Is the Customer Still King?
After college, I worked in a company where the slogan in the managing director’s office was written in bold and huge letters, “Customer is always King.” To us, especially the short stint I had at the customer care was to remember always the customer was the heartbeat of the organization.
In this era of globalization, competition has increased tremendously and organizations are racing against time to ensure they are a step ahead of the competition. At the heart of the strategic plans of achieving this is the aspect of CRM which stands for Customer Relationship Management in full.
Well, when organizations work day and night to ensure that the customer is well catered for, others are busy hemorrhaging their goldmines; the customers. To them, it is no longer about the customer but rather the ego to prove who has got the last word.
About two weeks ago, I travelled somewhere. I did my booking for the four o’clock departure and I was sure to be there in time which I did promptly. After I arrived at the office where I was to pick my ticket, I realized to my horror that I had been swapped with another individual. I received lame excuses and everything pointed to the possibility that money had exchanged hands. It is not common to see such carelessness happening. But it did.
I swallowed a bitter pill as I waited for a six o’clock departure. I wanted to lodge a formal complaint but on a second thought I just told myself that I will ensure not to employ the services of this company again even if they were the only ones left.
My bone of contention was the fact that there was no explanation offered. The booking officer had earlier confirmed to me that he had booked me on a four o’clock ticket only to come minutes before four and realizing that I had been booked for a six o’clock ticket. Even a rogue explanation that his tongue had strayed earlier could be enough.
I then took a moment to think about the place of the customer in the organizational hierarchy of organizations. Some put the customers first, others put them second while others put the customer last. Well I don’t want to idolize the customer but I would love that he/she be treated with utmost respect and honor.
In the west, countries like the US, customers are given and even accorded lots of value and importance. For instance last week I read about racial claims against a senior banking official in one of the major banks in America that cost him his job. Yet such claims may not have been treated with equal measure here at home.
It thus means that the moment the customer feels ignored, unattended and not listened to especially when it concerns genuine complaints, it simply means that that is a loss to the company by all virtue and we need to understand upfront that the cost of winning a new customer is far much higher than that of maintaining an already existing one.
We need then to treat an existing customer with great care because minus them believing in your service or product in the first place, you could as well as be non-existent. And don’t forget the simple fact that referrals matter a lot. If one customer tells other existing customers and even the potential ones of poor treatment by an organization, the ripple effect can spell doom.
This has exceptions only in African politics. The employee, in this case the politician is king. The customer is left to struggle with her misery all alone and often their complaints don’t matter. Yet still the customer will go back to the same shop for the same poor service every now and again.
In the book Customer Relationship Management, authors Rogen Baran, Christopher Zerres and Michael Zerre conclude that organizations need to build customer relationships. To me, this is the simplest way of making the customer feel king.
Building the relationship means courting. In a more apt though crude way, it means chasing to own which thus means the basis of ownership lies ultimately with the one being chased and in this case it is the customer. Every organization is trying to win a new customer and obviously from other organizations and this makes the customer the most important part of an organization.
It thus means that not caring about your customers probably due to complacence now that you have had them for far too long and banking on the fact that should they go, you can always win others is not only misplaced but very wrong. It is those customers that determine whether you are in business or not.
No wonder even the academia has taught us for too long that before you launch an idea or product, first do a market search. You can’t hire without a market for the product. There is no profit without the customer and ultimately there is no organization without a customer.
So the customer still remains king. Accord them the kingly status and you won’t struggle to see the money coming. Mistreat them and the countdown to your ultimate death begins. In simplest way, yes, the customer is still king.
Copyright @ 2019.
Happy holidays. Share with the less fortunate and enjoy responsibly.