“No longer do you think about pleasing your boss. You think about pleasing your customer.”
Jamaica’s Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) and Tourism sectors are booming with good reviews of excellent service to hundreds and thousands of overseas customers.
Meanwhile in our retail sector, the review is not so good. It is not that we do not know how to extend good customer service. That is obviously not the case. So why is there a disparity between how we treat our foreign customers against those who spend with us on a daily basis.
Whatever the reason behind poor customer service, it is unacceptable.
The bottom line is that we need to treat all customers with respect at all times. No excuses!
In order to remain competitive in this economy now and in the future, it is imperative that companies maintain good customer relations. Maintaining high standards in dealing with complaints and discrepancies in products and service is just as important as meeting revenue projections. Serving a customer the right way allows a business to reap great rewards.
Good customer service goes far beyond basic home-grown manners like saying ‘good morning’ or ‘good afternoon’. It is about building a relationship with them. When there is a problem and they complain, handle it efficiently and politely.
Former Chairman and CEO of GraceKennedy Group, the Honourable Douglas Orane in his book: The Business of Nation Building, highlights 10 consumer-centric principles that were adopted at GraceKennedy, specifically:
• Agree on customer’s requirements
• Understand and improve customer supplier chains
• Do the right things
• Do things right the first time
• Measure for success
• Continuous improvement
• Communicate more effectively
• Training is essential
• Management must lead
• Recognize successful involvement
Mr. Orane does not stop there in his exhortation on customer satisfaction. In a letter to all GraceKennedy employees in February 2005, he regarded a complaint by customer as a gift. He outlined an eight step plan for dealing with the ‘gift of a complaint’:
1. Say ‘Thank you’.
2. Explain why you appreciate the complaint.
3. Apologize for the problem.
4. Promise to do something about the problem immediately.
5. Ask necessary information.
6. Correct the problem-promptly.
7. Check afterwards for customer satisfaction.
8. Prevent future problems which cause complaints.
Granted, this is not a fool proof plan but it is important to strive for perfection as much as humanly possible. It is integral to do every single action with precision and excellence in mind.
Satisfy the needs of your customers at all times! The customer is king and wears the crown!