Who is our customer? What did they want from us?

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By: Olufemi Esan

I was in a gathering of some School Bus Drivers, and I found myself asking who their customers were? I was surprised that many of them did not know who the customer was.

Vaguely, they thought that the core customer was the school that employed them.

Unfortunately that was not so! Their core customers were the Parents of the Children that they carried; and by contrast the children they carried. 

The parent of the children paid their salaries and could get any driver fired through complaints from the children. 

In the Vehicle Repair/Maintenance Technicians’ case, your customer is the real owner/operator of the vehicles (not the drivers) that you service and repair, the core customer is that man that issue contract and cede payment to the technician.

If we agree with the concept above, it will be taken that the customers’ need or demand your services. Needs and Demands for services; are just like asking for food from a vendor. Food is a need and the demand is to satisfy a feeling of hunger, but that is not the end of delivery. 

How did the customer want it delivered? Nobody asks, nobody knows and nobody delivers what the customer wants.

Food is a need to satisfy hunger, therefore gari (cassava flower) and groundnut, biscuit, bread and beans, eba (produced from cassava flower) with ponmo (hide-skin) vegetables can solve the need to satisfy the hunger. 

But these set of food stable will not satisfy somebody that wants Omelets and Bread, eba with stocked fish vegetables’ soup; rice-salad and catfish. 

These are wants satisfaction levels. Wants are absolutely different from just needs. 

Do you know what the customers want? And how can we mend the Customer Service Delivery Fence?

The customers don’t ever want their vehicles to have breakdowns

The customers don’t want any bad parts used on their vehicles.

The customers don’t want discomfort experiences while driving.

The customers don’t want any unskilled hands to touch their vehicle.

The customers don’t want repeat repairs.

The customers don’t want delays to repairs.

The customers don’t want to pay excessive bills, but want a reasonable bill.

So, what actually did your customers want?

  • Timely Service:   They want their services to be done quickly and delivered at the proper time. In his thought he ask – ‘Why should I wait for you when I have other things doing? What if I don’t have another car or means of convenience?’ 
  • Quality Service:  Excellent repair works. Comfort of ride and a Peace of mind. Using Parts & Good Skill. Customer silent thought will be ‘Why must I patronize you if you are not skilled, if your workshop is so dirty? If your job is bad! I expect a better performance and consideration’. 
  • Friendly Service:  Assured customer friendly atmosphere by listening to your customer, recognize and respect your customer. Customer’s silent thoughts are: ‘I am your Customer. Don’t you recognize me? Why should you not care for me? Why don’t you ask me what I want? Or if I am satisfy with your services? Am I too small?’ 
  • Be Reasonably:   Show consideration when it comes to demands on customer. Understand your customer to know when not to complain. Business is about balancing trade in the market to achieve mutual satisfaction – “Do You Know When It Is Biting? ‘Why should I buy from you? Why won’t I look for a substitute? How did others manage a BAD situation and you can’t?’ 
  • Capacity Reassurance:  Create Confidence in your ability to achieve results with Consideration to your customer’s interest. Customer’s thoughts – ‘If you cannot help me and you think that you don’t have capacity and experience in doing my work, what am I doing with you?’ 
  • Customer Loyalty:   The Customer leaves its vehicle to your Care and therefore, it is implied that Loyalty must be displayed. Customer’s thought – ‘I Trust you will do the best for me, I trust you will be reasonable in your opinion, I expect that I will not be cheated in the maintenance of my vehicles. I don’t want to hear anything outside your loyalty’. ‘Treat me like a baby’ 
  • Vehicle Handling:   Customer vehicles should be washed, cleaned and secured in our premises. Customers thought: ‘I have left my vehicle to you for safe keeping. I trust you can handle it. I guess that is one of the reasons that I came to you’. 
  • Vehicle Handling:   Customer vehicles should be washed, cleaned and secured in our premises. ‘I have left my vehicle to you for safe keeping. I trust you can handle it. I guess that is one of the reasons that I came to you’. 
  • Add Value+:  Customer should be rewarded for their loyalty and patronage by providing value added services. (+1 Service).  ‘My expectation is that you will thrill me and not just satisfy me…’. Of what use is your service if you don’t have a valued proposition that supersedes others? 
  • Value for Money:   Provide value that is superior to other options. Customer’s thought – ‘How do I measure the value of your work, when your entire transaction is not visible..? I want proof of advantage’. 
  • Service Information:   Provide adequate genuine information regarding Services & Repairs; including what might benefit the customer. ‘I want every bit of information that will enable me take good decisions on my transport system. The Whys of all damages? How to prevent excesses, what is happening, when is it going to happen? And many needed information ……’ 

Our Customers are our Kings! Any maltreatment goes to them directly – It is not right to think that nothing matters without them. In actual fact you are dealing with your dream indirectly.

Be Great!

Let It Be Known! 

Mr. Olufemi Esan can be reached on Tel: +2347031931766

 

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