Excellent Customer Service Is Good. Protecting Your Customers Is Even Better
Last week, the Customer Service Week was celebrated across business organisations globally, in honour of the people who serve and support customers, highlighting the important role of customer service to the sustenance of businesses. Because trust is a critical ingredient in forging customer loyalty, this year’s theme was ‘Building Trust’.
We dare to add, however, that organisations must go beyond the ethos of excellence in service delivery, to the more salient issue of safety for their customers. After all, what is service delivery to a customer who is fatally injured or killed within your business premises? This is the more reason why, as a business with doors opened to the public – such as restaurants, cafes, showrooms, boutiques, hotel lobbies, lounges, experience centres, to mention but a few – you must strongly consider the issue of safety as a requisite for building trust.
Legally, just as you have a duty to your employee’s safety, you are also bound by a duty-of-care to ensure the safety of visitors and, in event of an accident, are held liable for loss or injury suffered by the customer. This is known as Occupier’s Liability, which is the responsibility the occupant of a premises bears in respect of loss or injury affecting anyone who comes into the premises as a result of the negligent, defective or dangerous condition of the premises.
In other words, the ‘occupier’ is defined as the person who is in control of the premises. This means that if you are a business owner with a business premises, you are an ‘occupier’, whether you rented or own the premises. You are therefore responsible for the safety measures that will guarantee that the premises are safe and free from hazards.
Here, we have highlighted a number of threats visitors can face, just so that you can ensure that safety measures are put in place.
- Slip and Fall
‘Slip and Fall’ is a personal injury occurring where a person slips or trips and falls within someone else’s property. This can be caused by different reasons, including torn carpet, poor lighting or a wet floor, all of which can pose injurious threats to your unsuspecting customers. Imagine a customer slipping in the rest room because of a spill from the tap. They could end up hitting their head on the floor, which could result in the loss consciousness. To prevent this, a business must show due care by ensuring that spills and other debris that can be a potential threat are eliminated.
- Fire outbreak
Fire outbreaks are usually sudden and unanticipated. Therefore, preventive measures are of utmost importance. Ensure that a full fire risk assessment is carried out on your business premises to identify potential fire prone furnishing or items that could ignite. In the event of a fire emergency, ensure all visitors exit promptly and do not re-enter the building until permission is given.
- Infrastructural defects
Uneven steps, loose tiles and defective furniture, if left unrepaired, are all impending danger points for unsuspecting visitors coming into your business premises. For example, imagine a customer falling off the stairs because of a faulty railing. The cost of paying the medical bill for such an incidence might not only be staggering, but can also affect your organisation’s reputation.
Electric shocks from contact with exposed electricity-bearing wires and items can cause serious harm and even death. It is very important to carry out regular inspections and immediate repairs to all faulty electrical outlets and appliances. This way, any potential hazardous liabilities can be detected before customers encounter them the hard way.
- ‘Walking Into’ injuries
This happens when a person accidentally runs into an immovable object such as walls, glass doors, furniture, uncovered drains etc. A customer visiting your office premises may be unaware of a glass door and unconsciously walks into it, assuming it’s an open space. In such a case, it is your responsibility to put up a notice or warning to that effect, in other to prevent accidents from occurring. Also place furniture in rooms that have clear pathways for walking.
However, knowing that accidents are bound to happen and you can’t always be 100% safety guaranteed, Leadway Assurance has an insurance policy, Leadway Business Owner Support Scheme (LBOSS), which provides Occupier’s Liability insurance cover for small and medium-sized businesses against possible legal suits as a result of injury suffered by visitors in their business premises. That is, if your business is ordered to pay damages for such an accident, LBOSS will cover these costs, as well as any associated legal or hospital fees.
L-BOSS also insures against damage to your business premises and its content (computers, stock, customers’ items etc.), along with motor vehicle insurance, insurance cover against fire, lightning, limited explosion, earthquake, volcanic eruption, malicious damage, strike, riot, flood, storm, impact and burglary to contents. Additionally, it covers comprehensive vehicle insurance against theft, damage, fire and towing cost for vehicles operated by the business, including up to N1, 000, 000.00 compensation in claims from third parties for death, injury or damage and medical expenses as a direct result of work related accidents.