Effective Customer Care Leads to High Profitability

Organisations that ignore passion for and is training in effective customer care do so at their own peril.

To illustrate this point, what this writer saw in one of the Lusaka’s restaurants reminds this writer of one of the readers he read while at a Chinunda Upper Primary School in mid1970s.

The story was about: ‘A good farm spoilt by a foolish man.’

The story of a farm briefly states that once upon time, there was a farm which produced good variety of field crops, vegetables, citrus fruits and livestock. But later, this farm was sold to another man. The stated farm no longer produced many crops and livestick.

The first owner of the farm had good farm management knowledge, experience and skills while the new owner didn’t. And this new owner of the farm didn’t employ someone to help him run the farm effectively and efficiently. Eventually, the farm became another white elephant.

The only foolish think the second owner of the farm did was that he didn’t have relevant knowledge, experience and skill to manage a farm the way the first one did and didn’t employ good workers to help him manage the farm well.

For past two years or so, a certain restaurant in Lusaka’s one of the busy roads was always full of customers.

Health workers, agriculturalists, teachers, businesspersons, lawyers, doctors, well-to-do farmers and many other groups of people used to crowd this restaurant for different types of food.

Each time one entered such a restaurant, sometimes one had to wait for some customers to finish eating and leave in order to create space for those who are waiting somewhere outside.

From around 09:30hours to about 15:00hours, this restaurant was full and busy with various customers.

But one day, when this writer entered this restaurant, he found that the dish he wanted was not there.

I asked one of the female workers why that dish was not there.

She said that type of food had finished. I asked her whether everyone in that restaurant was not alert enough to notice that one of the dishes on the menu was about to finish so that quick action can be taken to restock the restaurant with that type of food.

No one seemed to have an answer to that observation. This writer asked who the boss was in that restaurant.

One of the female cleaners, who seemed to have grasped the sense in what I was saying and was interested in what I was saying, said she would call the boss for me to say what I wanted to say. I told her to do so for me.

Firstly, I was happy that one of the workers in that restaurant understood my point to see the boss.

Secondly, I was also impressed that she offered herself to call the boss on my behalf.

When the boss of foreign origin came, I explained to him that I wanted a certain dish which was not rare for most customers but that it had finished without being replaced.

I also told the same boss how some workers reacted to my concerns that that dish had finished without taking measures to quickly replace it especially that the raw materials for the same meal were in high supply in Lusaka town and that it is a common dish for most customers who come to the restaurant.

The same boss was very thankful to me for expressing my observations.

He thanked me for that. But he also observed that Zambians rarely talk about the bad experiences they encounter even when they are buying something from their hard earned money.

Having thanked me, he told some of the workers to quickly go and collect the raw materials of the dish I wanted so that they start preparing the same dish in case another customer comes for the same meal.

What this writer finds interesting is that when one goes to the same restaurant now, one finds only two or three customers at a time.

And it is new customers who don’t seem to know how the restaurant has disappointed many old customers.

The stated restaurant has lost many old and new customers because of its poor customer care.

But analysing factors that might have led to this restaurant losing many customers, one finds that firstly, most local and foreign investors like employing workers without proper training, knowledge, attitude and skills in effective customer care.

This is basically because both local and foreign investors want more profits from cheap labour.

To make matters worse, such investors don’t take such workers for training in customer care to ensure that their workers attract and retain more customers to their business.

Such an attitude towards customer care related matters arise from the belief that most Zambians don’t care about quality of a product or service they buy.

Therefore, most investors are taking aantage of most Zambians not asking for high quality products and services from their hard earned money.

The loss of customers is not isolated to the stated restaurant alone.

One can think of many other business that had a huge following of customers but now such businesses are always yawning for the lost army of customers.

This has happened to individual, family and company businesses.

At individual level, few or no entrepreneur thinks of getting enough knowledge in the business one has started or has been doing.

At family level, most people pick on any child who didn’t do well at school or who they are failing to send to a college or to a university to be selling in that business.

Surprisingly, even in relatively big businesses, most investors just ask any person who they know to bring someone to be employed for certain duties.

Since the one who is being asked to bring friends or relatives has also low knowledge, experience and skills in that business, he or she brings some people who are actually below him or her in relevant knowledge in that business.

In all such situations, an entrepreneur or an investor expects more sales and more profits from such a business as he or she further expects customers to automatically flock to that business just because they have put some products or are providing some services to the public.

As a result, a firm becomes full of workers who are not necessarily qualified enough to handle different business situations and a variety of customers from different socio-cultural and economic backgrounds.

Eventually, customers who were impressed with the initial environment of a certain business become disappointed with low and poor quality of products and or services that business offers.

Such customers just get disappoint and walk or drive away while insulting themselves for being foolish to have perceived such a business to be good at attracting and retaining customers.

Little do such investors or entrepreneurs know that it is not only the products one is selling that attract customers and high profits but it is also about the caliber of a person selling those products or providing those services to the customers that matter.

In business today, it is said that product is a bundle of satisfactions.

And that people don’t buy a product but they buy the personality of the person selling that product.

The personality of a person selling that product or service include helping attitude and effective customer care.

Hardly do such businesses know that in a competitive business environment, sound knowledge in the business you do especially in effective customer care is critical for that business to attract more customers, increase profitability and sustain its operations.

Such businesspersons also don’t seem to know that some businesses like restaurant and other hospitality industry firms are more sensitive to effective customer care than other businesses.

It is against this background that in a modern competitive business environment, investors are aised to recruit workers who have a passion for effective customer care. Businesspersons are urged to relieve workers who are not enthusiastic about effective customer care while on duty.

Firms are also encouraged to train all workers in effective customer care regularly. Companies should formulate standards of what constitutes effective customer care standards in their businesses.

Coming up with performance indicators of effective customer care would be helpful. Reward workers who have high customer care performances.

Punish those workers who seem to lag behind in effective customer care after they have been training in such.

Zambians should also demand high quality of products and services for their money.

It is in this light that when a firm is full of effective customer care workers, customers will find solace in buying from such a company.

More customers will flock to such a business and invite many of their friends and relatives to do business with a firm with effective customer care.

From the lessons of a good farm spoilt by a foolish man and then from the way the stated restaurant lost more business because of poor customer care, you and I should ensure that we do the right thing in our businesses.

[The author is a PR Trainer and Consultant]

For comments and ideas, contact:

Cell: 09670977 450151


Source : The Times of Zambia

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