Have you ever walked into a business and the employees look like they are literally there to just get paid and they are not enjoying their work? In such environments usually there is an assertive boss either in the same room or sitting in the corner watching everyone like a hawk in a raised chair or glass wall office. We have quite a few of those type of businesses in Lilongwe.
Or have you ever been into a shop and the shop attendant follows you closely. If you stop to browse and touch an item, they stop and stare to make sure it’s not going in your purse. The manager sits at the front of the store acting like they haven’t given strict instructions to their employees. We also have quite a few of these type of businesses in Lilongwe.
Both are probably being done because of theft. The first theft by the employees, the second theft by the customer. What’s the outcome of both? An unpleasant shopping experience. In fact, I will boldly say I have only visited one retail business in Malawi that consistently gives me a pleasant shopping experience. All the others don’t. What do I mean about a shopping experience?
I mean that feeling you get when you walk into a store and walk out with your goods excited to go home. If it’s a new dress, you feel that wonderful feeling inside. I personally haven’t. Why? Because most of our retailers are not thinking about the customer! Its lets open a business, pack it with as many clothes or products as we can to make as much money. What happened to considering how the customer will actually look through your products? Or in investing in training your team so they can smile, welcome people whilst looking happy and not just working as scouts? Or investing in an A/C in summer? Or ensuring if you are selling raw meat your store doesn’t smell like rotting meat? If you are not in the retail business and provide a service have you asked yourself what is your customers experience from when they enter your business to when they leave? What do they see? What do they smell? Who do they interact with? How do those people make them feel?
I say this often and I’ll say it again. The consumer now more than ever expects more. Businesses that invest in improving their customers experience will yield long term benefits leaving behind those that don’t.