Maintaining consistent customer confidentiality
Published On January 24, 2018 » 4474 Views» By Evans Musenya Manda » Business, Columns
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CUSTOMER service is becoming an art and “battle of the emotionally intelligent”.
Indeed, every company creates unique offerings that are meant to “alleviate the customer’s pain”.
However, experience shows that as businesses grow and succeed, a number of them lose their initial focus and awareness on the value of the customer in their businesses.
Essentially, such a situation gives rise to conflicts between the business and the customer!
Remarkably, every customer values their privacy and, therefore, envisages that the business will keep what it knows about them, absolutely secret!
Imagine, in particular instances, certain company offerings may be embarrassing to some clients, for anyone else to know that they use them!
Therefore, in such cases, customers would never endeavour to have anyone know they consume certain products and services.
In all the instances, customers value their social status, dignity and would not take any exception to have businesses mention a customer’s private life to anybody.
In the previous year, there have been a number of notable – high profile incidences that call for the business- customer care fraternity to sit up and take notice.
June Kenton, founder of Rigby & Peller, a United Kingdom (UK) based luxury underwear firm, had the firm’s royal warrant withdrawn.
This was after having successfully ‘dressed’ the queen for almost 60 years!
In March last year, Mrs Kenton published her autobiography in which she gave explicit details of her “business interactions” in the royal palace.
Mrs Kenton is reported to have been notified by the royal palace around June 2017 that the palace was displeased with the contents of the book and further indicated they would revoke the long standing royal warrant!
I have have read this interesting and hair-raising autobiography!
Mrs Kenton has gone to depth, to describe a number of her visits, the state of the royal palace, and various incidents including moments when the queen would be half-dressed, in the presence of her corgis.
Many readers would ask, was Mrs Kenton being sensitive to her customer’s emotional needs, or was she blinded by her ego and huge success over the years?
In any case, that’s the trap which every company faces!
Essentially, a royal warrant, or endorsement in the UK, is granted by the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, and the Prince of Wales; to named businesses for providing specified offerings.
This warrant entitles such recipients permission and responsibility to display the warrant symbol on the business.
Imagine Mrs Kenton, of Jewish decent, built and transformed her business from selling on market stands into a globally renowned brand to fit the monarchy and  celebrity’s including Kim Kardashian, and Joan Collins!
That’s not a mean achievement!
In a number of instances, she has made undesirable descriptive and comparative remarks of the state of the palace buildings during her visits.
Imagine a company describing intimate private details of their staff’s visit to your residence!
In response to the royal palace’s reaction, Mrs Kenton has been reported to be heartbroken and seemingly disappointed!
What a reaction and counter reaction!
In essence, Mrs Kenton’s sentiments imply that she saw no need of the royal palace to take offence!
This provides the world yet another test case on who reigns supreme in the business world, whenever there’s a business-versus-customer conflict.
Is it Mrs Kenton who, in this case is epitomising the corporate business world, or the queen who is coincidentally epitomising the customer?
Of course, it’s not a question of the queen’s public standing in life.
Every customer has the same – superior position regardless of who they are, poor or rich, public figure or ordinary citizen.
It appears, there are still a number of businesses that are yet to master the guises of this lesson.
Just last April, United Airlines fell prey to this trap.
This was the infamous occasion when the airline’s passenger, Dr Dao was dragged off the plane, to make room for the airline’s chief executive officer Oscar Munoz?
Companies must always bear in mind that no matter how successful they become, no matter the situation, a customer has a peculiar position in business, and, therefore, reigns supreme!
Indeed, every business faces a stern test as it thrives and succeeds.
In a number of instances, companies become insensitive to share or expose information relating to a customer’s welfare, causing grave consequences on the company, its revenue and brand image.
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The author is the Managing Consultant at GN Grant Business Consultant, a Chartered Certified Accountant (ACCA), a Master of Business Administration (MBA) holder and a candidate for the Herriot Watt University (Scotland) Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)

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