Last winter, I was in a local store in Thimphu to buy some PS2 games for my son. I was surprised to notice that the shopkeeper did not even have the courtesy to greet us as we entered his shop. He remained as dumb as a statue as we struggled with our son to locate the games of his choice. We finally picked up a few DVDs and requested him to test them for us but he refused to do it saying they don’t do it. I asked him if we could return the games if they do not work, but he said we cannot return them once we have bought them. He handed over the DVDs to us with the note “No Return” written on them. Once we reached home, we realized that one of the DVDs was not working and that it could not be played. The “No Return” policy of the shop did not allow us to return it. The DVDs were not original either. It made me wonder if it was even ethical for them to burn and create such DVDs on their own for sale.
Bhutan is a small economy with limited market. If the business people do not know how to value their customers, I am just wondering how they would be able to survive in the business community. In Bhutan, there are some people who do not know how to do business professionally. They don’t see their customers as the main source of their livelihood. They don’t know how to treat them with respect when they walk into their shop. Most of the shopkeepers always wait for the customers to approach them first and speak to them which actually should be the other way round. In the western countries, every shopping complex will have somebody to always greet you and help you with the shopping. The sales representatives know how to deal with the customers professionally. They are friendly and highly professional. They won’t mind even if you unearth the entire pile of things and walk away empty-handed. They would instead wish you a good day. But in Bhutan, I think this kind of shopkeeper-customer relationship is quite rare.
On 25th July 2017, I was in a legal consultancy firm in Samtse to revise a legal document I had signed with the owner of the land I had bought in Samtse. While the consultant was reading out the new document he had just drafted, I was just quietly seeking some clarification from the owner of the land about the Thram. Annoyed by the distraction, he angrily flung away the paper at us. It shocked all of us in the room. We just made the payment and rushed out of there. As a business person, it was totally unethical on his part to show his anger in the public like that. He has not yet realized that he is surviving only because of his customers.
To be a successful business person, one does not have to travel across the globe to promote the business. If you know how to deal with your customers professionally, each of them can bring new customers to your shop. You do not even have to have everything your customers come looking for. Just a few sweet words and smiles can give them the reason to keep coming back to your shop. But if you fail to please your customers, your business is doomed even if you have everything your customers want. No matter what, the customer satisfaction must be given the highest priority if the business should prosper. In the increasingly competitive global market, one has to adopt as many customer-friendly strategies as possible to sustain a business. The strategies like the ‘No Return policy’ of the shop from where I had bought the PS2 games is really unethical and unfair for the customers. It is important for every business person to know that a professional customer care service is key to the success of any kind of business.