Service Please – by Tobi Olanihun

What is customer service? Whatever the scholastic or marketing definition of the word I don’t care! It’s practically non-existent in Naija. Else how do you explain the behaviour of the bank tellers/customer unit personnel (educated) and some shop clerks and restaurant waiters (uneducated I’d presume).

If everyone was like me then a purchase would depend on just two things, quality of product and customer service, price and other things don’t even come to play. Just be courteous, pro-active, smile or be pleasant (not forced) and have a good product and trust me I become the merchant’s slave.

A real life experience was when we went aso-ebi shopping with a client. Our client was going to spend at least five million naira but I guess after sizing her up (based on whatever criteria they use), they judged she wouldn’t be worth their gossip time and ignored her (us) completely. This was a ‘reputable’ shop!

Sadly in one man businesses e.g. retail shops etc, the business owners are usually worse than the employees with them, ignoring you when you enter their shop. They rather continue the gist with their bleached friend with badly fixed lace wig and the ‘LV’ bag.

We need to do something about the lackadaisical attitude of people to customer service in Nigeria. I tell the perpetrators off as often as I can but it wears me out because I do it ever so often. And does it make a difference? I doubt it.

I think we have to start documenting horrible experiences with the offenders’ names, office addresses and offence. Maybe when everyone starts to do this and people start to lose business then business owners will start to sit up. Unfortunately this folly is found in both big and small organisations.

Do we have this problem in the events industry? I don’t think so. Ours is service based and great customer service is key and goes without saying. Am I wrong? Do you have a different opinion on this?

(This article was previously published on the author’s website and was used with her kind permission)


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