“Good, better, best
May I never rest;
Until my good is better
And my better, best.”
The above is a popular rhyme most of us learnt in our early childhood education. But I wonder how many people actually pay attention to these simple, yet powerful words. I believe the difference between success and mediocrity lies in the very context of these words. What distinguishes a successful enterprise from one that is struggling to keep its customers is enshrined in the idea these words present. And it is simple: ‘know your good, desire the better, but achieve the best’. There is no denying the fact that today’s business world is competitive. And, in the face of competition, only the best are noticed and rewarded. Being good at something used to be enough to get you recognition and reward. Well, not anymore. Today’s business is all about becoming the best. It is the ultimate necessity. If you want the highest rewards, you have to become the best.
There are many good ways of satisfying customers, but there are also better ways. Then there is the ultimate: the best ways. Sadly though the term “customer satisfaction” as we know of today is used rather casually so much that it has lost its true significance. Most businesses are not doing anything beyond smiling at customers or trying to appear friendly. This is saddening! I believe to satisfy customers, a business needs to employ the best practices in making them feel truly satisfied. If a business is able to find the best ways to satisfy its customers, then it gets rewarded with more business and more customers. And then the marketing equation begins to apply: ‘X number of customers equals X number of sales, which culminates into X margin of profit for the business’. It seems to me then that no business can significantly grow its investments, unless it first focuses on meeting the needs and demands of customers. As we say in marketing, ‘customers are the lifeblood of an organization’. Once a business runs out of them, it is certainly headed for the exit lines of the market.
So to businesses, I have a few words to suggest. If your customers spend 10 minutes at your place of business for a normal transaction, find ways to reduce it to 7, maybe even 5. If customers need to drive long distances and be in traffic for hours for them to come and pick up a form, report or statement, find a way of sending it to them electronically. If new customers need to fill four different forms to open a simple savings account, work on having the processes halved. Or perhaps your customers want to make deposits via the internet or the ATM. Maybe they want their ATM requests processed within 3 hours. If your customers make a complaint, resolve it in 24 hours, or less. Send your customers personalized birthday messages, or have frequent corporate events where you get to interact with them more personally. And there may be some others who despise an SMS alert after every transaction. Whatever their wants and desires may be, no matter how trivial they may be, there are tons and tons of ideas available that will help you meet these wants. Employ some of these very basic principles and see your business rewarded.
Maybe previously your business has employed good ideas to satisfy customers. However, to operate in the going concern, you must channel thoughts on improving those good ideas into better ones. If the ideas already are better, then it may be time you challenged yourself to develop and implement the best ideas. Today’s businesses obviously need to put in more effort into satisfying today’s customers whose tastes and preferences are always changing, mainly due to the endorsement of a different business or product by family, friends or the media and also experiences (good or bad) they have with a firm or product. Do not let your business rest after it has achieved some level of success. That is how a mediocre business thinks, and soon the market kicks them out. Today’s business market does not babysit a business. Rather, it nurtures and matures businesses that operate right strategies and best practices.
Be on the move to improve. Good is not better. And better is not best. And until you have achieved best, do not rest!
By: Obeng, Kwesi Buah (Marketing Officer- Databank Group)