This is the true cost of loyalty

I don’t take your feedback for granted – while I may not reply to all your DMs and messages, I do read each and every one of them, I take note of your issues and you might see just see it addressed here.

I’m still in Eldoret planning for my Royalty Festival – which will take place at the end of the month – and have been in and out of meetings. One thing that has come up during these meetings regarding the festival is the need to make meaningful contacts and connections, and the importance and benefit of working together.

We’ve had so many sponsors who’ve regretted sponsoring certain events because they invested time, resources and finances, but the outcome translated into a loss for them.

It is for this reason that there’s less sponsorship going around, and even when the sponsors happen to come by, it is limited to a certain amount of money.

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Here are my tried and tested ways that I use to win over sponsors and ensure they get on board with my idea.

Impact of your business on people

Since I first took interest in business, before I put any investment in a venture, I always look for one thing that to me is more valuable than money. That’s impact.

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Even if the consumer doesn’t buy into your idea or product now, the impact you have in their lives through advertising or other experiential services keeps you at the top of their mind. This eventually leads to profit in the long-run.

Loyalty

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The other issues that most businesses struggle with is loyalty from consumers.

How do you buy loyalty? I totally understand that loyalty is as subjective as it is pricey, hard to purchase and even harder to maintain.

Take a piece of paper and write down your favourite restaurant. Now just below the name, write down the top things that attract you to the restaurant. On my list is the service, the food, the location, the architecture, the consistency and the after-sales service. I can bet that if you place my list against yours, regardless of the restaurant in question, we agree on a few points.

With that said, how do you take all these values and put them in every business that you plan to run?

Efficiency in service

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Your company might be worth billions, but the unit of the company is the customer care agent or the front desk secretary.

The staff definitely represents the company, so one of the main emphasis should be in staff training and well-being.

If today I call a telecoms company’s customer care and they respond rudely, then I have every right to make a public complaint against the company. Keep in mind that I might not even remember the name of the customer care agent, but the blame will definitely fall on the company.

I met a long-term friend in Eldoret who’s been in the food business for years, and one thing he pointed out is that he makes sure that his staff is heard. If they have the slightest issue, he solves it right there and then.

The product

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Before anything else, the product is the reason you are in business. I met a small-scale business lady the other week in Eldoret and we talked about all the elements that make a successful business. 

In the whole conversation, I noticed that she didn’t talk much about the product. And that is one major area that we go wrong as entrepreneurs. I always insist that entrepreneurs should take their time to develop their product.

In the end, after all the marketing gimmicks and other business elements are put into consideration, the consumer has to go home with the product. So if the hype does not match up to the product, then you have just lost a customer.

Consistency

Often you have heard complaints about products that were good initially, but have now changed for worse. Change is inevitable. In fact, it is said the only constant thing in life is change. If your product must change, and it will, it has to be for the better.

We can only make a product better by falling in love with the entire entrepreneurial process. Sometimes we fail to act on feedback that would make our product better, other times we try to cut costs by skipping market research, thus missing out on our target market.

As a result, we lose consumers because we don’t put customers’ needs into consideration. Getting a customer is easy, maintaining one is where the business is. 

After-sales service

I have had the privilege of flying across the world, and shopping as well, and I must say I’m intrigued by the after-sales service of most businesses abroad.

Let’s take for example Nike, the sneakers company where I bought a product a while ago. When I bought my sneakers from them, it was a one-off thing. But then there was a follow-up email later asking questions about how I was enjoying the shoes. They must have known that I don’t like tests, so they added a discount code, and it was to be redeemed only after answering all the questions.

That discount forced me to go to their website, because the fear of missing out hit me. The discount code comes every three months. Now that’s a text that I look forward to.

The writer is an award-winning artiste and entrepreneur.  

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