What you need to know:
- If you’re going to sell something, it is only ethical to ensure that it is a product that you and your children can confidently use.
- But if you have no intention of using it, then make a habit of seeking customer feedback.
Last weekend, I passed by the supermarket to buy a few things that had run out. They included detergent, and I was elated when I spotted a brand I had long stopped buying that now had those “buy one, get one free” offers.
In these uncertain economic times, it is only prudent to save some money where you can, no matter how little. I, therefore, forewent my regular detergent and bought that one.
When I got home, however, I was quickly reminded why I had ditched that brand – opening the container is akin to a wrestling match that goes on and on until the frustrated referee announces over time. The detergent in question is the powder normally used to clean toilet bowls. Stay with me, I’m headed somewhere with this.
To open the container, you are supposed to peel off a glued-on paper covering the container’s flap. There are even instructions printed on that paper. Unfortunately, those instructions are useless because this paper is impossible to peel off, in spite of the technique and strength you employ.
You should have seen me trying to get it off using my nails, and when that failed, I tried a key. When that failed too, I resorted to scraping off the damn thing with a knife, but that too did not work, so I decided to prise off the entire lid using the knife, and in the process half the contents emptied on the floor.
That incident, which was a repeat of what happened the last time I bought that brand, told me that this manufacturer, as well as the people employed to market and sell this product, don’t use it. If they did, then they would have long identified and corrected this deficiency.
It also tells me that they don’t seek customer feedback. If they did, they would have learnt that the glued-on paper was a bad idea that has been costing them sales. I mean, what are the chances of me buying that detergent again?
But this is just one example. Many more manufacturers are guilty of selling products that they have never tested, or used for that matter, which would explain the many inferior, impractical and defective items that are pushed to the market every day.
Recently, I attended a funeral, and as is customary in such events, the seats provided are the common plastic ones that every church women’s group owns, and which they rent out for such events.
Most plastic chairs I’ve come across are generally comfortable if you can ignore how cold your backside gets especially during the cold season. These ones, however, had back rests that leaned so far back, it felt as if I was half lying down, ready for a mini-massage.
As it is with such seats, you sit up and rely on your spine to keep you upright, which is mighty tiring especially when expected to stay put for a long period. What would such an experience tell you? That no one bothered to sit on that chair before it was mass-produced. If someone had, that design would never have been approved.
I can give many more examples, but I have a word count to adhere to. If you’re going to sell something, it is only ethical to ensure that it is a product that you and your children can confidently use. But if you have no intention of using it, then make a habit of seeking customer feedback. You owe that to the people who keep your company going.
The writer is editor, Society & Magazines, Daily Nation; [email protected] ke.nationmedia.com