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Your Word Is Your Bond

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At some point in your lives, you may have all experienced trying to get information from a business establishment and being told that they will get back to you and were never contacted. You are not alone. At times, it seems like trying to get simple information, such as a quotation can be akin to trying to ‘squeeze blood out of a stone’. I recently experienced this and after almost a month I am still awaiting the information. It brings to mind the adage that says, ‘a promise is a comfort to a fool. Is it that businesses are so terribly busy during this time of scarce economic activity that they are unable to provide simple pricing information to a paying customer? Is it that the information changes depending on who is asking and hence, there is no standard information that employees can provide? Or it is just gross inefficiency? Whatever the reason, every time a promise is made to a customer and it is not kept, the business not only leaves a bad taste in the customer’s mouth, but it presents itself as being incompetent and disorganised.

When businesses fail to respond to customers’ enquiries or queries, customers feel undervalued and unappreciated. The professional trust between the service provider and the customer is broken. This gives rise to disloyalty among customers, and customers seek out alternatives to meet their needs. Businesses must realise that even though the information that was requested is not yet available, a simple call to reassure the customers that they are not forgotten makes all the difference. However, what happens is that customers have to continuously bombard businesses to acquire information that will more than likely result in a sale.

There needs be a change in the culture of the delivery of customer service in some of our businesses. It is said that culture eats strategy for breakfast therefore, no amount of strategic implementation can remedy this problem. Employees need to be sensitised about the importance of being customer centred and being true to their word. If a business falls short of a simple promise as returning a call, how does it expect customers to believe, when it says that it offers quality products and services at competitive prices? Since a man, or in this case a business is as good its word, then if your word is no good, neither is your business.

Dr. Wendyann Richardson is a Management Consultant who specializes in corporate governance, business operations management and refining of skills through training. She can be reached at [email protected]