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Don’t bite the hand that feeds you

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Vincentians are no stranger to the adage ‘don’t bite the hand that feeds you’. Most can testify of the more senior in our midst urging us not to be ungrateful, especially to those who have been fertilising our breadfruit tree. However, this good advice seems not to have been transferred to the workplace, particularly in the area of customer service. Recently, I was in a pharmacy when I observed an employee seated at the entrance, sanitising customers as they enter. This employee sat behind the door remarking to another employee, that he hopes the lady (a customer standing outside) was not waiting on him to open the door.

One may think that, the lady standing outside was not making an attempt to enter the pharmacy to make a purchase, but instead was entering the establishment to beg her bread. It is appalling that the employee thought it too much to simply open the door so that a customer can enter and offset the cost of the business operations, thus ensuring that he is paid at the end of the month. When did we get to the point where serving a customer is an inconvenience and a bother to the employees? When has customer service become a favour that is granted to the customer?

Do employees not know that without these ‘nuisances’ there will be no business and hence no job, which basically means no income? Any service to customers that is less than excellent equates to the ungrateful act of biting the hand that feeds you. There are currently so many sellers in the market that the customer has options and hence, no longer has to tolerate the misdirected actions of disengaged employees.

Research shows that it is five times more expense to attract new customers than to retain existing customers. Maybe, one of the reasons so many businesses are struggling is their failure to nurture and care for their customers. It is believed that an increase in customer retention by 5 percent results in an increase in profits from between 25 to 95 percent.

Therefore, the sensible thing to do is to take care of your existing customers who have been spending their hard earned money on your goods and services, over and over again. They are the ‘hand’ that are ensuring your survival by continuously feeding you, in these challenging times.

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]

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