The Sunday Mail
Milton Kamwendo Hunt for Greatness
EVERY organisation exists to create, serve and maintain customers. Job security is only found in serving and meeting the needs of customers because they are the only source of value. Wake up to the call of service and let your passion shine as you serve. Any organisation that ignores its customers has gone mad. Anyone who despises customer service is a lunatic.
Love your customers and treat them with dignity and respect. They will in turn return the favour with their custom and loyal support.
The customer has the power to dismiss everyone in the organisation from the board to the shop floor. In any organisation, everything should start and end with the customer. No one can be so important as to ignore the customer. When customers are put at the centre of the business, they will also put the business at the centre of their concern. If you put customers at the top of your mind, they will put you at the top of their priorities.
Customers are the real owners of brands. They hold the destiny of any organisation in their hands.
It takes a lot to win the hearts and minds of customers; advertising, cleanliness, branding, displays, merchandising, loyalty programmes, bill-boards, and many other initiatives. To do all these things and then ignore the customers when they come to our premises is mindless. It takes a lot to gain a customer and yet losing one takes a few mindless seconds. Once customers are lost and frustrated, it is a mission to win them back.
Each customer interaction is a golden opportunity to make a lasting impression. You have to turn every customer interaction into an unforgettable service experience. Every moment of truth must become a moment of magic. Like those in the show business, you have no room for a bad day.
You have to make all your customer interactions and touch points memorable experiences because people always relish pleasant memories. The goal is to make every service experience enjoyable and memorable. It is daily work.
It takes a whole company to make the customers happy. When it comes to customer service, there is no back or front office. The customer does not care about your internal divisionalisation.
The team must be an unbroken chain delivering excellent customer experiences at every touch point. You have to keep raising the bar because today’s excellent service is tomorrow’s basic expectation.
The customer service journey is never a terminus, its a daily departure point. You have to wake up everyday to do better than yesterday and to serve the customers better than anyone you know in your business category.
You have to think, eat, drink, dream and be obsessed with giving your customers the best.
To serve customers you must be present, positive, passionate, proud and pleasant.
Work hard and give your best attention to your customers and prospects. There is no room for being sloppy or complacent in customer service. Have presence of mind and show that you care. Serving customers while mindlessly chatting away with a friend is not service. The customers want to know and feel that they are your primary attention and chief concern. Being absent minded in a customer service area is being careless and sloppy.
Never use your problems as an excuse to be rude to customers. No matter what the issue or problem is, take a positive view when dealing with your customers. Everyone prefers to deal with someone who is friendly, open, positive and welcoming. Complaining to customers is simply chasing them away. Choose to be optimistic and positive. Smile and greet customers in a warm, friendly way. Your personal problems should never become your customers’ problems. See the stars not the darkness. Gloomy faces just chase away customers and jobs.
Enthusiasm is contagious. It is the fuel for creativity and innovations. When you serve with passion, customers can feel it. Love what you do and those for whom you are doing it. Passion attracts positive attention.
People do not just buy your products, but they buy your passion and energy. No one wants to be served by a yawning and tired person who has no interest or excitement. To exhibit boredom to customers is to defrock your value proposition.
The legendary preacher and founder the Methodist Church, John Wesley was once asked why people were coming from every village and hamlet to listen to his sermons. He replied that his secret was simply this: “He set himself on fire and people came and watch him burn.”
Now that is passion! You must set yourself on fire and people must come and watch you burn and do that which you love. If you do not love what you sell, find something that you will love and be passionate about.
Wear your brand with pride, care and attention. Present yourself and the brand you represent with style and a sense of pride. Customer service represents the heart of your brand in the hearts of its customers. You are responsible for following through your various customer communications with aligned action to ensure that what you advertise you are and what we promise you deliver.
The key to great customer service is taking personal responsibility and investing your pride in the customer service exchange. You want to autograph your delivery with quality. Never be content to think like victims who are always mourning and complaining. Your battle is for the customers’ hearts, minds and wallets. To win in the market place we have to take personal responsibility for the service experience you deliver. Whether you win or fail at customer service depends on you. You are responsible for the quality of service that you give to your customers.
I once entered a bathroom that had a sign that read: “We aim to please, aim please!” In every customer interaction aim to please. Regardless of how busy you are, there is always time for courtesy and politeness. Without customers, no business could exist for long. Customers are the oxygen that fuels enterprises.
A lot has been said about smiling. It is an age-old key to winning customers and turning them into friends and fans for your service and brands. A smile is a little curve that straightens up a lot of customer issues.
The Chinese have a proverb that states that a man without a smiling face should never open a shop. Serving customers is not a life-sentence nor is an 8-5pm prison sentence. Thinking 8-5pm is so yesterday. Learn how to enjoy your work and to have fun doing it. People will forget the good you are selling, the big adverts that you spend a lot of money on, but they will never forget how you made them feel. A gentle, confident, warm and assuring smile is the first line in the quest to be pleasant. Smile and sell more.
Regardless of what you do, there will be times when your customers will be unhappy. Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.
To feel happy, speak to your happy customers, but to improve and grow diligently study and research your unhappy customers. Face the brutal facts in order to learn and better your act. Value feedback because it is the breakfast of champions.
Unhappy customers are a special gift. Never hide customer feedback from your team. Let the bad news travel fast in your organisation and jolt everyone towards customers. You do not have the luxury to wait for a monthly meeting to correct a bad customer incident.
If you are not taking care of your customers, someone else will. Customer care is not a drudgery. It is a joy. Your goal as an organisation is to have customer care that is not just the best but legendary.
People should talk with reverence about your service culture and how you care for your customers. When customers interact with you, they should feel that they are the centre of your universe and they are celebrities. The customers do not care how much you know about the various technical nuances of your business, until they know how much we care for them.
Invest time in talking to customers face to face whenever you can. Nothing could replace that. Paying lip-service to customer service will just not deliver anything. If you pretend to serve your customers, they will also pretend to buy. If you are not spending time with your customers, you are abusing time.
The best route to the customers wallets is through talking to them and engaging them.
Understanding their plans and pains.
Whatever your station, role or position serve customers or serve those you are serving them. Always remember the words of Mahatma Gandhi. These words must be inscribed in your heart and walls. They must be inside every truck, office or counter. These words must in your hearts as you serve customers. It is with these words that I close: “A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favour by serving him. He is doing us a favour by giving us an opportunity to do so.”
Milton Kamwendo is a cutting-edge international transformational and inspirational speaker, author and coach. He is a strategy, innovation, leadership and management consultant. His life purpose is to inspire people to release the greatness trapped in them. He can be reached at: [email protected] and on WhatsApp at: 0772422634.