How lousy customer care can ruin your business

04Mar 2018
Eliana Mwibari
Guardian On Sunday
How lousy customer care can ruin your business

I AM very blessed, so I am grateful for the gift that God entrusted to me. Being a public speaker, a corporate trainer and a columnist has made my life meaningful. I can confidently say that I really have no idea what I would be doing if I were not doing what I am doing right now.

It has given me a chance to touch other people’s lives every day. It has been so fulfilling. Meeting new people and being able to share great moments and experiences with them on a daily bases really gives me joy and fulfillment.

I have come to agree with the fact that whatever it is that you do, if it gives you joy and satisfaction then it is worth doing it, whether you are being paid doing it or not.

Working among different kinds of groups of people, from different backgrounds, different careers and from different parts of the world has been more than formal education for me. I learn a lot every single day, not to mention different experiences that I undergo every day.

People of the same nature of careers will agree with me that the experiences and lessons we come across are both negative and positive.

It’s our responsibility, part of fulfilling our purposes to help these people understand and get back on track. Having said so, today I would like to share a few experiences and lessons and offer advice to any person that might find this useful.

I would like to start by giving an advice to any business owner or even a company or organization to really make sure at all times that we serve our clients not just to make sure they get what they needed.

But your clients should feel at home whenever they come for your service so they can be your ambassadors who tell other people everywhere they go about how good your services are.

And most of all your clients or customers should always be your advocates, with this I mean that whenever and wherever they happen to be, when they come across a person talking negatively about your service, they will ble to defend you.

Trust me, if you provide your services in a proper way you will have these kind of people everywhere. But I must say, in most cases that is not what’s happening to many of the service providers in our country, be it in restaurants, supermarkets, different offices, gas stations, etc.

In today’s cutthroat marketplace, you have to stand out to survive and the key competitive edge is the way you treat your customers. If you give them a great experience, they will remember forever.

 And if you give them a bad one……….your reputation will be gone in a blink of an eye. So it is necessary to make your customers your best allies by giving them the best customer experience of their lives.

According to various statistics, it is said that it costs between five and six times more to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one. It is also said that companies or organization can boost profits anywhere from 25 to 125 per cent by retaining merely 5 per cent of the existing clients. Most importantly, a 2 per cent increase in customer retention has the same effect on profits as cutting costs by 10 per cent.

Did you know that happy customers tell four to five others about the positive experiences, and dissatisfied customers tell nine to twelve others and who knows now that we have the internet, your business can be ruined in a fraction of a second.

So, from the look of these numbers, two messages are crystal clear. One, exceptional customer service results in greater customer retention, which, in turn, results in higher profitability.

Second, most organizations in our country haven’t gotten that message yet, or are ignoring it if they have. How many times have you gone to an office and you arrived at the reception and found the receptionist busy with her mobile phone. She/he won’t even look at you and it feels like they can’t wait to get rid of you so they can proceed with whatever they were doing.

I remember going to an office which I am not going to identify. I was with my colleague and we were looking for one of his bosses. We got there early in the morning even before the offices were opened, and when they came after they have settled we went in.

As my colleague was talking to him, he was very busy with his phone, sending text messages, receiving calls in between conversations and, worse enough, making calls in the middle of the conversation.

I can say the whole experience was astonishing to me because, with such kind of attitude, you can never convince me to go back to that office. The guy wouldn’t even look at us; as we talked to him his attention was on his phone.

Honestly, I can say that this is critical because that was not the only nasty experience. We have been to several other places where we experienced the very same thing.

I remember a couple of months back we went into this restaurant, ordered lunch and we were seated having lunch and my colleague needed something, so she sent a waitress who went on to get what she was ordered. Surprisingly, when she found the item she stood behind the counter and started calling my colleague to go get what she had ordered her to find!!

I kept asking myself if she was really serious with her job? How can you call a client who is taking lunch to leave her table to come to you?

We said she may probably have got carried away. So the following day we happened to go to the same restaurant for lunch and the very same lady served us, and once we were about to leave we needed to clear the bill and so what happened is she had the guts to call us to go pay her where she was standing instead of her coming to take the money from us!

To me it was clear that that’s what she was used to doing; it was her attitude towards her clients. So we made a decision not going back to that restaurant again because of the way we were treated. I am sure there may have been many other clients that they lost because of their attitude and poor customer service.

So, if it happens that business goes down I think they should not complain and start looking for a cause because they are the cause.

 There are so many other experiences of poor customer service that we have come across, such as hailing a taxi and the driver comes to pick you shirtless. I always ask myself  - are they really serious with their business?

Is it lack of knowledge about professionalism or they intentionally do it? And for business owners, are we aware of what’s going on in our businesses? Are we making follow-ups on the service standard that we provide or what we care about is just going in the evening and collecting the earnings of the day?

I think it’s high time we changed. I think this should be a wake-up call to change our attitudes and treat our customers as kings and queens because they are the reason our businesses are there. They are the bosses, because if they stop using our services then we go out of business.

After all we all want to be treated exceptionally. So why treat others like they don’t matter, and they bring money to us? Please, let’s change.

Eliana Mwibari is a Tanzanian Business woman, writer and motivational speaker. Can be reached through Email, [email protected]

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