Uganda’s leading organization for marketing professionals, Uganda Marketers Society (UMS) has moved to recognize and reward the country’s best companies in customer care and excellence.
Dubbed the Pearl Of Africa Customer Excellence Awards (POACEA), the awards were last week launched from Mestil Hotel in Kampala. According to organizers, they seek to recognize and reward the efforts of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) putting the customer first.
Organizers say the role of MSMEs in promoting economic growth and development is globally recognized and customers are increasingly looking for companies that understand their needs, make their lives easier and treat them with appreciation and respect while delivering a consistent experience throughout the customer journey.
The awards are the first-ever of their kind in Uganda and will see companies rewarded for showcasing excellence in customer care and customer excellence efforts across various industries ranging from Finance, FMCG, Tech, Health, and Media with a deliberate focus on MSMEs.
According to organizers, the awards are rooted from an age-old mantra “Customer is King” which reflects the importance of customers or consumers in every business.
“For a long time, we have heard various perceptions of Ugandan businesses not being able to provide great experiences to customers and clients. With these awards, we want to reward those who are excelling at customer excellence meaning that they are the best at making their customers extremely happy,” says Sharon Kiggundu, the President of Uganda Marketers Society (UMS).
According to research by Hubspot, Customer retention is cheaper than customer acquisition. An increase in customer retention of merely 5% can equate to an increase in profit of 25% because repeat customers are more likely to spend more with one’s brand — 300% more, to be exact — which results in the business spending less on operating costs.
Kiggundu reiterates regardless of the kind of industry one operates or products he or she deals in, the customer is the most important part of the business and should be treated with honour and respect.
“Without the customer, you don’t see any sales and without sales there is no revenue. With the negative effects of COVID-19 adversely affecting the economy, excellent customer service is increasingly becoming important to the success of businesses large and small,” Kiggundu explains.
“In the past, people chose which companies they did business with based on price, or the product or service offered, but today the overall experience is often the driver, meaning customer service is critical to competing effectively,” she adds.
She says that customers are influenced by even a single experience; one positive experience could be the deciding factor for them to stick to a brand, whereas one negative one could send them running to a competitor.
“It is for this reason that the Uganda Marketers Society has today launched the Pearl of Africa Customer Excellence Awards (POACEA) to recognize and reward companies that have constantly endeavoured to put the customer first through deliberate actions towards progressive customer care, excellent customer experience, and customer prioritization throughout their operations,” notes Kiggundu.
The nominations done by customers to chose their favourite brands in various categories, started on Friday October 8 and will last a month.
The different categories include Best CX Cultural Adaptation Award, Best CX Training and Organizational Learning Award, Best Customer Retention Strategy and Execution, Best Use of Digital and Best Use of Customer Insights and Feedback.
Others are Best Customer Support
Customer Excellence Champion of the year, Customer Experience Team of the year and UMS Honorary Award of The Year.
The awarding ceremony will take place on January 25 next year.
Kiggundu notes that the short and long term objective of the awards is to enhance the competitiveness and productivity of the MSME sector which is one of the driving forces of Uganda’s economy.
She says that the winners of the awards will also elevate MSMEs’ perception as professional enterprises.