Pep’s focus and pleasure
PEP’S NUMBER ONE overall rating in Ask Afrika’s Orange Index may come as a surprise to some. However, when you consider the group’s vision, the result isn’t surprising at all. Pep’s vision simply states: “Delighted customers: our focus and pleasure.” Which, says MD George Steyn, makes the recognition especially gratifying.
Steyn definitely believes in the distinction between customer satisfaction and customer delight. “If a customer is delighted he’s certainly satisfied; whereas a satisfied customer wouldn’t necessarily be delighted. At Pep we pride ourselves on actively trying to delight our customers through our friendly service, our in-store experience, our range and quality of merchandise and, of course, our low prices. We also continuously urge our employees to go that extra mile for the customer.”
Steyn says the difference between customer satisfaction and customer delight is about not just meeting but exceeding customers’ expectations. “It’s about pleasant surprises for the most important person in our business – the customer.”
Having said that, it’s important to continuously evaluate customer satisfaction as part of your business opera-
tion, he says. “Nobody in the trade will ever perfect it, but you have to do whatever it takes to improve every year. We also believe that if you’re giving people consistently what they want in the way they want it then you’re going a long way to please and delight them.”
Steyn says that the trick in retail is to understand that retaining your precious customers is more important than attracting new ones. That’s why Pep researches and interacts with all its customers – and those that have left – to make sure the organisation under- stands what its offering should be.
However, Steyn says that customer delight is underestimated in SA. “South African consumers are becoming more sophisticated every day and they expect more. They shop in smarter places and, where necessary, we’ve added more stores and moved our stores accordingly to accommodate them.”
The notion that South African consumers are uninformed and expect the worst isn’t accurate, he says. “South Africans are as informed as any other nation. Pep customers are highly informed concerning price and quality, because in many instances they can’t afford to buy something that doesn’t have durability. That makes them very smart and informed indeed. They compare prices, quality and range of merchandise all the time. What our customers demand is the best – and that’s what we try to give them.”
Looking ahead, Steyn says that SA’s retail industry has to be highly customer focused to survive and indeed grow. “Overall, we believe that SA is fast learning that service is the key to success and certainly at Pep we know the value of that ethic.”
Customer delight is underestimated in SA. George Steyn