Client Care, Are You Being Served

It is they say twenty times harder to win a new client than it is to keep an existing client, I believe that 100%.

So why is it that people continue to make the same mistakes and why do many find it hard to deliver on promises even when they are being paid to deliver a service? There is in South Africa a sad truth that many people who offer a service think they are the one’s doing their “Customers and Clients” a favour, how totally misguided can they be, do they seriously think that they are the only provider available?
Within the last three months my family has experienced the following;

  • A restaurant we were sat at only delivered half the food we ordered. After waiting a further twenty minutes they admitted their mistake but added that the remaining food was not coming as the chef “had gone home”.
  • A watch that was sent in for repair could not be found by the shop that sold it and had taken it in for repair, as they had used an “agent” so it was not their fault and “they were doing their best!”
  • A service provider sent an email saying that they had decided to more than double their costs but,“thanked us for our previous business and the business bookings they had, for quarter four”.

A company asked to quote on a gate simply failed to quote, then said they had been “too busy to do so”.
The above resulted in us cancelling a large party we had booked at the restaurant, the watch shop owner in Johannesburg roasted (with Thyme!) the Cape Town Manager, the hotel services provider losing around R50,000 per month in business and the well-known gate company has been slammed by my better half in every conversation she can possibly hold on the subject.

Today there is an ever growing need for client care within financial services and there are two drivers to this. Firstly, it’s just the “right thing to do”, people are paying us their hard earned money and they deserve to be treated with respect and a thorough understanding of their needs. Secondly, because the worlds regulators are trying to cross the “Rubicon” and get into the subjective subject of client care and treating a client fairly.

This is rather a dangerous area, as it is no longer an objective test of did the company deliver what the client had contracted to receive. Now it is subjective as one man’s fair and reasonable is another’s unfair and unreasonable, there are likely to be battles fought in this area over the next five years, but I feel that as long as it improves client care then it is a fight worth having.

On a more family orientated note I want to thank my entire clan for putting up with me over the last year. It has been a rollercoaster 12 months and with Warwick’s expansion nationally there have been many late nights, early mornings and exhausted weekends.

Last weekend marked the 49th birthday of my sister Louise, who sadly left us in 1984 at the young age of 19 and it suddenly all became clearer to me, relax and enjoy everyone’s good health and treat everyone, including all clients as I want others to treat me.

Family and client care are not an obligation, they are about being a decent and reasonable human being, about caring enough to slow down and to be in the moment with whomever you are sharing that moment with.

After all we reap what we sow and the more we give the more we ourselves will receive in return.

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