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The power of service: We must strive to please the customer

OPINION
By George Oyuga | October 9th 2021

As this year’s Customer Service Week comes to an end, we must pause and ponder at the weight of its theme. How has the “power of service” impacted your brand?

This should send every service provider and manufacturer to retreat into self-examination. The power of bad service has sent some brands crawling. On the other hand, the power of good service has taken some brands to heights of accelerated profitability and exponential growth.

Is the customer always right? If we say customer service is the assistance and advice provided by a company to those who buy or use its products or services, then we must expand the scope of these services to cover the period before, during and after a purchase.

Maybe we can tweak this question to reflect deeper on the fact that the customer always has rights. It is not always about the customer always being right. You will realise that a customer’s rights remain dynamic and evolve with every stage of their journey or experience - from the right to information, the right to access the goods or services, the right to be treated fairly, the right to be allowed to enjoy the goods or services so purchased and the right to give feedback.

As a customer, you have the right to give feedback. We laud those service providers who always seek to listen to the feedback that their customers are giving. They will occasionally ask their customers to either rate their service for that day or fill a customer satisfaction form or survey. This can also be automated.

Being asked whether “it was helpful” is not only helpful to you but also to the service provider who is expected to use your feedback to make the customer experience even better.

Truth be told, feedback will always bully its way back to you through some channel. It may be a termination letter for bad service, or it may be an appreciation for good service. Your clients may nominate and vote you in for that coveted industry award. On the other hand, you may get it by way of your brand trending in the social media space for all the wrong reasons.

Are you really about solutions? The other day, I had the privilege of being hosted by a leading local Swahili morning radio talk show. I remember my host and I laughing whenever I corrected him and emphasised that Zamara is not about products but solutions! He found this interesting as I explained my point on why solutions and not products.

Products are about selling, whereas solutions are about the customer buying. If you find yourself selling, then it must be a need-based selling approach that attempts to match and address the needs of the customer. We must remain focused on addressing the customer’s pain points through the solutions that we offer. This draws us to empathise with the customer.

All service providers must therefore focus on making the entire customer journey pleasant. The perception of success of such interactions is dependent on employees who can adjust themselves to the personality of the guest.

- The writer, George Oyuga, is head of umbrella and retail solutions at Zamara Actuaries, Administrators and Consultants  

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