Showing posts with label customer service. Show all posts
Showing posts with label customer service. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

How my mum sustains Customer Experience (CX)?

Snapshot of my mum's charcoal table
For as long as I can remember, my mother's charcoal business has helped in seeing my siblings and me, through school. It's a family business we are proud of. I have wondered how she's sustained her customers over the years. Here are some strategies she's applied to retain and grow her customer base, while ensuring they are satisfied with the product and her services:

Make sure the product is always available
One evening, I sold the last charcoal on the table, and wondered when my mum would be able to travel to Mamfe or any of the charcoal-producing towns in Ghana to buy more sacks. The following day, she went to the Tema Kwasiadjoaso and returned with five sacks of charcoal. She had actually gone for it so she sells it for the market lady. I was disappointed and didn't understand why she did that, more so when I realised she didn't make any profit on them. She noticed my displeasure and explained that the move was meant to retain her customers. Imagine what will happen when they come to buy charcoal and she has none -- she'll lose them to her competition. She jokingly asked, "If I lose them, and I am finally able to travel and buy my own stock, would I go round door-to-door or with a gong and ask my customers to come buy charcoal from me?"

Respect and Cherish your customers
Every morning, I observed my mother interact with customers while she packs the charcoal on her table. A couple of these customers were very punctual as they came to our home earlier than my mother began her work. I observed how they shared family issues and the interest my mother took in their lives, sharing in their joys and sorrows. The relationships grew from business to personal ones. This was good for business as referrals came in. On our part as her children and 'employees', we were made to understand what a smile can do to enhance the customer experience. We learnt to be fair but firm with the customers as some took our business for granted and may buy on credit and never pay. There were times some customers came to buy the charcoal in very bad moods. Our calm and respectful nature was the remedy.

Give value
Some customers usually came to buy the charcoal with nothing to carry them in. I realised my mum started keeping the polythene bags she got from vendors at the market whenever she buys groceries for our home. These polythene bags were used to serve her customers. She made sure nothing got wasted. There were roasted plantain sellers who loved the smaller sized charcoal, and there were chop bar operators who loved the bigger one. For some of the customers who liked to buy a sack from time to time, my mother showed them how to tell good charcoal from bad ones (even when they were in a sack).

Request for and act on feedback
My mum encourages feedback from her customers with respect to the charcoal they've bought or how her 'employees' relate to them. This informed her decisions on changing a particular supplier, or scolding us for being disrespectful and unprofessional.

I decided to share this, as I reflect on how some organisations pride themselves with qualifications of their staff, but fail to perform such little acts to enhance the customer experience they so desire to achieve.

Book sense no be sense o.





Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Why my (2) barbers cannot charge me equally

Credit: Pinterest

Some days ago, I overhead a conversation where a rep of an institution had tried to justify why his outfit was charging its customers a certain amount for services rendered.
He compared his institution to another that delivered far better services than his.

His mistake.

You see, I've got two barbers who are good at their jobs. They both deliver the same services, but the quality of their service delivery, differ.
The first one has an air-conditioned salon, nice sitting area, with newspapers and magazines, and a fully stocked fridge of customers' favourite drinks.
He uses smaller clippers, rather than razor blades in trimming the edges of customers' hairs. Instead of the 'usual alcohol' used by the second barber after a shave, he uses Nivea's after shave. He disposes off the heated towels used on cleaning clients' head before applying hair cream to it. He's got a back up electricity power system that ensures customers are attended to, even when dumsɔ hits.

My second barber doesn't have these investments to enhance his service delivery. He therefore cannot charge the same rate as my first barber.

In service delivery, we are sometimes tempted to charge rates based on what our competitors charge, without doing.a proper homework on improving our services to match the rates we are charging.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Vodafone does listen, no?

In an earlier post, I shared my frustration with the bundling of mobile data on Vodafone Ghana's network.
Last week, after trying to bundle 400MB worth of data -- unsuccessfully (sigh), I realised that my call credit (¢10) had 'disappeared'!
Surprised, I phoned the call center and was assured by the (male) attendant that a report would be made on the incident.
It. Never. Was.
The following day, I phoned again and a female attendant helped me. She also assured me of making a report on the incident -- and she did.



The report was to have my call credit refunded, but it wasn't. I therefore sent a follow-up e-mail.


That worked, because I checked my credit balance later and voila -- full refund had been made!
This rekindles my appreciation of Vodafone's customer service; I pray they continue.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Rivalry among telcos killing courtesy?

Credit: www.valuesphere.com
Yesterday, a couple of my friends and I had to trim a Vodafone SIM card so it could be slotted into a new smartphone. The phone was delivered to us at a location closer to Ridge, and so we decided to visit the MTNcenter (that shares the same building with the Fidelity Bank's Head Office).

That was our mistake.

I approached a lady and asked if the service could be rendered. She asked for the SIM card, took it, and asked that I wait a bit (as the guy who would 'cut' the SIM was attending to a client).
Some seconds later, the guy asked to see the SIM card, whispered, "Vodafone!", and said, "No, I can't help you."

I was shocked.

I thought to myself, "Is this how fierce (and pedantry) the rivalry between the telcos is?" Especially between MTN and Vodafone!. Hmm.

I thanked the guy -- and lady -- and walked out of the building. No long tin.

Consider this scenario:
You are at the Tema (Community 2) SSNIT office, and suddenly you fall ill -- or need medical attention. Should the SSNIT Clinic below the office say because you are not a staff (or relation of one) of SSNIT, they won't treat you?

I understand the service is free. So can't they have a service fee for all those who are not subscribers of MTN, but request for the service? They can. Everybody wins that way, no?

To think that I even purchased their Huawei Ascend Y210 android phone -- which I decoded of course. But I bought it just because of the courtesy with which a  marketing officer of theirs advertised the phone.

This experience brings to mind the banana seller in front of the Bank of Ghana, who refused to sell her ground nuts to me because I already had some bananas on me.

As for me I won't argue o. I only take my 'troubles' away.