By Cobblah Reggie E.
It seems to me that in Ghana many local businesses see and treat their customers as beggars rather than kings. This is reflected in the way they render their services as if they are doing the customer a favour rather than seeing the customer as the one keeping them in business.
I have lost count on the number of times I have had to walk away with my ‘little’ business from some Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) and even large corporations, because of bad customer service experience.
Just to mention a few of such bad experiences, the last time I wanted to purchase some household item from a Petty trader somewhere in Accra, I was left unattended to, for well over 10-15 minutes without any word. This attitude left me with no choice than to take my business away. At another time I recall making a complaint to a Telecom Giant in Ghana about a problem encountered whilst recharging my office mobile phone. I received assurance that the issue would be resolved within 3-hours, but alas! The company did not fulfill its promise until after a week. To add to my frustration, each time I called to the company to follow up, I had a different personnel attending to me. Even at a point, I had to contact a “higher authority“ in the company to follow up on the logged complaint.
I am certain that you have also had your fair share of poor customer service experience from our local businesses. Amazingly, most of these businesses are not in a monopolistic market but they are situated just a few blocks from their competitors.
Some research claims that as high as about 96% of aggrieved customers just walk away without complaining further about their issues. Implying that many of our local businesses are loosing thousands of Cedis if not millions to their competitors.
It’s about time our Entrepreneurs, Business Owners, Petty Traders and the likes take customer service seriously, if they intend to stay in business and ahead of competition. The importance of Exceptional Customer Service cannot be overemphasized and so I would like to share with you some ECS strategies to employ for your business:
• Renewal of mindset – Decide to give your customers exceptional services by receiving them well when they arrive at your location or contact your business on phone.
• Give all your employees excellent product knowledge-When everyone in your company can act as support, customers can get their questions answered promptly.
• Train your employees in customer empathy – When your staff members make customers feel truly listened to and not simply heard, customer satisfaction rises
• Resolve customer issues at the first point of contact – Improve first contact resolution by ensuring that the person who initially handles the call takes full responsibility for it until the customer’s concern is resolved. This improves the turn-around time leaving the customer happy.
• Be proactive by contacting your customers first rather than just being reactive to complaints. Yes, you should resolve complaints as swiftly as possible when received but make the first move in exceeding customer expectations.
• Deliver on promise – Every package that arrives on time or product that works as intended reinforces your customers’ trust in you. Never compromise on your brand promise.
• Craft a social media presence -You can extend your business to social media in order to stay in touch with some customers online. If you’re starting out, be careful not to overextend your business on social media. Pick one or two social media channels that you can monitor carefully, in order to avoid leaving potential customers unattended to and eventually unsatisfied.
Do not under-estimate the power of the customer and the impact of good or bad customer experience on your business‘ success.The days when businesses deliver their services on a ‘take it or leave it’ basis are over. Be a proactive customer-focused business!!