The key to success? It’s in your customer

My son Iroma turned two over the weekend. We wanted to celebrate this, even though it’s been argued that parties at this age are purely for the parents.

I flew the family to Mombasa because one of my daughters, Gweth, loves the Coast and it’s been a while since we’ve had some good family time; I’ve been travelling all over.

I’m usually an observant person, especially when it comes to opportunities.

For instance, on my way to the airport, I requested a taxi through one of the popular car-hailing apps. I know we like to give the excuse that we’re in a developing country, but we must fight on a global scale and raise standards.

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It should be like what happens when we export our athletes – they’re expected to win with no excuses, and they do exactly that. This attitude should apply in every industry.

Bad review

When I was in Dallas, I got done watching Lupita’s movie Us late at night, so I requested a taxi from the same app as the one I used a few days back. And there was a clear difference in customer care.

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Remember, since time immemorial, the customer has been and always will be king, so the moment you get a bad review, the profit scale will definitely move based on that.

The taxi driver who showed up in Dallas was a lady in her mid-40s, and the first thing I noticed was her smile.

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The moment I got into the car, she pointed out a few things: an array of sweets, a water bottle, and a phone charger, and just before we drove off, she asked if my seat belt was on and if the chair needed any adjustments. I’ve never received such a detailed questionnaire from a taxi driver in my life.

The following week, a different driver checked on me in a similar way.

I have to admit that not all drivers in the United States gave me the same treatment, but compared to the drivers here, the difference was still clear.

Big tip

Let’s put the global scale aside and just talk about customer care. The reason you set up a business is to serve the customer, which means you should do so to the fullest, like that lady driver.

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I ended up giving her a big tip, and on the way to my room, I thought about how many people would tip her the way I did.

The basic driver will get a basic tip, while the happy, caring driver will get a different one. And if you’re in the service industry, you need to show and treat your client like a king/queen, and that will definitely reflect in your pay.

I’m sure you have seen it even in your favourite restaurant. I have this restaurant that I go to called Café Pronto, and they know I only want one waiter to attend to me.

His name is Wicky, a very happy guy. There was a time I wasn’t happy with the food, and he took the blame, even though he knew I knew that he wasn’t the chef.

After he did that, I asked for the manager to pass along my appreciation for Wicky. When I went back to the restaurant, I found he’d been promoted. I’m pretty sure his tip jar is different from the rest.

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So whenever you decide to run a business, make sure that you deliver in whatever capacity you’re in.

I’ve been writing about believability, and next week I’ll do an article based on influencers and how they push products. Anyway, we had a brilliant stay at PrideInn Paradise Hotel, which recently got a five-star rating.

It was one of my most enjoyable stays in Mombasa, and looking at it from the view of a family set-up, I appreciated their themed rooms with cartoon paintings to make the kids feel at home.

Build empires

The one thing I have to point out is the staff; they had that whole ‘customer care’ I’m talking about and I’m always keen on. At first I thought it was because they recognised me, but I had a chat with one of my fans and he said he’d also noticed their customer service.

I asked a friend, Perps, who works there, what really got them to that five-star status. Yes, there are many possibilities, but customer care was what carried the most weight.

Of course before the element of customer care kicks in, you have to work on your car if it’s a taxi, or on food if you run a restaurant, or your clothing if you’re a fashion designer.

But if you want to build an empire, you have to make sure that as you work on your product, you make customer care a priority.

The writer is an award-winning artiste and entrepreneur.

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