x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Customer interaction is name of the game

The most important asset of any organisation is its customers. To maintain a competitive edge and ensure continued business success, it is necessary to adopt a customer-centric approach that capitalises on all aspects of customer interaction.

The most important asset of any organisation is its customers. To maintain a competitive edge and ensure continued business success, it is necessary to adopt a customer-centric approach that capitalises on all aspects of customer interaction.

This has been the experience of companies the world over. Technology organisations such as IBM and Siemens, for example, now derive a majority of their turnover from service activities. Any industry can stand to significantly increase its bottom line through the business of serving people and serving them well.

It is important to understand what a customer-centric approach means. A customer-centric approach goes beyond the obvious and ensures that the customer is at the centre of a company’s business values, vision and entire operation.

An organisation that wholeheartedly adopts this approach believes that clients are the foundation of its existence and uses every means to keep them satisfied.

Customers have become highly empowered to dictate what they consume.

This not only means that customers have options; it means that organisations need to up their game to ensure that the services they are offering stand out.

So how do they go about doing that?

1 Innovation

Some of the most brilliant ideas I’ve come across arose through building on customer insight. In my view, an organisation that uses this approach will not only find ways to renew service features and means of connecting with clients, but also to manage and modify any flaws in the processes that are in place.

2 Relevance

Technology is the driving force of communication and this is especially so in the UAE where we have one of the highest mobile penetration rates in the world. It is crucial that service providers of all industries be able to communicate with their clients within this platform and continue to evolve.

3 Attentiveness

A crucial component in maintaining a good reputation is a high standard of after-sales service. Property managers and developers who are attentive to their clients’ needs after the deal has been made, mobilise the most active and impactful ambassadors of all – their clients. Whatever the industry, it is known that good after-sales service has a very positive effect on a customer’s experience with a company.

We live in a consumer-empowered era and it is imperative that we sustain a positive reputation with our clients by consistently delivering on our services. This is achieved not only by listening to clients’ concerns, but by acting on them and demonstrating commitment towards continuing improvement. Errors will occur, but in my experience, customers will forgive genuine mistakes, especially if steps are taken to amend the problem as soon as it comes to light.

If a client is satisfied, then use that as an opportunity to understand what you are doing right so you can do it again.

Keep an eye on unhappy clients and find out what is the cause of their issue. Tap into crisis scenarios to learn more about your customers and ultimately your business. 

Employ your telemarketing and sales teams to be your ears and eyes in the market and educate them on how to be attentive enough to detect potential problems. Put a monitoring system in place that reviews the various aspects of the business and gathers data continuously, to allow management room to fix problems.

Good service revolves around the consumer. Understanding what their needs are is the key to offering them the service they desire. Regularly exceeding their expectations will keep them coming back.

No service industry is exempt from these rules and those that consider customers to be the dictating force in their success or failure are those that will thrive.

Zainab Mohammed is the general manager – property management, marketing and communications at Wasl Asset Management Group