Customers will forget what you told them, but they won’t forget how you made them feel.

Every entrepreneur, company and organisation will agree that customers are the lifeblood of every businesses and interacting with those customers is inevitable. I am yet to see a cloud-based, automated business that requires zero interaction with customers.

Why don’t we flip this perspective and turn a customer service into a profit centre? Companies invest a lot in different business tools like Business Canvas, stakeholder mapping, product development, marketing analysis and strategies including branding to mention a few, and forget that the fundamental branding for the organisation is customer service and how you create the customer experience and storytelling about your company and product.

Service and support are the most important interactions you will have with your customers. How you approach these interactions is representative of how you do things, which influences what your clients say about you and in turn what your brand is.

There have been a number of customer care campaigns, the most popular being “NAYOMBI” that was championed by Rwanda Development Board (RDB) due to several complaints about poor service delivery both in private and public institutions. However, we still face the same hurdle. Some institutions are doing well like Rwanda Immigration office. I went there recently, to acquire a travel document; the service I received was the best I have experienced.

Customer service is your primary communication channel with customers; use it to craft the best perception of your company and your brand. This way, you will build sustainable, profitable relationships with your customers. Your competitors could copy your code, your products, your Website, but they won’t be able to copy the best customer experience you gave your customers, which will be your competitive advantage.

A loyal customer base, where individuals have attached and associated themselves to your brand, becomes a massive business asset. The easiest way to measure the return on that investment is through word-of-mouth, where your clients wax lyrical about their experience with your brand and company. And that’s how customer service, through the medium of brand building becomes a profit centre instead of an area where you try to minimise expenditure.

Competition is becoming stiffer day by day and critical deadlines are rife, one cannot think of a business growth without exceptional customer service. A number of organizations underestimate the importance of customer satisfaction, while laying the foundation of their business. They focus on the quality of services and products, organisational infrastructure but often overlook the fact that it is customers who can make or break a business.

The best way to promote your business products and services is word of mouth marketing. When customers receive satisfactory and quality services from an organization, they tend to discuss in their social network, which leads to direct publicity and increased popularity of an organization.

I challenge us to redefine our customer service philosophy to improve and maintain our customers.

The author is pursuing an MA in Management Innovation and Entrepreneurship from the University of Antwerp, Belgium.

Written by John Bosco Nyemazi

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