The Tentmakers

Utility – Meeting Your Customer’s Needs

Good day people. I’m thinking today of the term “utility”. As usual, I have a story to explain my point.

I got a tricycle to get me out of the estate in order to meet up with others. As I boarded the tricycle, I told the driver that I had a time contract with some people at the drop-off point. As we moved on, the driver decided to pick up some other passengers. He waited inordinately for a passenger that eventually did not board the tricycle. Due to the unnecessary delays as a result of the driver’s poor decisions, I missed the people I was supposed to meet at the drop-off point.  I still paid him the complete fare. Though my preference would have been to meet up with my appointment, missing it is just an annoyance and not hyper-critical.


This incident got me thinking about “utility”. Did the driver deserve to be paid the accurate fare? Though he provided the service (got me to the drop-off point), I did not derive utility from the service he provided.

A definition of utility is “the state of being useful, profitable, or beneficial”. If the customer does not derive utility from your goods/services, you are unlikely to get repeat business in a competitive market. It’s great to manufacture ‘fantastic’ goods or provide ‘top-notch’ services. If your customer does not derive utility from what you’re selling or providing, I assure you that you won’t be in business for long.
Another interesting thing is that while I was trying to express my dissatisfaction respectfully (customer feedback), he began to give me ‘counsel’ on how to meet up with my appointment in future. You may find that hilarious but it’s definitely not a smart move in business. Customer feedback is valuable, it gives you insight on your strengths and highlights areas where improvement is needed. Listen objectively to what your customer is saying. For as long as their requests do not negate the core values of your company/business, which hopefully includes ethics, you should explore reasonable cost-effective means to satisfy your customers. I guess you know that they are the primary channels of blessings for your company/business.
Have a blessed and productive day.

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