“Get customer obsessed.”
This was the advice of Richard Dick Solomon, principal consultant and managing director of Development Consulting Centre Ltd as he gave the feature presentation at the THA Division of Finance and the Economy’s Financial Literacy Secretariat 3rd annual financial literacy breakfast meeting on Thursday.
The meeting, at the Magdalena Grand Beach and Golf Resort, formed a part of the division’s Finance Month 2019 celebrations.
Dick Solomon delivered a presentation on the impact and implications on customer expectations, behaviour and decision making.
He said: “Leaders have to get very serious about serving their customers… we have to have a strong service vision and values for that. We have to hire the right people.
Dick Solomon added: “If you hire bad people, people who don’t like other people, your service is going to be horrible. I don’t care what you do, I don’t care what you launch. Waiting for some supervisors and managers to say yes to something that the front-line counter person could say yes to – customers want convenience, so hire the right people, train the right people. We have to empower the front line to make decisions.
"We have to listen to the voice of the customer, If you solve the problem, they will do business with you again. The faster you can solve the problem, the more likely they will do business with you.”
This, he said, required empowering employees to make good decisions, as he added that there is money in focusing on the customer. The happier the customer, the more likely they are to buy more from the organisation again.
He warned that after a while organisations will not be able to compete on product but in terms of service, noting that the customer is not always right, but the more organisations focus on what a customer needs, the more the customer wins.
“So it’s either you’re customer-obsessed – or you’re waiting to be made irrelevant by somebody who is.”
He said some organisations think they can tell customers what they must do but that is absolutely changing. Dick Solomon said some organisations may have the attitude: “Where else will they go?” Without calling names, he said a certain telecom provider did whatever it wanted for a very long time, until one day "some people came in red" and brought competition.
“All of a sudden, the other ones that we had before, they figured it out.
“The customers are the ones who are deciding this thing. We have to find a way. How do we deliver this to the customer?”
Acknowledging Amazon as a customer-obsessed organisation, Dick Solomon referred to its founder and chairman Jeff Bezos, who has now launched an airline (Amazon Air) to move packages to customers more quickly.
“Why would they do that? Here’s why they did that. They said, 'We promised you Prime deliveries in two days – not in the Caribbean yet but on the North American continent – in two days. We want to take it down to one day.' So they launched a whole airline."
He said the 21st-century customer is busy and demanding and has less disposable income, and therefore will focus on “What's in it for me?” and “What’s the return on my investment?”
He stressed customers want speed, higher quality and better value.
“Customers don’t want to wait any more. They are impatient. We want it our way, and want it now.”