Know your customers


My interview with SHF franchisee Credence Maina is interrupted every few minutes as a customer comes into her Child & Family Wellness Shop. She turns her full attention and eye contact to her patient, switches from English to Swahili or Kikuyu, gives them a firm handshake, and addresses the majority by first name.

Credence, one of the first SHF franchisees, has also been one of the most successful. She was named “champion” of CFW Shops in a PBS documentary, and is regularly a top performer across outlet measures.

“I am successful because I know the community,” she says. “They are comfortable with me, they trust me. And so they keep coming.”

The success of any product or service depends on knowing your customer, and though Credence (a community health worker) does not have a business degree or formal management training, she is one of the most entrepreneurial people I’ve ever met. “I go to their homes, I go to the community, I try to understand what they need and I give it to them,” she describes. As a result, she attracts up to 100 customers a day, despite competition from a nearby free government clinic.

As I leave Credence’s shop, I reflect that with the right people and proper support systems, this is a model that will work and have real impact on the way critical drugs and care are delivered in rural communities.

Credence Maina

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