As it appeared in the daily nation of October 27th 2015
by Lucy Kiruthu
Do our customers have all the information they need when they need it? Are they updated regularly and reminded of some important details? Or do we assume that because all the information is posted on our website together with Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) that our customers are aware? As customers, are we knowledgeable about the products and services we buy or use? Do we keep the user manuals or instructions in an easily retrievable manner in case needed urgently?
A recent incidence made me realize just how the information I thought I had was inadequate. I have had motor insurance for many years; despite this I did not know what happens in case of an accident. Do I wait for the police? Do I call the insurance company or what do I do? The only call I made was to my dear sister whose advice I found to be the easiest option “if she has admitted liability just agree”. With a few photos, a business card and a verbal agreement by the other motorist to pay for the dents and paint work I progressed to my customer’s meeting. A month later, after a few hassles the other motorist insisted that her husband would have the car only repaired at the backstreet garage where he repairs his big cars. As a result I am having the car fixed at my own cost because I opted for a different garage. I am not alone on this; a friend who had worked at an insurance company recently narrated an even more interesting experience. After they had agreed to visit the nearest garage, the man got back into his car and drove off never to be seen. She had not even noted down the run-away vehicle registration number.
Lack of information or ignorance can be regrettable. In both instances lack of information meant bearing a cost we should not have borne. Sometimes, we do not even realize that we lack such basic information as what to do or who to call. Why did I not know that it was important to report the accident to the police? Many customers simply “Do not Know” for no good reason. When I looked at my Insurance sticker a few days later, I found some useful information that I had never noticed. Had the other motorist also been advised not to admit liability?
The reality is that many of us are inadequately informed and hence we sometimes make the wrong choices. Sometimes we buy a sealed book only to find out later that information on front and back cover does not reflect the inside. We often do not look at the nutrition value or ask the pharmacist for drug facts for medication not in original containers. As Smart Companies, it is crucial to rethink about important information that customers need and share it with them even before they ask for it. The display of nutrition value on the McDonalds menu is revolutionary. Such information should not be in small print. I believe that Customer Information Centres are not only needed during a crisis but are core to everyday customer interactions. After all, well informed customers are more confident, make better decisions and more satisfied!
Lucy Kiruthu is a Management Consultant and Trainer and can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org/old or via twitter @kiruthulucy