A lot has been happening lately in Zimbabwe, particularly on social media. Many topical issues are trending at the moment. One of those issues has been trending for days now. I am not going to go into that because it is multi-layered, and I would not want to speculate on some things. However, it got me thinking about something worth talking about at length. This pertains to the importance of brands ensuring customers fully understand their products. There is a collective responsibility from both parties, but the brand has a bigger role to play.

Business Or Entrepreneurship Is About Addressing People’s Pain Points

Mindset Matters

Many entrepreneurs or business people seem not to appreciate this truth. Some do appreciate it but lose sight of it along the way. When you source and sell or make and sell something, it should not really be about money. The same applies if you are offering some service. I know many people miss it here because it is a mindset issue. That is where it all starts – why are you doing what you are doing? If it is merely about making money, rest assured you will not care about your customers. Making money should be a by-product of you consummately addressing people’s pain points.

You Are To Be A Solution Provider

You might not appreciate it, and your customers might not even appreciate it but they are looking for solutions to their pain points. When they come to buy from you, that is the truest essence of what is happening. If you truly recognize that as a brand, the way you regard customers will be different. You will see them as people in need, and you are to provide them with a solid solution. It should not just end with them signing up or buying, whichever is applicable. The aftermath of their purchase should not present any other pain points.

Be Honest About Value Proposition

Every product or service has a value proposition. Ironically, an incomplete or exaggerated value proposition can be cooked up. This happens when the goal is to just make money without being concerned about solving people’s problems. If you are to be objective enough, you should seek to understand the pain points first. Then you will assess whether or not your value proposition addresses the pain points. The goal should not be close sales by all means. If you truly understand you are dealing with pain points, you will not mislead people. You would rather refer the person elsewhere. You could also admit your product or service is unsuitable or inadequate.

The Implications

The implications of all we have discussed so far point to the importance of two things. One, you should understand people’s pain points first. Then you should make them understand what you have too far. You have to be objective about whether or not it solves their issues. This means you need to tell them whether or not it solves their issues honestly. This helps them better understand what they are buying or thinking of buying. It should not be about making hard sales by hammering or manipulating them to buy. It is your responsibility to let them know all there is to know in order for them to make an informed decision.

Of Terms And Conditions And Fine Print

Terms and conditions are general and special arrangements, provisions, requirements, rules, specifications, and standards that form an integral part of an agreement or contract. As a business, you are obligated to have terms and conditions that govern your operations. This is particularly so for your customer relationship management.

Fine print is the small-type size in which covenants, deductions, exclusions, exemptions, or other details in a contractual agreement are printed. Interestingly in some countries, it is unlawful to use a type size smaller and or different from the main body of the agreement. This is especially so for doing that when laying out terms or conditions that limit or do not serve the customer’s interests.

As A Business, You Have The Bigger Responsibility

There are two things to consider here. Depending on the context, terms and conditions are typically many and full of technical or legal jargon. Due to waning attention spans, most people do not read. It is understandable at times, though – imagine having to go through 30 or more pages of terms and conditions. Consider the fine print also; it is deliberately done so that customers miss it. When you look at both, you realize there are deliberate plots to manipulate customers into purchasing blindly. This is because they will not be aware of certain aspects that serve the businesses’ interests at their expense.

By going back to the issue of addressing pain points, an important issue pops up. How is being sketchy or manipulative going to address someone’s pain points? Why, as a business, would you be okay with someone making a purchase knowing problems will arise later? As a business, you have an ethical responsibility to ensure a customer fully understands everything before making a purchase. It is unethical to take advantage of them not knowing the terms and conditions fully. Legally you would have outsmarted them, but that is grossly unethical. Before purchase, check with the customer to see if they fully know all there is to know. This is known as customer onboarding.

One of the biggest challenges with business or entrepreneurship is the inconsistency between ethics and legality. Often time brands take advantage of legality to manipulate customers. Just because something is ‘legal’ does not always make it ethical. Not every customer has the capacity to comprehend all there is to know about something before buying it. In Zimbabwe, it has become almost normal for brands to take advantage of customers based on legalities. Many brands rush to close sales without ensuring the customer knows and understands all the terms and conditions. Whilst some legal basis might back it, it still remains unethical. Many Zimbabwean businesses, particularly big ones, need to do better.