Why do you buy vegetables or meat from the same vendor over and over again, to the extent that you have their telephone contacts on speed dial? What happens when the vendor for some reason has closed their kibanda or shop? In such a case, there is a great likelihood that the family menu for the day will change to accommodate their absence.

These people have found a way to make themselves indispensable in our lives. It could be the occasional cleaning lady, the newspaper vendor, the daily groceries vendor, the watchman who cleans your car better than the professional car wash etc. We can almost not imagine that service being provided by anyone else.

The big question is, how did we get here?? 

The simple and straightforward answer is the experience we get when doing business with them.  These vendors have mastered the art of delivering great customer experiences.

When you get to the shop or vending station, they refer to you by name and enquire after your day. They even know whether you like being referred to by your maiden name or family name, and know your children’s names. They know your preferences: how you like your vegetables chopped up and the varieties that you are partial to; the meat vendor knows the meat cuts you prefer, when you eat red or white meat and when to pack up the boned or deboned pieces; and the gas vendor will deliver the replacement gas cylinder and set it properly for you. They offer more than you pay for and that is what keeps you coming back. They understand you as an individual person and not just one of the many customers and give you personalized service.

In your neighborhood, you can easily tell which vendor offers customers better customer experience by how well their business is doing. Such businesses flourish even in seasons of economic hardships. The customer goodwill toward them lasts all year round.

Organizations that intend to remain competitive should borrow heavily from the customer experience that smaller vendors offer their customers. It’s the attention to detail to each individual client’s needs, investment in knowing more about the customers without being intrusive, and appreciating the customers even when they are not spending too much on their products. They live by the mantra that every customer is unique and deserves nothing but the best service all the time.

When brands proactively invest in enhancing customer experiences, they gain competitive advantage. Customers are simple creatures – all they need is to have their need met in a way that honours them and ensures they feel acknowledged and important. With that in place, the competitive edge over rival competitors who may not have mastered that art will be an obvious given.

The future and success of organizations is heavily dependent on how well they not only meet the needs of their customers, but also how well they treat them as they deliver these services, and the resultant willingness of their customers  in return to continue with them.