Businesses by their very nature are there to make profit and make owners or shareholders richer human beings. That said, most of what is done is aimed at one key objective; bring in money into coffers or company accounts. There are numerous ways of going about this.
Companies make an effort to offer quality goods and services that one would not mind paying almost at any price. That is why an expensive Mercedes Benz will attract buyers the same way a cheap Tata Nano would. In both cases, the buyers have been convinced to part with their money.
While companies mint money from their customers, governments look on with glee and anticipation on how they can partake in this gold mine and in comes the taxes. But just before the taxman customers.
This is not so bad since it makes sense to keep the owners and shareholders happy while quietly passing the pain to the anonymous customers. How this is done is the very thin line between remaining profitable and losing the whole deal altogether.
Business owners have to be smart about how they go about extra charges. For example, if I bought goods worth Rwf2,300 from a shop, why should you charge me an extra Rwf50 for a paperbag? Is it not smarter to hide that extra Rwf50 in the price of one of the goods being sold?
Smaller grocery shops are fond of doing this not knowing that they are losing clients to the more expensive supermarkets that part with so many paper bags easily. The key word here is convenience. If you cannot offer me a paperbag for all I have bought, I am more likely to go where it is offered despite the fact that goods are more expensive there.
Then, there is this very annoying habit within fast-food businesses in Kigali. You walk in, order for food and ask for it to be packed only to be told that you will have to pay extra for the packages! Does this really make sense?
Why should I pay more for eating or drinking away from your premises yet leaving with my food actually benefits the establishment more since it frees up space and time for other customers? It allows the staff more time to attend to other chores and customers as I walk away.
Leaving with food means I will not be using the furniture, power, plates and cutlery (that will need washing soon after) and relief from other unforeseen expenses like broken plates or glasses.
So why should I be ‘punished’ with an extra fee? Places like Bourbon Coffee, Shokola Lite, Aromas, KCT food court and others ought to think about this practice seriously. I think it is much better to hide the extra charge in the cost of what I am buying than putting me off with a separate new charge.
Keeping customers happy is a way to keep a business sustainable and profitable while charging them for anything extra is a quick way of getting them angry enough to try out other convenient alternatives.