PHOTO: UMS President Sharon Kiggundu (2nd right) with representatives of AJUA (2nd left) and JM Roberts & Associates 1st right)


LAST week, Uganda Marketers Society (UMS) launched The Inaugural Pearl of Africa Customer Excellence Awards (POACEA) to recogonise and reward the efforts of MSMEs putting the customer first, ‘Customer is King’ being an age-old mantra reflecting the importance of customers in every business. The launch was at Mestil Hotel in Kampala. 
Nominations kicked off on 08th October and will end on 08th November 2021. The Awards ceremony  will take place on the 25th of January 2022.
Two independent credible firms with reputation to protect(AJUA) and JIM Roberts & Associates have been have been hired to do analysis, give transparent, free and fair nominations and results. 
Data will be available to the public to scruitinize what such and such an organisation is doing differently to deserve an award.
Public will take part in the nominations and different forums have been put up to enable them nominate organisations with best customer care.
The short and long term of these awards is to enhance the competitiveness and productivity of the MSME sector that is one of the driving forces of Uganda’s economy.
According to the organisers, Uganda Marketers Society, regardless of what industry you’re in or what kind of products and services you sell, the customer is the most important part of a business. 
Ms. Sharon Kiggundu, the President Uganda Marketers Society noted that, “Without the customer, you don’t see any sales and without sales there is no revenue. With the negative effects of COVID-19 adversely affecting the economy, excellent customer service is increasingly becoming important to the success of businesses large and small.”
She said, in the past, people chose which companies they did business with based on price, or the product or service offered, but today the overall experience is often the driver, meaning customer service is critical to competing effectively.
The winners of these awards, Ms. Kiggundu said, will also elevate MSMEs perception as professional enterprises. The role of MSMEs in promoting economic growth and development is globally recognised and customers are influenced by even a single experience; one positive experience could be the deciding factor for them to stick to a brand, whereas one negative one could send them running to a competitor. 
“It is for this reason that the Uganda Marketers Society (UMS) has today launched the Pearl of Africa Customer Excellence Awards (POACEA) to recognize and reward companies that have constantly endeavoured to put the customer first through deliberate actions towards progressive customer care, excellent customer experience, and customer prioritization throughout their operations.” Revealed Sharon Kiggundu.
She told media that, customers are increasingly looking for companies that understand their needs, make their lives easier and treat them with appreciation and respect while delivering a consistent experience throughout the customer journey.
The initiative, the first-ever of its kind in Uganda, will see companies rewarded for showcasing excellence in customer care and customer excellence efforts across various industries ranging from Finance, FMCG, Tech, Health, and Media with a deliberate focus on MSMEs.
“For a long time, we have heard various perceptions of Ugandan businesses not being able to provide great experiences to customers and clients. With these awards, we want to reward those who are excelling at customer care meaning that they are the best at making their customers extremely happy” said Sharon Kiggundu. 

Following the launch of the Pearl of Africa Customer Excellence Awards, nominations have begun that will see customers nominate their favourite brands in various categories. 
The link for registration is: 
The categories of the Pearl of Africa Customer Excellence Awards (POACEA) are as follows: 
▪ Best Customer Cultural Adaptation Award
▪ Best Customer Training and Organizational Learning Award
▪ Best Customer Retention Strategy and Execution
▪ Best Use of Digital 
▪ Best Use of Customer Insights and Feedback
▪ Best Customer Support (Traditional call centre, face book, whatsapp)
▪ Customer Excellence Champion of the year
▪ Customer Experience Team of the year.
▪ UMS Honorary Award of The Year
Nominations open on Friday 8th October and will close on 8th November 2021. 

The Pearl of Africa Customer Excellence Awards are sponsored by Nation Media Group (media partner), Owaraga Photography & Videography (content partner), Mestil Hotel (event venue partner), Ajua (data management/collection partner), Capital One Group (communications partner), Optimus Events (event partner) and JIM Roberts & Associates (the official audit firm will verify data collected and see to it that it is accurate).

The Uganda Marketers Society (UMS) is the leading organization for marketing professionals in Uganda. 
It is responsible for professional skills development, promotion of professional marketing standards and practices through Individual, Corporate and SMEs membership categories. It also conducts market research and consultancy. 
UMS vision is to be the leading body of marketing practitioners and professionals inspired towards the development, promotion, and application of world-class marketing leadership. 
Its mission is to remain the most relevant influence informing marketing in Uganda.

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