This reporter, Nkasiobi Oluikpe, went to town to sample the opinions and views of consumers of different products and services on what would make them continually patronize and help keep a particular entrepreneur in business. Among the views expressed, good products and a friendly atmosphere topped the list. Excerpts:
Ugo Orji, a banker, spoke about her hairdressers
I have been using two particular hairdressers now for three years. It all depends on what I want to do. I have a hairdresser for braids and another for fixing of weavons.
My reason for keeping to them these past three years is because they do my hair better than others. So, it bothers on the satisfaction that I get.
Added to giving me what I want, they also relate very well with me. Each one of them is unique in her own way. Their customer service is very okay. Another thing I consider is proximity to where I stay. For me, I don’t think I need to travel a long distance to go and make my hair, except if I am not able to get any other place I can get quality service.
They are also open to complaints. If they are getting a particular style wrong from what I want, I always tell them, please do it this way and they usually comply. I used to have a hairdresser that is good but she will always want to have her way. I had to let go of her and turn to someone who will listen to me.
Oluwagbemisola Adegbenle (Mrs) – Civil servant
I only have one fashion designer that I have been using for the past three years. She knows how to design various styles for me. Besides sowing, we are very close. She is always there. When I was going through some crises, she took part in it and even made some recommendations. I never knew her until she started designing my clothes, but when she started, we became close that I even share family issues with her. She is a woman who feels concerned about her customers’ wellbeing. If she didn’t see you for about two months without bringing cloths for her to sow, she will call to find out what’s happening and if there is any way she can be of help. She will always tell you, if you don’t have money, you can always come, I will sow it for you, anytime you have the money you can come ad pay.
Mkpuroma Isiguzo (Mrs)- Businesswoman
For over 10 years now, I have been buying my provisions from a particular store. The reason for patronizing him these 10 years is because of the familiarity I enjoy with him. Besides the familiarity, his products are genuine, he doesn’t sell fake products.
In fact, we are like a family, though we are not biologically related. He appreciates the fact that I patronize him and always looking out for me. If I had to stay away for like one month or two, when next he sees me, he will be asking me if he has wronged me in any way. He will persuade me to tell him why he has not been seeing me and what I think can be done for me to regularly come to his shop.
Assuming there is a particular product I know is doing well in the market and he doesn’t have it, I always feel free to tell him about it and he will promise that by the time I come next time, he will get it. That is why I have stuck to him for over 10 years now.
Vivian Moses (caterer)
For me, durability and quality of the product coupled with the sincerity of the dealer will make me to stick to any entrepreneur.
Customer relationship is also very important to me because if you get a genuine dealer and mistakenly forget your stuffs in his or her shop or place of market, you are always sure of returning back to meet your forgotten item. For some fraudulent ones, when you discover that the product bought has expired, they will not change it for you, instead, they will be claiming to be on the right. But the one I patronize presently has the mind to change a product for you and will even discuss a trending item with you.
When I find out that you are a cheat and a liar, I will have no business coming to your shop. Most of these sellers are retailers, they have to give you detailed information on those products. Courtesy is also very important, calling you to find out why they have not seen you, asking after your family and health and looking out for you, all count. Sometimes, I even go there and discuss some issues that do not concern the product I am buying.
Veronica Adebayo (Nurse)
Honestly, I don’t like changing hairdressers like that. Last week I needed to make my hair, but since my hairdresser wasn’t in town, I was forced to still carry the old hair I am presently wearing. Previously, when I was using other salons, my hair wasn’t growing. I didn’t have anybody to tell me the reason why it is either breaking or not growing. She had to take me through a hair lecture, probably, I have been retouching too often. It took me a lot of discipline to abide by what she told me, but because I knew she was being honest, I complied and I can tell you that I have no regrets doing so. Today, people commend my hair, it’s all courtesy of her lecture.
I have used her for almost two years now. My former hairdresser wasn’t too courteous with me, I needed somebody I could share a relationship with, somebody who could tell me what and what I wasn’t doing rightly with my hair and also somebody who would give me the right attention whenever I come around to do my hair, all that, I wasn’t getting from my former hairdresser. So, I was forced to change her for this particular one. I needed a place and person I could feel comfortable with, someone who will handle the hair herself and not hand me over to an apprentice.
In fact, there was something she did the last time I did my hair with her that got me completely pissed off. I just called her to tell her that she will never see me in her shop again. I think the customer relationship thing is very important.
There is something people don’t understand, it is one thing to get a customer and another to sustain that customer. That former hairdresser offered me a quality service at first, but her customer relation habit is near zero. I think there is a level of care I expect from whoever is selling a product or service to me, if I don’t get to see that, I will leave. I don’t mind how far I have to travel to get what I want.
Source : Independent