At the center of all businesses, and I mean ALL, are people. Whether in their capacity as consumers, employees, suppliers or other stakeholders, people and the ways you engage, serve and empower them are key to the growth of all businesses.
My “Mama Mboga” would totally disagree with me on that. She has always made it clear to me how less of an impact I would be to her business if I decided to choose other “Vibandas” over hers. Well I recently stopped buying from her, trust you me, I’m almost giving up on my standards and considering going back to her. (Maybe, just maybe her sentiments are true). It has been three weeks and I just can’t take it. No one seems to get it.
I always buy my vegetables from her because they are damn good. Her product quality is a guarantee (I always wonder why her competitors never sneak on her to find out her source) and my concern to satisfy a pre-existing basic living need is always met. This reflects the practical need. Every business that efficiently and effectively determines what its customers want provided, then take appropriate actions to supply these needs meets this business dimension. She definitely outperforms her competitors when it comes to this. Someone would ask, why then quit buying from her? The answer lies with the other dimension. Personal needs. She has always out-rightly overlooked my personal needs. That I buy from her, almost daily just so you know, doesn’t mean anything to her. As a matter of fact, I have no better option. She will always have me go back for that “sufuria” when I forget my environmentally friendly bag, she never smiles, has no regard to customer loyalty/retention and will never anticipate my need given my level of patronage.
Our inability to approach customers as individuals and lack of understanding on what customers really want, along with an underestimation of the emotional reality of the customer creates a gap in the customer experience. This brings me to the question at hand, what my role as head of Client Experience is.
Well, I’ll keep it simple, it’s all about seizing opportunities to get personal. This is the ONLY reason clients would choose our business over competition. It is not just about the product quality but “putting yourself in the shoes of”. Acknowledging that every interaction counts and is an opportunity for your business to create a relationship (which by the way will form the basis of my next article) because out of this relationship culminates loyalty which reflects your profitability.
I want to be clear, this is a concept for all businesses. A movie shop owner could be asking, how do I incorporate client experience to my business model? Well its simple, start looking for opportunities. Every time a client walks into your shop an opportunity presents itself. Could be from the welcoming attitude to the anticipated needs – driving your recommendations and finally a follow up call after purchase to ensure satisfaction (I can’t count the number of times I’ve been fooled by movie trailers only to sit down to a boring movie. Normally I don’t blame the movie guy because I watched the trailer prior to purchase. But how reassuring would it be for the guy to call and offer a replacement in the event of dissatisfaction. Loyalty, the reward you get in return.
The scope of customer experience is quite extensive but the idea is simple. Get personal, look for opportunities and build a relationship. That is what I do.
The writer to this article is the Head of Client Experience at the Maayan Medical Centre, Syokimau, Kenya.