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Quality and Customer Relations

Why is it that certain companies have a "good" name amongst customers and other companies a "bad" name? Why are the global brand names so well known? Is it their multimillion advertising campaigns, or is it that they consistently provide a quality product? Is it because they are cheap, or expensive? Many studies have indicated it is the company that worries about the quality in all their dealings with the customer that makes it to the top. Even the global brand names have to earn their position. The quality of a product or a service is remembered long after the price has been forgotten.

Who pays the salary?

The business environment is getting more competitive by the day. Therefore, if a business wishes to develop and grow, it has to keep the customer more than satisfied. An old saying has it that a satisfied customer will tell three friends, an unsatisfied customer will tell thirty! The Internet has exacerbated this phenomenon. It takes unhappy customers just a few minutes to air their grievances over cyber space, rapidly reaching hundreds, thousands and millions. Hence, if you wish to go bankrupt quickly, just neglect your customers. Every manager in the organization should understand that ultimately the customer pays his or her salary, not the company nor the chief executive nor the financial director.

Perceiving quality

The way to keep the customer happy is the unstinting pursuit of quality in the whole supply chain. Not only the quality of the product or service, but the quality of the transaction such as meeting orders on time and the quality of the invoice, quality of after-sales service, quality of the telephone reply, and many other elements create the perception the customer has of the company. And perceptions become fact, because the customer has no other information to base their feelings on.

Don't argue - just fix it!

So, if the customer ends up with a product that does not meet the standard and complains, fix it! It does not help to try and hide behind a mountain of scientifically sounding arguments, the customer does not care. If a regulatory authority picks up a problem, recall the product from the market place and fix it! Once it gets known that the so-and-so product is unsafe and you are doing nothing to solve the problem, you have had it. The sales of all your products will suffer, no matter who is right or wrong. Many global brand name companies have been able to use the identification of an unsafe product to their advantage by showing how concerned they are and how quickly they could react in a positive manner to fix it.

First impressions are lasting

If a customer calls on the phone, what is the quality of the answer? Does the phone ring for an eternity until the caller gives up in disgust, or is the standard in the company that the phone will be answered within three rings? Is the telephone etiquette of such quality that I would want to continue doing business with the company? When a message is taken to phone back, is it followed up within 24 hours? Are company standards in place to ensure this? The same applies to e-mails, faxes and the like. Is the security at the gate friendly even though they have a thankless task? Is the reception a quality place? Is the service at reception a friendly and quality welcome?

It doesn't cost a lot

The interesting thing is that many of these issues can be dealt with by caring more, by implementing standards and ensuring quality, not necessarily by throwing a lot of money at them. It should therefore be company policy, lived out by all the employees to nurture good customer relations at all levels and in all dealings with the customer.
see also
Check also from the consumers protection chapter;
Economic Development

East African Business Council