To a business owner, the most important aspect of his business is his customer. Without the customer, there would be no market and of course without market there would be no business. Depending on the nature of business, customer for the purpose of this expose could be referring to client or patrons. Thus,excellent customer relationships are crucial to the survival of a business.
Customer relationships are maintained through strategies that business owners use to manage customer interactions and ensure continuity of patronage. The aim of maintaining a good customer relationship is to improve business relationships with customers, assist in customer retention and ultimately enhance sales.
Ten tips that will help effect excellent customer relationships are
Some business owners simply have that face that makes you feel like you can’t approach them. I’ve heard customers complain that they don’t like shopping somewhere because the owner wasn’t friendly. Make yourself approachable by at least wearing a smile. Don’t allow negativity slip into your expressions. always wear a kind smile and use a soft tone even when talking to your employees (you don’t know who could be watching or listening).
Develop a sort of rapport with your customers even when it is your first time meeting them; engage them. Learn to be patronizing without being obvious about it. Indulge them if that’s what they need.
Know your customer
The first thing you should realize is that no two customers are the same. Every individual has different attributes and should be treated differently. I don’t mean offering special treatment to one and not the other, no. you just need to make everyone feel like they are getting special treatment.
Customers are always right
This is the oldest rule in the book. At the point of conflict, it doesn’t feel like ‘customers are always right’. It has to be the hardest rule to keep if there ever was one. No matter what happens, give your customers the benefit of the doubt. Hear them out and keep your temper under ‘lock and key’. This is key to having excellent customer relationships.
Be a great listener
Sometimes the customer that walks into your premises is simply looking for a place to vent or a listening ear. Listen without interruptions. Give a wise input when you can but make them feel better not worse.
Know your customers needs
Find out what your customers need that are not available at the moment and make them available. improve your products to further benefit your customers
Offer promotions from time to time
It is no secret that Nigerians like ‘awoof’ even the most distinguished one of them. From time to time, offer promos that will excite your customers and inspire them to buy more.
Coach your employees
The most common cause of breech in customer relationship often stems from a rude employee. In as much as you are developing a good relationship with your customers, ensure that your employees are doing the same. Coach your employees to be humble and polite.
A lot of business owners are simply unreachable. They come into work once in a while to check up on business. Try to make out time and be available for your customers. Make your customer and his needs your priority in business.
Stay in touch
Most relationships die because those involved failed to stay in touch with each other. Get in contact with your customers through phone calls, emails, or via social media. Customers are happier when they feel like you care about them.
A happy customer makes for a successful business and a happy business owner. Go out of your way to keep your customers and enjoy a blissful business environment and bigger income.
Nigeria’s leading health tech innovators and their founders
If there is one thing the recent pandemic has achieved, it has drawn attention to the deficits in the Nigerian healthcare sector.
If there is one thing the recent pandemic has revealed, it’s that Nigeria’s healthcare sector is in dire need of an intervention. The healthcare sector’s challenges and opportunities are well documented. However, it has been largely ignored by the government, despite its significance to economic growth and wealth creation.
The recent coronavirus pandemic has brought this matter to the fore, with government scrambling to curtail an escalating situation. There are challenges with logistics, technology, hospitals, and quarantine centers, finding enough healthcare workers, and more importantly, carrying out testing at a scale. The shortcomings of the government are laid bare for all to see.
Conversely, there have been several private-sector innovators, albeit on a small scale, doing their bit to solve the myriad of challenges facing the industry. These are young and energetic disruptive innovators leveraging on technology to improve healthcare delivery in the country.
On this week’s Founders Profile, we profile some of these young innovators and entrepreneurs who are disrupting the health care sector in Nigeria. Despite being upstarts, they are perhaps laying the foundation for what a vibrant private sector driven health care sector should be. All that is required is adequate funding and government support via market-friendly policies.
Michael Osahon- Founder, Meditell
If you are the kind of person who forgets to take medications when due, then Meditell is for you.
Meditell is a robust, user-friendly platform which schedules reminders for patients and their caregivers, to ensure adherence to medication schedules. By using mobile phones. ‘Meditext’ and ‘Medicall’ set reminders for drug administration.
Straight out of NYSC, where he served as a secondary school teacher in Ijebu-Ode, Michael Osahon founded Meditell. He is a computer science graduate from Covenant University. Besides Meditell, Osahon has employed his product development skills to develop business applications for Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers and GTBank.
Among other things, he is a Senior Software Engineer with Ernst and Young.
Vivian Nwakah- Founder/CEO, Medsaf
Many people have died from consuming fake or substandard drugs. But how do medical institutions decipher the right sources for quality medications at fair prices?
Medsaf aims to give hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies access to high-quality medication from manufacturers at affordable costs, thereby reducing incidences of complications arising from fake or substandard drugs administered to patients. It is supposed to serve as a one-stop-shop for safe medications in Africa, helping health facilities to buy authentic drugs with ease.
At that point, Vivian decided that a solution was needed. There had to be a way to ensure that health facilities managed their supplied inventories and purchased products from reputable global sources and production companies.
CEO and founder of Medsaf, Vivian Nwakah, was born and raised in the United States of America, though she schooled in other countries including Paris and China. She once recounted how she conceived the idea of Medsaf after losing her friend to fake medications during a 3-month internship in Nigeria.
“It was a moment of great sadness but I was also filled with shame. I was coming from the U.S where I was born and raised, and I had worked in healthcare agencies. There, it was about keeping elderly patients, even in their 80s and 90s alive with quality healthcare, but here, someone my age had died due to fake malaria pill,” she recalled.
Oddly, from her research, she got to understand that global manufacturers were afraid of sending their products to Nigeria because they did not want their brands compromised by counterfeits. This reluctance on their part gave counterfeit producers a lot of room to operate.
Vivian stayed back after her internship, determined to solve this problem. She quit her job in 2016 and pooled her savings. In January 2017, Medsaf was launched.
Medsaf stands as a middleman, verifying producers and manufacturers before listing their medications, and also verifying health facilities before allowing them to make any purchase. This ensures protection from both ends, leaving the end consumer better for it.
Olaniyi Ralph- Founder GenRx
Olaniyi Ralph was still a 400 level pharmacy student at the Obafemi Awolowo University in 2014 when he had an epiphany. Having learned the devastating results of wrong drug combinations, interactions, and consumption of expired drugs, he designed an app, GenRx, which had the ability to detect and alert pharmacy owners about drugs nearing their expiration dates, drugs about to be sold in overdose, and wrong drug combinations.
He went on to co-found AGC Nigeria which became the platform to launch GenRx – a POS application designed to help pharmacies and hospitals manage their drug inventories and accounts.
This all-in-one software thus improves efficiency in sales processing and safety in dispensing medications. It also automatically calculates customers’ payments and balances, keeps daily records of items sold, salespersons on duty, and manages product reorders, ensuring that they do not run out of stock.
Over time, it has been improved to manage salaries and expenditures, and generate profit and loss statements of accounts. It now possesses an in-built calculator with three memory banks that can be used during on-going transactions. It can be configured to suit any pharmacy’s needs.
Temie Giwa-Tubosun, Founder of Lifebank
LifeBank was started in May 2012 as One Percent Project or One Percent Blood Donation Enlightenment Foundation. The target was to end blood shortage in Nigeria by enlightening people on the importance to overcome their fears, prejudices, and myths, and donate blood for anyone in need.
In 2016, it became Lifebank, a business set up to improve access to blood transfusions in Nigeria. A personal experience during her first child-birth drove her to build this dream, so that people would no longer have to suffer complications from delayed blood donations.
Since then, Lifebank has helped deliver hundreds of thousand of pints of blood to patients in Nigeria, and has now extended to other medical products like oxygen, vaccines, and blood products.
Tubosun is a graduate fellow from the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, and also a fellow with the Global Health Corps.
She had carried out millennium village projects in rural areas in Africa, under the United Nations Development Programme and Millennium Promise, and also worked briefly with Fairview Health Services in Minnesota, after graduating from Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey.
Adeloye Olanrewaju- Founder of Safermom & Babymigo
Adeloye has a Bachelor’s degree in Human physiology from the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology. He was observing the one-year compulsory national service in 2015 at the Ekiti State Primary Healthcare Board when he noticed a problem he had first seen during his internship.
“I realized mothers and babies weren’t getting the psychological, social, and mental support they needed. Nigeria presently contributes 13-15% of global maternal and child deaths yearly. Out of the 7.2 million birth rates recorded yearly (Unicef 2014 Estimate), we lose 260,000 newborns annually. Unfortunately, most cases are preventable when there’s increased access to basic health services,” he later explained.
Safermom was developed as a mobile service for pregnant and nursing mothers of 0-3-year old babies, to access health information and make informed health decisions. This is achieved through voice calls, mobile SMS, helplines, and a mobile app. It also helps mothers track milestones in pregnancy and nursing, including vaccination dates, and shares prevention tips, and home remedies. Mothers can also dial a short code to access vital health information, government schemes, and important announcements in their local languages, and request tricycles or ambulances.
This innovation earned Adeloye an award from Her Majesty, the Queen of England at Buckingham Palace for his works in improving mother and child health in Sub-Sahara Africa. He’s also a St Gallen Leader of Tomorrow, TEEP fellow, International Action Youth Net fellow, and Leap Africa Social Innovator fellow, among others.
In 2015, SaferMom was listed among the top 6 startups in Africa, scooping $50,000 USD in the Impact category of Facebook’s Internet.org competition.
Two years after, Adeloye launched Babymigo, a community for the new generation of young parents to find trusted information in local African contexts, get their questions answered, and connect with nearby moms and experts.
(READ MORE: Tech Roundup S02E16)
Adereti Francis- Founder Redbank
In a country where countless lives have been lost due to the non-availability of blood, the importance of Redbank can hardly be exaggerated.
Adereti Francis (Business Lead and developer) founded Redbank, a startup that connects hospitals and patients to the nearest blood banks, in 2014. He had support from co-founders, Adeyanju Toluwanimi (Operations Lead), and Ojediran Tunde (Technical Lead). The goal, they said, was to save more lives by helping Nigerians find blood fast and safely.
Francis Adereti got his first degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from Obafemi Awolowo University and later obtained an MBA from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. His work experience cuts across Huawei Technologies, iQube labs, and Microsoft, among others.
This varied experience geared him towards product innovation, product management, business operations, and strategy, all of which came in handy when Redbank was founded.
Redbank has a network of blood banks and hospitals on its radar, helping patients and their families to find the needed blood types closest to their locations, within a short time. Compared to the traditional way of calling several blood banks to find a match, this is a great leap, which has saved the lives of people in emergencies such as accidents, surgeries, and childbirth.
To ensure that all levels of Nigerians are catered to, they have phone lines and SMS services so that people who do not have access to the internet can still reach them.
Talk about a problem that solves it all!
Redbank also harmonised the databases of hospitals and health clinics, especially those whose records are still in the ‘paper era.’
The target is to build a donor database so that proper records can prevent people from donating when they are not eligible to make donations, and save their lives with these ‘electronic reminders.’ It also has outreaches on several media to recruit more donors and ensure an adequate supply of all blood groups.
Charles Onu- Founder, Ubenwa
If you were told that a baby’s cries could communicate as clearly as words, your first reaction might have been, “Impossible!” but not anymore.
Ubenwa, literally translated, means baby’s cry in Igbo language. It is an application that captures a baby’s cry, translates it and makes a prognosis on what the problem could be. The result could be as simple as hunger, sleep, pain, or an early symptom of a life-long disability such as cerebral palsy, deafness, and paralysis. Even birth asphyxia, which is the third-highest cause of infant mortality, can be detected early enough to prevent any damage to the child’s brain or infant death.
Ultimately, the aim is to provide optimal care for babies and address early health challenges within the first two years of a child’s life. But how accurate can this be?
According to Onu, the Artificial Intelligence solution app has achieved over 95% prediction accuracy in trials with nearly 1,400 pre-recorded baby cries.
This innovation has won several awards, including the WHO Top 30 Africa Health Innovators in March 2019.
Charles has a Bachelor’s degree in Electronic and Computer Engineering, and MSc and Ph.D. in Computer Science – Machine Learning from McGill University. He is a fellow of the Jeanne Sauvé Foundation.
(READ MORE: TechRoundUp Season 2 Episode 15)
Ola Orekunrin Brown- Founder, Flying Doctors Nigeria
Ola Orekunrin, is a medical doctor and helicopter pilot. She started the Flying Doctors Nigeria (FDN) as a young 21-year-old graduate.
Just like Nwakah’s Medsafe, FDN was spurred by personal experience, when Ola lost her younger sister due to a delay in finding an air ambulance service in Nigeria. Similarly, Ola was born and bred out of the shores of Nigeria, in the United Kindom to be precise, though she occasionally visited relatives in the country.
FDN is a medical emergency service that specialises in making air ambulance services, medico-logistics services, remote site medical solutions services, medical infrastructural development, and medical training services available in critical areas of need.
Flying Doctors is the first ambulance company in West Africa and boasts of 20 charter aircraft in good condition, with services that are cheaper than ground ambulance services.
Ola has, since then, taken certificate courses in Accounting and Economics at IESE and the University of Michigan respectively, to help her better manage the FDN. She has also obtained an MSc in Finance and Economic Policy.
Hote: Are there any notable names we may have missed? Kindly send an email to the author or to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also feel free to drop a comment.
If you experience these signs then know your salary is not enough
Some times, having a job simply isn’t enough. Find out subtle signs to know you are not earning enough.
Some times, having a job simply isn’t enough. Because a lot of people strive really hard while hunting for jobs, they immediately settle for whatever placement that opens and salary compensation they’re paid. Of course, you cannot because of earning less (under-employment) quit your current job; you just need to consider adding “something extra” as monthly support stream of income.
As a matter of fact, a long list of rich folks did not rely on salaries alone. They probably had tons of investment or “side hustle” you didn’t know about. If you experience these signs then know your salary is not enough;
This does not apply for chronic debtors (people who can’t be bothered to pay off their debts). If you find out that your debts keep piling up, you may not be making as much as you thought you were. You have bills piling up here and there to the point that you start choosing which bills to pay with the current paycheck and which to put off for next month’s pay.
[ALSO READ: How To Run A Successful Virtual Startup Office]
Don’t earn enough to save
With your paycheck, you should be able to pay your bills, live a moderate yet satisfying lifestyle and still have enough left for savings. Ideally, you ought to save first and spend later. A lot of people don’t save because their salary is barely enough to meet their needs. If you fall into this category of people, you’re not making enough money.
You’re always behind on payments
There are bills that should be paid on a monthly or annual basis. They are not springing up on you, you’ve been aware you would have to pay yet when they are due, you’re unable to meet up. Bills like these include; rent, school fees (for kids if you have any), electricity bills, cable subscriptions and others. If you’re consistently behind on paying your bills, you aren’t making enough.
[ALSO READ: How To Quit Your Job With Class [Free Guide]
Always cutting budget
Every month, you need to cut something off some expenses in order to meet up with other things on your budget. In doing this, you’ve to cut humbly so much that there’s nothing left to cut. Evidently, this is a clear sign that you’re not earning enough just yet.
Emergencies scare you
You are always worried that something would come up and you wouldn’t be able to handle it. The case is worse when you don’t have any savings and are solely dependent on your next paycheck. If you’re not making enough to have provisions for emergencies, you clearly aren’t making enough.
There are several remedies to not earning enough. We mustn’t fail, however, to mention that some people who experience the above mentioned scenarios are solely responsible for their situation due to their extravagant lifestyle and mismanagement of funds which might simply be solved by making adjustments to their lifestyle and their spending habits.
[ALSO READ: How To Quit Your Job With Class [Free Guide]
If, however, you do not belong to the class of reckless spenders and find yourself in a tight financial corner; you might consider getting a part time job or starting a side hustle to increase your net income.
Why your savings are not growing
Why your savings are not growing
#Savings #Growth #Investing #Business
You’ve been saving money for quite a while now yet each time you check your account balance nothing seems to be happening. Growth seems so far out of reach it seems like you’ll be stuck in your present financial situation. Why could that be?
You’re dipping into your savings
All those times you dipped into your savings are probably catching up with you. There might have been some financial constraint that warranted extra cash and without hesitation you dipped into your savings account. This is a major problem with people who have neither budget nor emergency fund.
You’re not saving enough
In a case where you spend first then save later: what’s left over for savings might actually be too poor for savings. The ideal situation is to save first and spend later
[Read Also: The 3 disciplines for wealth building]
You’re stuck on the same amount
Yes we’ve advised you severally to set aside a stipulated amount for savings but no one says you should remain at that spot even when your income has increased. Learn to increase the amount you save from time to time. Remember that you can’t keep doing the same things and expect different results.
You don’t have goals
A lot of people just save because saving is a thing in the business world. They have no actual plan or goals they want to meet. Nothing motivates a person better than vision. If you set yourself goals (short term and long term); you’ll find yourself enthusiastically doing so much more. What are your money goals for February 2020? How much do you need to save every month in order to achieve those goals? See, with such directives, your savings will definitely grow.
You don’t make enough
The problem most times isn’t with the zeal and willingness to save but in the availability of cash. Most people want to save but simply don’t earn enough. If that’s the case, the ball is in your court. You have to figure out a way to earn more; take an extra job, start a side business, take an online gig; either way just ensure that you’re earning enough.
Did you feel like you could relate with any of these? Well it’s time to make some adjustments for your savings to grow.