Aunt Molly, a 52-year old woman who has problems with her sight, walks for thirty minutes to buy waakye two streets away from home even though Mma Adiza’s waakye is at the bus stop, a stone throw away from her home. When I asked my favourite Aunt why she preferred to walk for thirty minutes for waakye when she could just buy it from Mma Adiza; she said her new waakye seller smiled more and conversed with her.
It sounded funny in the beginning but scrutinizing it, I realised there was some truth in what she said. Mma Adiza’s waakye was super delicious and her shito was something else, heavenly! yet customer service was definitely not her stronghold. She was rude to her customers especially when they buy waakye without meat or fish, and mostly left those of us queued up in front of her shop unattended to, whiles she served her ‘VIP’ customers in posh cars. Aunt Molly is an ardent lover of waakye and used to complain everyday until Araba recommended another waakye joint thirty minutes away from home. Per Aunt Molly’s account, her new waakye seller is very friendly and always welcomes her with a smile. The woman does not complain about a customer’s inability to purchase meat or fish neither does she discriminate towards customers on foot. From her testimony, Aunt Molly spoke as if her new waakye seller was a longtime friend. Surprisingly, she did not even know the name of the joint but could direct a blind man to the place.
Henry Ford, founder of Ford Motor Company, says “It is not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money. It is the customer who pays the wages.” Aunt Molly’s experience is one out of many dissatisfied customers who seek for better customer service. Many businesses pay attention to branding, pricing and every other thing except customer service. In a typical Ghanaian setting, vendors or sales people treat customers like they are doing them a favour. The customer practically has to comport himself ‘appropriately’ or face long waiting hours or a frown. The worst culprits are the tellers in the bank. I sat in a banking hall for close to two hours waiting in line to make a deposit. The tellers were not attending to anyone for close to an hour, till an elderly man confronted them, just for them to tell us the network was down, really? It would have just taken two minutes to inform us of the problem, yet who cares?
Good customer service is crucial to the growth of every business and can range from expensive gestures such as souvenirs to simple actions like a bright smile while interacting with customers. Use all means available to you as a business to give your customers an enjoyable experience. Strive to ensure the best of customer service to all irrespective of how small or big your company is. Some companies spend huge amounts of money on various advertising campaigns when what they really need is good customer service. No amount of adverts will translate into sales if the customer service is terrible.
There are so many benefits of good customer service to a business. Pamper your customers, let them feel special and reap the results. People naturally do not hesitate in sharing their experience either good or bad. Good customer service helps spread the good news quickly. Word of mouth is a very powerful tool and reaps rapid results especially when it is from a friend or relative who can be trusted. That is free advertisement!
Good customer service also leads to repeat purchase, customers are convinced to come again. As JCPenny, an American department store chain, says “the well satisfied customer will bring the repeat sale that counts.”
‘Get closer than ever to your customers, so close, in fact that you tell them what they need way before they realise it’- Steve Jobs. Good customer service goes beyond providing your customer with what he/she wants, good customer service is knowing your customer. Consider each customer as a family member who deserves nothing but the best service you can offer. Knowing and treating your customer like family establishes customer loyalty which in the long run reflects in sales.
Customers are willing to pay more when you treat them right. Aunt Molly admits that her new waakye joint is quite expensive yet she walks thirty minutes every morning to get it.
Research by NewVoiceMedia shows that companies in the USA lose $62 billion annually due to bad customer service. Bad customer service has adverse repercussions on your business so; invest in customer service training for your staff. Let us get on the journey of treating our customers/ clients right; we need them as much as they need us. The customer might not always be right but they are always the customer.
‘A customer is the most important visitor on our premises; he is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work; he is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favour by serving him. He is doing us a favour by giving us an opportunity to do so.’ Mahatma Gandhi could not have said it any better.
By: Kopiah Esther Wepia