Articles Tagged Customer Care

Dec 20, 2015
Snip. We just disconnected you.

I was disconnected by three companies I deal with recently. All in the space of one week. All three are businesses I have been a loyal customer of for years (decades, in one case). All three know me well. I have an excellent payments history. There was no real reason to disconnect me. But they […]

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Nov 29, 2015
Click. There goes your customer

I’m always curious about the world, and so I have always been a news junkie. When I was growing up in Kenya, the only source of news was the daily newspaper. I would wait outside my father’s door for it every morning. How else would I know what was happening in the world? Later, we […]

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Sep 20, 2015
A tale of two businesses

Someone I’m close to recounted two very different customer experiences to me recently. The first concerns a well-known shop in a well-known mall in Nairobi. This shop is operated by its owners, and customer care does not appear to run in the bloodline. I myself have only been there once, and once was enough. Sub-standard, […]

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May 31, 2015
Are you handling customers, or mishandling them?

Why do so many of our companies not know how to handle customers? Why do most of us fail in this elementary test of business? Imagine a customer lodges a complaint about your business somewhere: comes in person, calls, emails, tweets, messages, posts an update on Facebook – whatever. Here are the typical responses. First: […]

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Apr 19, 2015
A racist restaurant and the danger of the single story

A Chinese restaurant in Nairobi was operating a blatantly racist admission policy. It was exposed. Kenyans were understandably outraged. Sensing the the collective anger, the authorities took action. The restaurant is now closed, and the owner faces charges in court. Will we now live happily ever after? I suspect not. Life is never that simple. […]

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Mar 29, 2015
No, don’t cut the serviettes in half

You’ve probably been in those joints. The ones where the serviette is surprisingly small and thin. And you’re only given one. How does that happen? A member of staff sits down with a whole packet of normal-sized serviettes, and proceeds to cut each one in half. That’s how. After that, the same person will probably […]

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Nov 23, 2014
Don’t just hand your money over to bad businesses

I often state something like this on Twitter: “Don’t give your money to businesses that despise you.” I will keep repeating a version of this for as long as I can. Interestingly, every time I do this, several people will reply with: “So what should I do with Kenya Power?” In other words, how is […]

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Jun 15, 2014
Two crucial questions for your business

Last week I laid into the never-ending culture of businesses playing only for the cameras, rather than playing for the real prize. So what is that prize, and how can you tell if you’re on the way to achieving it? The prize of business is no different from the prize of life itself. It is […]

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Mar 30, 2014
Which customer would you give a refund to?

If you run a business, or are employed in one, allow me to put three scenarios to you this Sunday. Think about your answers carefully. Scenario One: an unhappy customer comes to you. She is dissatisfied with the product she bought, because it doesn’t work. You study the situation, and conclude she is right. Should […]

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May 20, 2013
Apps ate your lunch, right out of your hand

“Nobody knows which was the first app to be downloaded from Apple’s iPhone App Store on 11 July 2008 – but the total is expected to pass 50bn on Wednesday, marking a huge new business created by the explosive spread of smartphones over the past five years.” Charles Arthur, The Guardian (15 May, 2013) As […]

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May 13, 2013
Welcome to the business that never sleeps

“They may have yelled before, but now they have megaphones. Whether they’re bashing or praising your products and your brand, customers are online and louder than ever. And right now, they’re on forums, review sites, Facebook and Twitter, sending out thousands of uncensored opinions—that could have major consequences. Be everywhere. The longer it takes for […]

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Feb 24, 2013
Meet a last-minute contender for the presidency

Kenya was stunned this morning by the news that a court has ruled a ninth presidential contender must enter the fray, and will feature in tomorrow’s second televised debate. The Sunday Nation caught up with Dr Charlatan Sungura to get to know him. Q: Dr Charlatan, it is a pleasure to meet you. A: Please, […]

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Oct 15, 2012
Here’s a better to way to handle customer service: try Twitter

“Frustrated by the 40 minutes she spent on hold with Citibank customer service, Stacy Small tweeted her displeasure. To her surprise, a Citibank agent tweeted right back. “Send us your phone number and we’ll call you right now,” read the message. Within minutes Ms. Small, who owns a luxury-travel company in Los Angeles, was on […]

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Sep 24, 2012
The social media phenomenon isn’t about technology. It’s about people

“While delivering my washing to our local dry cleaner this morning, I realised the reason why I always go back to that specific dry cleaner: it is a result of an intimate relationship that has developed between me and the owners over a period of time. The owners know me by name and the name […]

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May 20, 2012
The bigger you are, the more you seem to forget your customers

Picture yourself at one of our many fruit-and-vegetable markets. If you frequent these places, I have no doubt that you have a favourite vendor that you habitually buy from. Why is that, when there are usually dozens of stalls before you, all offering very similar products at very similar prices? What makes you choose one […]

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Apr 23, 2012
Your business is centered on customers? I don’t believe you…

“I’ve been living in the Thank You Economy since a day sometime around 1995, when a customer came into my dad’s liquor store and said, “I just bought a bottle of Lindemans Chardonnay for $5.99, but I got your $4.99 coupon (later) in the mail. Can you honor it? I’ve got the receipt.” The store […]

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Mar 06, 2012
#TwitterBigStick and #TwitterThumbsUp: where to from here?

The 2 hashtags, #TwitterBigStick and #TwitterThumbsUp were never intended to be finished products in any sense. As I have said from the outset, they were simply a demo of what focused tweeting can do. They play on very human needs: to express frustration when good service or value for money is not provided; and to […]

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Feb 06, 2012
Yes, CEOs: you WILL need to understand and engage with social media

“As I jogged down Wall Street in New York in October through the barricades, police horses, and thousands of activists, something became clear. The masses had self-organized and social media had added yet another social movement to its résumé. At the same time, something else became clear to me. Much higher than street level, in […]

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Jan 30, 2012
What #TwitterBigStick is, and which organizations have responded

#TwitterBigStick is a hashtag that escalates bad service and bad behaviour by organizations. Thousands have used it to give instant feedback on poor experiences and neglect. It give ordinary people a voice and an instantaneous way of channelling feedback constructively. Ignoring #TwitterBigStick can lead to a severe reputation battering, often in a few hours of […]

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Jan 22, 2012
Organizations: prepare for online firestorms in 2012

A few weeks ago I predicted that 2012 would be the year of the “Twitter Big Stick” in Kenya: a time when both politicians and large organizations feel the force of feedback from social media. I pointed out that the reason for this is that the little people – customers, users, voters – now have […]

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Nov 07, 2011
Consumers, not corporates, are now driving tech innovation

“The rise of tablets and smartphones also reflects a big shift in the world of technology itself. For years many of the most exciting advances in personal computing have come from the armed forces, large research centres or big businesses that focused mainly on corporate customers. Sometimes these breakthroughs found their way to consumers after […]

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Oct 10, 2011
Thinking like a customer could have saved Kodak

“In the mid-1990s I paid several visits to Kodak’s headquarters in Rochester, New York, and the cultural mindset was – with hindsight – on full display. Various executives told me how wonderful silver halide was. Professional photographers could not do without it, nor could Hollywood. Digital was for amateurs. And even they would always want […]

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Sep 26, 2011
Steve Jobs’ real secret? He was Customer Number 1

“Steve Jobs is above all an Apple customer. He and Steve Wozniak built devices that both of them wanted to use themselves. Wozniak brought exceptional engineering chops. Even more important, Jobs (who can’t program) brought the perspective of a passionate and non-technical customer into the design, the look and feel, and the excitement of Apple […]

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Aug 15, 2011
Why are some industries so persistently bad with customers?

“Bruce Temkin, managing partner of Temkin Group, says, “The overall story was not very good. Nearly half of the companies received ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’ ratings. The bottom of the list was dominated by health plans, TV service providers and Internet service providers. In these industries, it appears as if bad customer experience is contagious. […]

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Jun 05, 2011
What should we do with our bad customers?

I often speak before the leadership teams of top firms, and one of my favourite subjects is the customer experience these companies offer. An observation: I am nearly always asked the same question during the interactive part of the presentation, no matter where I am and which company I am addressing. Here’s the question: “What […]

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Mar 20, 2011
Still taking customers for granted? Look out…

I wrote here last week that so many of our businesses seem hell-bent on sacrificing long-term strategic gain at the altar of ‘shrewdness’ – the mistaken belief that you must get the best possible deal for yourself in every transaction. That article seemed to touch a nerve: I was deluged with tweets and comments from […]

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Mar 14, 2011
Do your customers have a life without you?

“Do you have customers who can’t live without you? 
Because if they can, they probably will. The researchers at Gallup have identified a hierarchy of connections between companies and their customers, from confidence to integrity to pride to passion. To test for passion, Gallup asks a simple question of the customers they query on behalf […]

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Mar 13, 2011
Businesses remain stuck in short-sighted “shrewd” practices

If you spend time with businesspeople, you soon pick up that they value something called “shrewdness” over most other things – if you aren’t sharp and quick-witted, with an instinctively predatory commercial instinct, you shouldn’t really be in business. By this they mean that the ability to sniff out and design a great deal is […]

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