Macmillan Education Eswatini has embarked on a customer-oriented move to support customers from all categories. The target populations are well-performing customers, best-improved customers, and budding and struggling customers. This grouping comes as a result of each customer’s track record in terms of sales performance. This exercise started at the beginning of June and it will be sustained going forward. The main objective is not only to strengthen relations between the company and the booksellers but also to better customer retention through improved customer experience. It is true that we have always visited and prioritised booksellers. However, the improvement now is that we are spending even more time with them, listening to their success stories, complaints, challenges and even suggestions on how best we can work together and achieve more.

As a company it has come to our attention that some of our customers, especially those at the grassroots level, are struggling financially, hence they hardly cope with the rising demand for our products. We provide solutions to some of their challenges, such as obtaining new customers and retaining existing ones. Moreover, we assist them with how they can market their products through contemporary platforms such as social media. We started a journey of visiting booksellers located in all four regions of the country whereby we converse with them to ascertain their problems and determine where the loopholes might be and how best we can improve customer service for best customer experience. We noted that attracting a new customer costs more than keeping an existing one.

Macmillan Education Eswatini has designed new Macmillan stickers for the bookshops to improve their shops’ appearance while marketing the Macmillan brand. The stickers play a huge role in terms of advertising. We make it a point that all our customers operating bookshops have a Macmillan sticker. This helps us to counter competition, as well as have better visibility. In addition to that, we have designed customised Wall Watches for selected booksellers as a token of appreciation and as motivation to those that are struggling.

One of the already visited bookshops is Office World Stationery at Matata, a small town in the Lubombo region with limited resources. Mr Vice Fakudze, the director of the small bookshop expressed his gratitude. “Thank you so much Macmillan for remembering us even though we are in a remote area. Life continues and we thank you for these gifts and for actually taking care of us, it really means a lot to us. We are encouraged to push even harder”, Fakudze affirmed. Most booksellers are indeed thrilled by this selfless gesture.

Macmillan Education Eswatini is devoted to this initiative and has dedicated the whole month of June to continue visiting other bookshops in the remote areas of Eswatini where resources are scarce and customers most need our attention and support.

This customer-centred initiative aims at improving customer retention, which in turn improves the profitability of the company. Mainly we use the dialogue approach in order to establish rapport with our customers since word-of-mouth proves to be one of the most cost-effective means of advertising, which also creates a conducive platform for our loyal, happy customers to express their shortfalls.

Throughout the process of visiting our booksellers, a key purpose is to get customer feedback. This has led to new opportunities since these customers offer us priceless ideas on how best we can do business with them. We surely believe that this marketing move shall yield better sales ultimately.