friendly service: Customers want a personalised service. They want to feel that their case is important and want to be treated like a person, not a number. This is where the human touch comes in, the smile, the interest in the customer, the extra mile. If your business is not yet at a place to afford all the advanced technologies, utilise the soft skills and human interaction to keep your customers. I recall a great experience at a home stay place in Fort Portal. It was a rainy day as we came back from our tour and this young receptionist came to pick us with umbrellas as soon as she saw the car approach.

What a beautiful gesture, small but made us feel special. Sometimes it’s the small things that matter. A call back, a thank you note, offer to escort you to the car, willingness to make the customer feel important in any way.

•Convenience and ease of payment: Related to earlier points, everyone wants it easy to reach you and pay you. Your business needs to be available on all social media platforms, should be able to deliver anywhere at the customer’s beacon and call. Fortunately, mobile money and delivery companies have made it easy for us. My thoughts are that we might soon be too lazy to go to the ATM or Mobile Money agent and might want money to magically come out of the phone. Maybe even the food might…..who knows where this technology will take us. The customer now wants everything at the click of a button without moving an inch. If your business can’t do that, you had better be spending sleepless nights in the innovation hub.

•Customer given unreasonable expectation or lied to: This is one of those areas where the sales team and the rest of the internal departments are not aligned. There are several examples where a salesman told a customer he would get a loan in two days. Two weeks down the road the loan is not yet given and the cat and mouse game has been on for a week. Phones are not picked, emails go unanswered.

In the meantime the customer had promised to make payment say for a piece of land or worse still has a patient in hospital. The chain of pressure from the customer to the salesperson and back is at unprecedented levels.

What about online purchases, where you order a dress which is your size but by the time it gets to you it has shrunk four sizes smaller or have you grown four sizes bigger in the seven days? What about service providers, simple things like delivering food at a wedding reception at 4pm instead of the agreed 2pm and guests have to go through a gruesome pes. What about all the flashy adverts that can’t seem to leave you alone? Will they deliver exactly as they say? The list is endless but once you have lied to me once, you won’t catch me again!

Always aim at exceeding the customers expectation as much as you can. It is always wiser to have an allowance of time to take care of any setbacks.

•Unresolved customer complaints: When running a business, feedback from your customers is critical and some of it will come as complaints. Some interesting statistics show 83 per cent of customers agree that they feel more loyal to companies that respond and resolve their complaints (Khoros). Complaints can range from simple and easy to resolve like a wrong order of food at a restaurant to wrong medical diagnosis and medication. All forms of complaints can create huge reputational damage if not handled with efficiency and care.

It is therefore of utmost importance that you keep track of customer complaints and how quickly you are resolving them. Maybe you could have found the answer to the customers that have left you or are planning on leaving. The reasons for leaving one business or brand are as many and as broad depending on where you are on the hierarchy of needs (Maslow). For those towards self-actualisation, brand image, global presence, personalisation, unique experiences, and social responsibility might determine which company or business they want to associate with. For the colleagues still at the bottom of the pyramid where phycological needs like finding food are most important, dare not touch their cassava portions or price! Take baby steps but always ensure every customer who walks into your doors or business stall is kept for the long haul and refers customers to you.

Babra Mehangye Kahima, Customer experience enthusiast


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