Episode 30 Transcript

welcome to episode 30 of the business in
Morocco podcast this week we're going to
talk about customer service and why it's
so important for every business not only
here in Morocco but around the world but
before we get to that let's have a quick
update Ryan what's going on this week
yeah it's been a good week
it's been productive I got a couple
requests for proposals this past week
which was encouraging so it doesn't mean
you're gonna get the business but it's
the top of the funnel you get people
inquiring asking for proposals if you
know that you're generating leads
you know you're doing something right so
so that was exciting put those together
and now I'm following up and and waiting
from that and also considering how can i
generate more requests for proposal so
I'm on the right track and that's been
good what about you what's new well I
heard back from the owner of the office
I've been seeking and we have an
agreement in principle so now it's just
a matter of drawing up the contract and
agreeing to the terms and then signing
the contract and exchanging the deposit
and first and last month's rent in fact
in order to secure the deal
and get favorable terms I offered to pay
the first year's rent in advance there's
something called a "pas de porte" which is
typical for rentals here in Morocco and
in Europe some places it's essentially a
security deposit it's something that you
put with the owner and they're supposed
to hold it and then once you leave you
essentially sell it to the next renter
this concept is not well known in the
States it's not something I'm
comfortable with so I negotiated instead
just paying the rent one year in
advance so I'm looking forward to
getting started and that lease would
start the first of October and I've got
a lot of good ideas for the office and
how to
generate revenue out of the office I'm
looking forward to working in a space
that will be designed for working and
hopefully be be able to avoid some of
the distractions that you can get in
other places like at home or working in
cafes other than that I also am moving
the ball forward in negotiating the deal
with duty-free and getting those
paintings exported so I found a company
that hopefully can buy the paintings and
then export them to duty-free they have
all of the certifications and the
permits and they've paid all the fees
and they already have a relationship
with duty-free so we'll see how that
works out and it's just a matter of
negotiating the fee the pass-through
fee for the intermediary that's
exciting it sounds like you've made some
big strides this past week on stuff
that's been an ongoing challenge it is
frustrating to keep working on the same
issues day after day and week after week
I like to be able to put things behind
me and get them done in a reasonable
amount of time and start working on other
things it's hard for me to focus on new
things like seeking out new customers or
doing new projects if I have unresolved
issues in other areas yeah I don't know
whether it's certainly not a
physical block but it is a mental block
something I guess I need to to think
about and address because business
development is never-ending
right you're either growing or you're
shrinking you're not staying the same so
you have to keep working on sales all
the time and like we're going to talk
about today you have to keep working on
customer service and your touch
points with your customers all the time
because your customers are going to be
one of your greatest sources of new
customers through referrals and word of
mouth exactly one follow-up to the
discussion we had about the pain point
of getting books for your kids return to
school my wife tried a new strategy this
year where she
dropped off the complete book list for
all our kids at a bookshop in Casa
before the summer so this was kind of
end of June or early July and we didn't
know what was gonna happen but she went
in the end of August and they had
completed the entire list she said it
was incredible she walked into the
bookstore it's a madhouse
like we described people waving dirhams
trying to get attention trying to fight
over the last remaining books and the
customer agent just brought her over
they had the bags ready
she paid and walked out and even was
able to double park it was so fast
so incredible and I had somebody contact
me saying hey this is a great idea I'm
gonna think about doing this
business so I told that listener to
the podcast keep us posted and if you
can make a go of this next summer we
want to interview you and
hear how it went on the podcast that's a
great example of customer service you
drop off your list you come back a
couple months later and everything is
ready for you yeah what a great
word-of-mouth story you're sharing the
experience on the podcast right now I'm
sure that your wife is telling other
people other moms at the school about
this book store yeah this is the
essential experience and the essential
example of customer service yeah they
did what they said they were going to do
they met the expectations of the
customer and now the customer is happy
and is talking about it right and that's
the goal of customer service so
Ryan, in your opinion just to help the
listeners define what customer service is,
what is your definition of customer
service well whenever you do business
you go through with the transaction
you're exchanging usually money for a
product or a service a company is
providing you with that and you want to
walk away feeling like it was a positive
experience and you got good value you
want to walk away looking on
with positive emotions when you walk
away frustrated or upset or disappointed
or feeling impatient you walk away with
negative emotions and it changes your
perception of the value you received for
the the dirhams that you spent and so
I think if you're providing good
customer service you're delivering great
value and leaving people with
positive emotions from their interaction
with you and that builds loyalty and
that builds a long-term relationship it
means I'm a lot more likely to return
and do another transaction with that
company and so it changes my
transactional relationship with them to
a relational one where now I have
loyalty where now I have trust with them
and I might even become an advocate a
word-of-mouth evangelist for their
business Ya, even at the basic level
customer service starts with every
interaction that you or your company has
with a customer or a client and that
could be in the form of a phone call a
text message an email an in-person
interaction at a store, an experience
on a website all of these things have
some sort of impact in terms of customer
service customer service can also be
defined as helping the customer have the
best experience possible with their
purchase of your product or service so
customer service involves pre-purchase
the actual purchase process and then
post purchase support mm-hmm if for
example you buy a car and it has a three
year warranty or a five year warranty
and something goes wrong the whole
experience of the customer from the
moment they tell you that something's
wrong to the moment that's fixed all of
that can be defined as customer service
whether it's the experience of sitting
in the waiting room waiting for your car
to be fixed is there free coffee do I
have to pay for it is it air conditioned
are the seats comfortable all of this is
a form of customer
service and all of it defines your brand
yeah and so many businesses these days
are becoming commoditized meaning that
there's incredible amounts of
competition especially for actual
products or services that are copied by
other companies that they had the same
essential features and the same
essential price points and they're all
just competing against each
other and the margins are going down to
what separates companies now
increasingly now and in the future is brand and brand loyalty how the customer
feels about you as a brand and customer
service plays a huge part in that yeah
yeah Seth Godin talks about this a lot
there's so many industries where it's a
race to the bottom right they because
their products are so essentially
similar to their competitors they can
only differentiate themselves on price
and so it's a race to the bottom they
keep undercutting one another trying to
find cheaper ingredients cheaper
suppliers cheaper ways of providing the
materials to build this product or
they're outsourcing their services to
cheaper countries even though it's
compromising that customer service
whereas if a company can do something
that is remarkable if they can
distinguish themselves he talks about
this in his book Purple Cow the metaphor
being that a purple cow is something
that's remarkable it's something that
you talk about because it's different
it's unique so many industries if you
provided excellent customer service
if you exceeded the customers
expectations people would talk about it
they would find it remarkable they would
find it worth remarking about especially
in a saturated market you know if I
don't like your hanout, I can just
walk a hundred meters in another
direction and find another one so how do
you distinguish yourself they sell the
same products I can buy milk and hobs and eggs and chocolate at any one
of the hanoutes, but if one of them has somebody positive behind the
counter that's very kind and polite and
offers quick service and builds a
relationship with me I'll walk to that
one every time even though there's three
others I could walk to in my
neighborhood and that builds customer
loyalty that's a great way to
distinguish yourself building customer
loyalty through brand and customer
service is essential and word-of-mouth
advertising these things that are
remarkable that you talk about it is
still the strongest form of marketing
not just here in Morocco but around
the world and I remember reading a
survey in the United States of customers
and they were surveying people
who went to see movies and they were
asking them about the movies that they
went to see and whether they liked them
or not and they realized that a
customer who didn't like a movie was
five times more likely to tell people
about it than a movie that they did like
wow so negative word-of-mouth can be
very powerful as well right people like
to complain people like to help other
people avoid bad situations yeah so if
they have an absolutely terrible
customer service experience they want to
tell their friends so that they don't
have the same problem right one anecdote
that I have is about an airline that
services Morocco and several other
countries I won't say which one, it's
not really important I've been on them
all Arabia,
Air France Emirates Qatar Royal Air
Maroc I've been on them all but the
anecdote was that the service was slow
on the flight the bags didn't come
out for like an hour, or more than an
hour after the flight landed this my
friend had to ring the service Bell
several times in order to get a beverage
finally he went to the back of the plane
and said can I have a coke and do you
know what the the response from the
flight attendant was no you shouldn't
drink coke it's bad for you how about
some water okay no that's great that may
be true but guess what that's not your
role right
your role is not to give health advice
to your passengers it's to actually meet
their needs and make them have a
comfortable flight yeah who knows maybe
he had an upset stomach and he needed
some some carbonation in order to settle
them down right it's not your role to
tell the customer what they want
especially during a flight it's to be
attentive and to meet needs yeah and he
told me about this anecdote and quite
honestly it makes me not want to use
this airline to think that I have to beg
for service right and I have to wait for
bags and there's all these other you
know fees that they charge you for
various things it's bad service yeah and
that word gets around do you have any
other examples of bad service you gave
us an example of great service at this
bookstore, what about bad service? yeah I think we see this among a lot of the
telecommunication operators here in
Morocco they're spending millions of
dollars like billions of dirhams on
their marketing just blanketing every
city in Morocco with billboards with
radio ads with sponsored videos on
social media they're clearly pouring all
their money into marketing competing
with one another and yet when you
actually go into their physical
locations the customer service is
horrible so a company like I deal with
Maroc telecom but I would switch in a
heartbeat if the opportunity presented
itself because their customer service is
terrible and I've dealt with them from
internet and then also with phone and
whenever I need to go in or I need to
call and I've been to multiple locations
it's a horrible experience
I never enjoy it when I'm there
physically I leave feeling like I've
inconvenienced them like I've
interrupted their time surfing social
media like my presence is a
frustration to them rather than feeling
like this is why they're in the building
that their job is there to
serve me as the customer I'm the client
I'm the one who's using my dirhams to
in a way indirectly fund their salary
but it never feels like that and so I
would love some of those major companies
to shift their focus on properly caring
for their customers and then they could
see that powerful marketing take place
through word-of-mouth it would be
something that would be remarkable and
then they wouldn't have to spend so much
money on Billboard's around the
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now back to the show oh well it's
interesting that you bring that up
because I spent over an hour yesterday
at orange I've been seeking
alternative internet solutions for
myself and I know I have some needs for
my office coming up so I've been doing
some research I went to an Orange store
after meeting with a client yesterday
and the one that I went to they
basically told me yeah we don't sell
actual products here and you cannot
unsubscribe from the current service you
have at this location so that annoyed me
because there's nothing online there's
nothing on Google Maps that says this
location has these services and this
location has these services yeah no
maybe if I really dug deep into their
website I would be able to figure that
out but it wasn't easy for me to figure
out yeah so I went to the location that
provides these services and it was
packed there was a really long waiting
line there was a guy very nice
receptionist who was taking the names of
everybody in line and writing them down
on a piece of paper and then calling out
the next person they had three customer
service agents that were dealing with
new customers and new service and then
they had a different line for people
paying bills and doing other things with
the existing accounts that's positive
yeah they had chairs for people to sit
in it was fairly comfortable I probably
waited in line 25 minutes maybe 30 but
once I did get to the customer service
rep it was an overall it was a good
experience okay he was informed he was
kind and patient some of the things
about the process were not set up for
him to be successful for
example everyone in the office was
sharing the same printer so he probably
had to walk over to the printer and back
four or five times to do the things that
I needed yeah which is a waste of time
yeah the other problem it could be a
cultural problem but they have the
tables in the main area where everyone's
waiting so if I'm working with a
customer service agent anyone can just
walk up to the table and completely
interrupt us which happened five times
while I was in the middle of doing my
business yeah
so if Orange wants to improve the
customer service situation they need to
separate yeah the people in line
physically through barriers from the
people who are actually being serviced
so there aren't these constant
interruptions by people who think that
they don't have to wait in line right
so that was an annoying part of the
experience but I did get what I wanted I
got a very good deal on internet service
and a phone number at a good price
and I took it home and I plugged it and
played it and it's ready to be installed
in my office when I want to do that
unfortunately where I live they don't
have fiber-optic laid yet and it's not
but it is available where my office is
going to be that's great
overall it was a good experience and
I would recommend them they are trying
to improve their customer service
however they may be going too far
for example I'm wanting to get rid of
one of my old lines and replace it with
this new one but I couldn't do that just
in the store I had to call around after
and say yeah I'm getting rid of this
line I had to confirm it with them
over the phone at which point they tried
to sell me on not getting rid of it
which was annoying right because I had
already decided to get rid of it and I
told him I'm getting a different service
from you right so don't make me make
another phone call yeah and then after
that they just kept calling me and
calling and calling me to get my
feedback on how my call with them went
hmm which is good they're trying to
improve yeah but it's sort of annoying
it's not actually a great customer
experience to have to call you to cancel
my phone number after visiting your
store to cancel my phone number right
and then you call me again to ask me how
my experience was cancelling my phone
number right so they need to it sounds
like they've got some good customer
service training they need to work on
their processes you know something
like a printer at every single agents
I mean printers are so cheap and it's
not like they're saving on ink if the
guy's still got to go and print stuff it
would just really streamline the process
because your time is really valuable
it's not just the dirhams that you're
spending it's also your time and
companies that can try to limit
customers expenditure of their time will
be received more positively one company
I've been impressed with is Lydec and it does
take some time to go there and pay a
bill in person but every time I've been
there though the waiting room is full
they have about 20 cashiers working it's
amazing and they've got all these ones
and they're always manned and when
somebody leaves and moves on
somebody else sits right down and starts
taking a number and they're very
efficient and even as you're finishing
up the last moment of your transaction
they're already bringing the next person
so they're standing right behind you
ready to go I've been really impressed
with that plus they're pushing people
towards their banking applications so I
don't even go into Lydec anymore I
just pay it on my my banking app which
is going to even further reduce those
wait times so that's been a really
positive experience now in contrast to
that at a company like H&M in the mall
that store will often have one cashier
working and about ten other employees in
the shop folding clothes rearranging
displays doing whatever they're doing
and there'll be a lineup of eight to ten
people you know my wife told me that she
has been there ready to purchase
something just one or two items she's
walked to the front looked at the line
and said forget it it's not worth me
waiting 25 minutes to buy these one or
two items and even though they had all
these people in the shop they weren't
working at the cash register and so if a
company can reduce the wait times it
helps increase the feeling of of being
served well as a customer
yeah and that's a great example of
terrible customer service that actually
hurts the bottom line you want to make
it as easy as possible for someone to
buy something yeah we all know that a
lot of retail purchases especially
clothing and other purchases that are
not essentials they're emotional a huge
part of the decision is the emotions at
the moment I'm inspired to buy this but
that inspiration can be killed like it
was for your wife who walked up and was
like Oh am I actually inspired to buy
this well not enough to wait in line
for eight people right so they lost a
sale yeah another issue and we've talked
about this in the past as much as I like
Jumia, I have actually gotten to the
point where I'm not motivated to buy
from them because I know that the
delivery process is going to be a hassle
I may know what day it's gonna be
delivered but I don't know what time and
there's no way to coordinate the time
and often if even if I get a call from
the driver they don't speak English and
they don't have a smart phone and they
can't find my house and just literally
the process of talking with a driver
four or five times trying to direct them
to my house that makes me not want to
order right I don't know how many times
I've been standing on my street in my
socks trying to catch a moped driving
past my street so that they can come and
deliver a product whether it's food or
something I've ordered it's incredibly
frustrating in a world where we have
smartphones and we can send a pin and
geo locate our exact spot it's just
completely unnecessary I worked with a
delivery company and our main customer
was Amazon in the United States and one
of the essential elements the Amazon
experience is that I buy something and I
don't think about it again I just know
that it's gonna show up at the house and
if for some reason it doesn't show up I
call Amazon I tell them it didn't show up
and they send another one and if Jumia
is going to be successful in Morocco
they have got to conquer this delivery
process they need the customer to think
when I order this it's going to show up
and I don't have to worry about it the
drivers gonna find my house it won't be
a problem and if that means they need to
change the checkout process to include
putting a pin on Google Maps then
they need to do that right because as
normal as it may be to call someone when
you're making a delivery it's a bad
experience right it's inefficient
it slows the driver down he can't do as
many packages per day and it's a bad
experience for the customer and there's
huge language barriers as we've
discussed now you and I are a huge
minority in this country where English
is our primary language but there's
often a big gap between people's French
and the delivery people's Darija. there's
a lot of Moroccans in these big cities
that they speak French primarily as
their native language and their
Darija may be a little rusty and
then you've got the drivers who their
French is quite rusty and so there's a
language barrier there which can be
completely solved with technology and so
the company who can master that is
going to have a huge advantage it's
going to earn customer loyalty now we've
been talking a lot about corporate you
know airline industry, telecommunications
retail but this is a message just for
small business owners you may not need
to develop a huge system or have to
worry a lot about customer wait times
when you're a small business but one way
to really serve the customer is to go
the extra mile if you don't just meet
the customers expectations but you
exceed them it creates that loyalty it
creates that wow that awe, that gets
people talking that can spread that word
of mouth marketing at our local Marche
we've got multiple options when you walk
in there to buy fruit or to buy
vegetables you can choose from five
different guys and they all want your
business they really want my wife's
business because she's an incredible
customer spends a lot of dirhams on
produce we eat a lot of fruit and veg so
they're all competing to win her
attention and there's one guy that's
earned our loyalty and it's Siddiq and
it's not just because he offers good
service it's because he goes the extra
mile he goes above and beyond and one of
the ways he does that is he's always
rounding down so I'm buying kilos and
kilos of all different things and he's
adding it up with his calculator he
always rounds down he's always willing
to leave a few dirhams in my pocket
which it's a very very
small gesture but he's following our
advice from a previous episode he's
thinking long-term he's not thinking
about just this one transaction he's
thinking about the lifetime value of me
and my family as customers and then he's
always asking about my family asking
about my kids and whether they're with
me or not
I cannot leave there without something
for them that's free he's just grabbing
some bananas he's filling up a bag of
oranges he's giving me some grapes pour
les enfants, pour les enfants. he's
just giving them to me for my kids that
earns my favor one time he came to my
house with a cart that he had and helped
me move a washing machine to a different
apartment I was moving to and he
volunteered for that I didn't ask him
but we were just talking about what was
going on and that I was moving and he
said do I need any help I said well I
just need do you know where I can get a
cart you know something and he came and
did it with me I've got a picture of the
two of us walking down the street doing
that so he went the extra mile in no way
was that a part of the transaction of I
buy these vegetables I give you these
dirhams you give me this fruit it was
above and beyond and it earned my
loyalty customer service may be even
more important for small businesses than
it is for big ones hmm
airlines Telecom the big supermarkets a
lot of times they don't really even have
competition I mean they have a certain
market share and they have something
that you know the small guy the small
business can't compete with but you talk
about a doctor or a hanout or a dry
cleaner or a restaurant or a cafe all of
these people and these businesses are
really just competing on customer
service how they make the customer feel
when they walk out of the
establishment when they walk out of the
office or the store how do they feel if
you can focus on that you have a good
chance at having a long-term sustainable
business but if you cut corners and you
think about yourself over the customer
experience then you're gonna have a hard
time sustaining your
business yeah you don't want to focus on
a single transaction you want to focus
on a relationship how do I build a
relationship with this person how do I
see this as leading to long-term loyalty
yes I might lose a few dirhams here
where I could have gained a few but in
the long run I'll benefit far more and
for me this is going to be the most
important question for this exporter
when we sit down and have a negotiation
are they going to think about the long
term are they going to incentivize me to
put all of my products through them or
are they going to want to squeeze as
much out of the first deal as possible
and motivate me to find another solution
yeah if they make it a no-brainer I am
happy to send all of my product through
them for the future I don't have to set
up a company that exports I don't have
to create all these accounts and deal
with all this stuff they can take their
little portion of the revenue as long as
it's reasonable and we can build a
relationship they can profit from for
years to come mm-hmm
we'll see I'll let you know next week
you've been listening to the business
in Morocco podcast my name is Ryan Kirk
here with my co-host Ryan Maimone. if you enjoyed this episode be sure to
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we hope you'll have a lovely day doing business in Morocco, we'll see you next time

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