By Myles E. Makafui, Nov 17 2017 09:54AM
The happy customer is the money! - Every organization that wants to remain relevant in today’s
dynamic and extremely competitive business market should keep that at the center of all they
Business has evolved and we are presently in the age of the customer, in a relationship-
management economy where the customer ultimately determines the direction of every
business. Every organization MUST become a customer-driven organization. Superior customer
service raises the level of customer retention, repeat business and customer advocacy, which are
vital if any business not only wants to survive but grow in a recession.
Today’s customers are more informed, more enlightened and have more choices. Therefore, in
today’s dynamic and highly competitive business market, organizations must strive to deliver
exceptional customer service to be in business. Therefore, today’s customers are not only
interested in the product they are being offered but all the additional elements of service that
they receive, from the greeting they receive when they enter your premises, to the help they
receive when they have a complaint.
It is also interesting to see how social media has influenced business. I recently stumbled on a
website called pissedcustomer.com, where customers who have experienced bad service can
share their experiences with the whole world. Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites
have created a perfect avenue for everyone to share their experiences as customers – for better
or worse! This development should put all service providers on their toes to ensure that
customer’s don’t ever take away a negative impression from any interaction with them.
Most Companies within every industry, offer very similar products and services, therefore it is
only superior customer service that can differentiate you and create a competitive advantage for
your organization. This is why making customer satisfaction an organization goal is simply not
good enough. The goal of every organization that seeks success that must be to go beyond the
expected, to wow the customer, to give the customer unforgettable experiences and make every
moment of interaction, a moment of magic!
Most organizations make very striking service promises to the public and these promises shape
customer’s expectations and give them certain specifics to look out for in every interaction with
these organizations. For instance, when a bank says ‘we are the one-customer bank’ or ‘saying
yes to your needs’ those are very strong service promises that have to be reinforced by
outrageous customer service delivery.
There are two major elements of customer service – personality and skill. It’s nice to possess the
skill, to know the greeting procedures, crisis management procedures, to have knowledge of
what to do at every given point in time. However, its personality that brings everything to life. It’s
our personalities as service providers that add value to our skills – it’s all about attitude. As
human beings, we are products of our environment and for some of us that have grew up in a
place like Lagos, we display a bit of aggressiveness and unfriendliness. It’s so bad that when we
meet people who are very nice, we become suspicious. The average person that grows up in such
an environment has little or no interpersonal skills. It is important to have the understanding that
every business with customers is in the ‘People’ business and therefore you must possess the
right attitude. It is not just about greeting but how you greet; it is about communicating the
willingness to help with every part of you.
There are basically tree kinds of attitude, positive, negative and neutral. However, being neutral
is being indifferent which is very negative and so your attitude is either positive or negative.
Attitude is not a gift, it’s a choice. We may not be able to tailor-make the situations in life, but we
can choose how to respond to them. In his book, ‘The seven habits of highly effective people’,
Stephen R. Covey talked about the law of proactivity. He said that people can be grouped in two
categories, reactive and proactive. Reactive people are affected by weather, when the weather is
good, they are good but when it is bad, it affects their mood. On the other hand, proactive
people carry their own weather. Reactive people are also affected by the social weather, when
people treat them well, they feel good, and else, they feel bad. No one can hurt you without your
permission and no one can take your happiness if you don’t give it to them. Between stimuli and
response, you have the ability to choose!
Wake up every day with a decision to give your best when interacting with customers.
It is also helps for service providers to adopt the policy that says ‘The Customer is always right!’
The above statement doesn’t means that customers are always right literally. Sometimes,
customers make some demands that are products of assumptions, wild imaginations and wishful
thinking. ‘The Customer is always right’ is a corporate cliché intended to give service providers
the consciousness that customers are the one that determine the direction of the business and
exhorts them to give top priority to customer delight.
There are three rules that helps guide service providers possess the right attitude when
interfacing with customers. The first rule is the golden rule which says, ‘Treat others the way you
want to be treated’. We are all customers and if we put ourselves in the shoes of the customer, it
will be easier to treat them well. As a basic human need, we all want to feel worthwhile,
respected, special and important. We don’t like to be ignored, or treated with disdain. If we do
some bit of introspection, it will help us relate better with our customers.
The second rule says, ‘Treat others the way they want to be treated’. It is important for us to go
beyond the basic customer needs and know our customer as individuals. We have to know their
needs, their concerns, their interests, their past experiences etc. This helps us pre-empt their
needs and serve them just exactly the way they want. Finally, if we aim is to wow the customer,
to leave the customer saying ‘Oh my God!’ and we definitely have to ‘Treat others the way they
don’t even know they ought to be treated’
Always remember, that the customer is the job, the customer is the money, and the customer is
the real boss. Keep making your customers happy and keep the service flag flying.
Myles E. Makafui