“Everyone is a customer. You just have to find a way to sell to them.”
The business world is the most dynamic space in the entire world. Great economists and business scholars have for the longest times tried to work the logic behind business and purchase decisions and as life is, there’s no one size fits all. The only thing I can say is that with good service and customer relation there’s always a client for you out there.
There is a growing realization of the role businesses play all over in transforming societies for the better. As Milton Friedman espoused, business operations respond to and influence market dynamics in a self-fulfilling loop. In the recent past we’ve seen the growth of social enterprising which is poised to provide an alternative to the profit driven and the charity backed enterprises. It’s the middle ground as explained here. On the other end we’ve seen global and multinational organizations such as the World Bank among others rooting for public-private partnerships with the hope that they can spur development and balance the economic & social inequalities that face the world. That’s how important businesses are.
As alluded to above, we are all customers. The question is whether the person selling is good enough in the art to convert a sale on us or not. I recently read a piece that put it out clearly that nobody wants to be sold to but ultimately we all want to buy something. How do you identify the boundary between convincing a client to buy your product or stop it? I am still struggling to find an answer to this. Hopefully I’ll get some from your comments below.
I am passionate about businesses and driving change through business but that’s not the basis of this article today. It’s about two incidences I’ve witnessed in the recent past. In one case, I have this friend who is working for a local social enterprise working in solar power solutions in the country as a debt collector. I earlier alluded to it here. In her case, after a period of deliberations, I managed to persuade her to view her clients as human beings and not mere conversions in the debt amount collected. In this case my view was that you might push the client so hard to a point they give up on the product entirely especially for a product that they decide whether to use or not. As per her TORs, she has a target to hit which is okay but the question I had for her was how she deals with clients whose gadgets are not working. Through further inquiry, it’s the company culture where what counts is the target hit and not much about whether the client gets quality services especially where they already have the gadgets. There’s no way I can be called day in day out to make payment and nobody bothers to call to inquire whether my gadget is in good working condition. This is a red flag and if it were my case, I’d let go of the product that very moment. The company focus once a product was released is on collecting the contributions/payments with little regard for the quality of service rendered to customers. This is how unhealthy corporate cultures can destroy people and make them insensitive. She strives to bridge the divide but there’s not much room for that.
On the second case, I work with a membership association and for our parcel delivery services we contracted a delivery company. In the past ten (10) months that I have relied on their services I wouldn’t go back on the choice even a single minute. You place a call and the operations lead on the other end is always swift, courteous and proactive in ensuring you get the services you need. Last week I had inquiries to make on financial services we were offered by a sister company at least from the directives I was given. I called in with her to check on the same but instead of just letting me know it’s not in their scope she went the extra mile to ask around for me. In two (2) days she got back to me to let me know that from all the tracing she did it wasn’t through their sister company. Luckily, I got to find the company later but the commitment she put in on ensuring my concerns (not in her scope of work) were addressed was extraordinary. It’s in such moments that you realize that people can do their job with diligence and focus on offering exceptional services. Elite riders does a good job and their operations lead, (Redempter) is good at what she does. (Ps. We’ve never met over the whole time I have been doing business with her.)
These two experiences reminded me of a case that has been in the public domain maybe longer than I’ve lived of Virgin Airlines as narrated by Sir Richard Branson in his book, The Virgin Way. He talks of a gentleman who missed his flight and they went the extra mile to ensure he got to his interview in time even though his flight had left.
“A satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all times. Keep your clients satisfied and when you can, exceed their expectations. That way they’ll take care of your marketing needs.”