Competition is good for the customer!

By July 1, 2015 March 19th, 2019 Evolve Insights

As it appeared in the daily nation of March 10th 2015

As a customer, I often wish there was another competing organization that provides electricity. I would have a choice and possibly power supply would be 100% assured.  Other customers wish there was another pay TV showing super sport because they believe they might pay a little less than they currently pay. As customers we get devastated when we have no choice. Fortunately though, in most cases we have a choice. We have hotels, supermarkets, banks, petrol stations, hospitals, garages, saloons, schools etc next to each other. Some may or may not consider each other as competitors based on who their target market is.  Those that have the same target are without doubt in competition. They are competing for the customers’ attention and money.

A customer’s purchase decision is influenced by so many different factors. Some customers look at product or service quality; others look at competitive pricing or best value for money, others ease of doing business, speed of service, past purchase experience, word of mouth, online reviews, trust, convenience, loyalty and so on.  The list is endless. One customer may prefer Nakumatt to Uchumi because of location while another may prefer Uchumi to Nakumatt because of the quality of green vegetables.  Another may prefer Nairobi Java house due to ambience while another may prefer the same restaurant because of menu selection. One may prefer to continue banking at a particular bank despite the fees going up because their family is loyal to the bank. One may prefer a petrol station that has a variety of payment options while another may prefer one that is conveniently located. Competition provides customers with a wide variety to choose from and choice is good for the customer.

Healthy competition does not only mean a wide variety or a more competitive price. Competition has many other benefits to the customers. It leads to more innovative products and services, it results to more creativity in service delivery and when businesses learn from each other they keep getting better.  What is also crucial is that every business needs to recognize that competition is not only good for the customers but it is also good for the business. Competition helps a business to better understand its target customers and to move from mediocrity and complacency to excellence and survival. It also helps a business to recognize that its customers have a choice and can vote with their feet.  We can choose to bank in any of the over 40 banks or choose an insurance package from any insurer including those located out of the country. Understanding our customers, providing them with quality products / services, providing value for the money, building strong relationship with them, taking better care of them must thus become every business’s priority. If you do not take care of your customers, your competitors will.

In conclusion, I often advocate for businesses to be more worried about their customers than about their competition. Every business that is very intentional about how to hold on to the customers it already has and to attract new customers has a bright future even in the face of competition. Such a business remains competitive and is its target customers preferred choice.

Lucy Kiruthu is a Management Consultant and Trainer and can be reached on or via twitter @kiruthulucy

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