Does Having No Competition, Make You Care Less About Your Users… Or More?

We often find ourselves gaining great insight when faced with really stressful situations, I happen to have come across one of them recently, though in this case, the insight I gained wasn’t some grand form of self-exploration, as much as it reassured me where the future of business is going.

It all happened a couple of weeks ago, I received a serious injury and needed to be hospitalized, which begins our journey to today, and how a small act of kindness done by the police department, managed to leave an impact that would stick with me and my family forever.

While some might say that the public health entities do not follow the same rules businesses do, giving how it always priorities patient needs over anything else, yet there are always outstanding initiatives and individuals that understand how to take your experience with their business to the next level, and we can learn a thing or two and apply it to the business world of today. This is a letter I wrote shortly after what my incident describing my experience:

“A reflection on a recent personal experience when I had an accident at home a couple of weeks ago, my teenage daughter came to see me and her grandfather in a helpless case and I was injured badly, she was in panic, called the police and an ambulance.  Beyond being on time as promised, 10 minutes, giving her directions on the phone, and transferring me and my father to the hospital. My daughter was left in worry, panic, and eating herself in worries.
During the ambulance ride, all that I was worried about was my daughter, and how she was left alone, and how to comfort her but there was nothing I could do.

After recovery from the operation, my daughter shared with me that after we left she received a call from the police cooling her down, and updating her that her mother and grandfather reached the hospital and in safe hands, and the doctors said they will be OK.

This phone call was nothing related to a manual, Job description, nor expectation from me or patients like me being picked up by an ambulance. I thought during the COVID-19 crisis, police and healthcare institutions are already overwhelmed and barely can attend to the pandemic crisis, no way I would have expected they have the time, capacity, and care to have this humanitarian touch. The impact of this call is beyond description.  I am of course now and forever very grateful to the healthcare system, police, and the individual who made that call.  I have been reflecting on my experience and thinking how can we add an extra touch, how can we walk the extra mile, how can we be more supportive, how can we be more empathetic. From now on, I and my team will pay extra attention to star candidates that think of making such a call as part of their DNA. A crisis can bring the best out of us. And in the middle of crisis and fragility, a small act of kindness can go a long mile.

Thank you Dubai police and Dubai Ambulance for leading the way, I am inspired by you and it is my mission to carry on the good deed.”

While it was only a call, it expressed a level of dedication and kindness towards humans that would always be a part of that experience. So… why though? After all, they’re the only service provider, why did they go the extra mile when there isn’t exactly any competition that might take their work away? And how does that translate into the business world of today?
The answer is easy:
Consumer Satisfaction Studies have said that with time it’s around 10 times more expensive to attract a new customer, than an old one. So, while new consumers are important, making the ones you have more satisfied with your product or service is crucial for success. Which is something we can relate to this story, on how brands and businesses going the extra mile can have a huge impact on user satisfaction.

Should your business go the extra mile?

The short answer is yes; the long answer is: definitely yes. Every day people are beginning to realize that they have more options when it comes to where they pay their money, giving how new services and new products flood the market daily. So, to stay ahead of the competition, one no longer has to just have the best prices or distribution in town, you need to be the favorite brand for your consumer, and build an ongoing relationship between you.

How can you go the extra mile?

There are usually two ways you can raise consumer satisfaction, you either give them a better version of your product or service, or you give them something they didn’t ask for and isn’t required by you, that they would love.

The first way is probably as important as the second, but the first will usually have small increments of improvement, that while won’t be very noticeable by your consumer, in the long run, it will build a great relationship. That kind of growth requires individuals who are motivated and talented in your team, and those are probably our highest criteria when hiring talent for businesses around the world, the criteria of whether this talent will help you grow… or not.

So, the second one can have a huge impact… it’s a bit of a recipe of three ingredients so write with me:

First, it has to be purely for your consumer, without a hint of the sale in it.

Second, start by finding a problem your consumers are dealing with, it doesn’t even have to relate to your business.

Third, notice the patterns, study each phase of your cycle, and see where your consumers are having issues even if they aren’t caused by you, and fix it for them. You’d be surprised by how much a little bit, can go so far.

To sum things up, I think a closer example of how this relates more to businesses is the current Covid-19 pandemic and how businesses are almost racing now to give the most to their consumers, so they’d build a better relationship with them for the time the world is no longer under lockdown.
Who knows… maybe your business can be that phone call to your consumers one day?

Dr. Nairouz Bader, Group CEO of Envision Partnership

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