Don’t settle for second best anymore

Mishal Kanoo argues that customers should start taking action against bad services and bad deals.

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By  Mishal Kanoo Published  May 28, 2006

|~||~||~|Mishal Kanoo argues that customers should start taking action against bad services and bad deals. Today I am going to challenge you. No! I refuse to let you off with an article that merely intrigues you, but rather I hope to stir enough grey cells in your brain to make you think and hopefully get up and do something about the issue I will touch upon. Now that I have your attention, let’s start with the simple things that happen around us that affect the economy, our businesses and our finance daily but we never seem to trouble ourselves into doing anything about them. SERVICES Most companies in the Gulf are service companies. Whether they are a retail business, a café or even a law firm, they are all here to provide a service. Yet why is it that consumers have nearly no rights whatsoever once a transaction has happened? Today I ask you to do a few things when you feel that you have not gotten the service that you have paid for: 1. Make a commotion at the store. Make it loud so that everybody around you knows that the service was not provided to your satisfaction. 2. Tell all your friends and anybody who intends to use their service that you were not satisfied by them and why. 3. Write a complaint to the store or place that did not fulfill their obligation to you, detailing exactly what was done wrong. Add to this what you expected to get and how they fell short of it. Also ask what they are expected to do to get your business back. I must warn you that if you use this methodology and the store management disregards your letter or writes back a cold or nasty letter, that you should never go back to them again. If you do, you will justify to the management that their decision to disregard you was correct. By the way, “No!” means no. Period. Full stop. 4. Vote with your money and don’t use their services again. As I explained above, boycott the infringing place physically and financially by denying them their lifeblood—cashflow. Please note: These actions should only be done to establishments and places that have done you harm and not just because you feel like it. Remember what goes around, comes around. The object of this exercise is to make the owners and/ or management know that they did not do their job satisfactorily and not to be malicious. PRICES Have you seen some of the prices that some stores make you pay? In some countries this is called theft. I can understand profit margins within a reasonable range depending on the business and on the cost it takes to store the item but some people don’t care what their customers think. This is the case because customers believe that they can’t do something about it. This is the wrong attitude to take. Remember, as a customer, you are king. Some might say that places have a sole agency, so what can the customer do if they want items or services from these places? Easy! Switch to another equivalent product or service. For example, if I was looking for a car and a Toyota Camry was what I wanted but Honda Accord gave me either a better warranty, free insurance or a better price, I would switch to the Honda. The same could be said about any product or service. Some businesses are what I call “Habitual Rapers”. This is because they have a belief that they can rape their customers over price of the item their customers want all the time. No one is guiltier of this action than the clothes retailers. Profit margins of 100% or more are so common that when they have a sale, they can afford to give discounts of up to 70%, 80% and I have seen some say 90% of the retail cost. Now I ask you, how many of you know of a business that can give away let’s say 70% of its retail price and still stay in business unless that 30% he was making was still above their purchase price? A Good rule of thumb is if something sounds too good to be true, then it usually is. Mishal Kanoo is the Deputy Chairman of the Kanoo Group.||**||

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