The New Times (Kigali)

4 December 2012

Rwanda: Ways to Avert Poor Customer Care

One of the most critical business risks is poor customer service. When your customers are not getting the right services, it is likely that they will opt for other products/services rather than your own.

Poor customer care goes beyond a smile, shaking of hands, thanking a client, owner's attitude, a company's business strategy, employee skills, satisfaction, motivation, among others.

To avoid this vice, here are simple steps you can follow to redeem your business.

First, peruse through your business plan. What does it talk about your product, service or customer relations? Have you created a strong bond between you, your product and your customers? What do you think when you look at your marketing and sales distribution strategy?

You need to create a platform where, apart from interacting with customer care attendants, a customer has the right to seek audience with the top management as a way of making them feel they have powers to influence service delivery in your business.

Secondly, avoid staff with a poor attitude. Putting yourself in the customers' shoes is always the best way to satisfy their needs. Ensure that your employees have the skills to properly handle your clients.

Again, do you always mind about people's background, their exposure, communication skills, experiences and personality in general? You should always know that there are personalities that cannot fit in a business that requires customer contact.

Ensure that you have internal conflict-resolving mechanisms. Frustrated employees maybe a source of poor service delivery even when they are normally good at attending to customers.

Does your business morally support employees? Personal life experiences may affect someone's performance at work. You need to always ensure that there is always moral support; bonus day-offs to allow the staff time to work out their personal life challenges.

Again, try to ensure that your staff members understand your product or service well. This will help them to even understand its clientele, their preferences, and social status. Try to ensure that the staff members also understand your marketing strategy. If possible, create an internal communication strategy for all your staff.

Empower your staff to be able to provide quick solutions to some of the questions/complaints raised by your customers. It is always frustrating when a staff member seeks intervention from another level of management.

Investing in service delivery with a key focus on employees and management systems will help you solve the problem of poor customer care.

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