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Looking Beyond the Single Sale

Bukie Iwajomo

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One Thursday afternoon during lunch-break, I left my office for a phone store down the road, to get a phone accessory. On my way, I saw a clothes store I had never noticed on that road. They had such beautiful clothes on display that on my way back, I couldn’t resist the temptation to stop by.

It was a new store, the owner told me. He was a friendly young man, and from window shopping, I left the store with a beautiful champagne chiffon shirt in my arm, and made a silent promise to buy from this store regularly.
Getting home, I tried on the shirt and realized, to my utter dismay, that it didn’t fit at the shoulders. It came up too tight on one end and too loose on the other- a factory error. Sadly, I had to return the shirt. Fred, the store owner, said I’d have to swap with another item- he couldn’t refund my money. After much back and forth, I agreed. Searching round, and not finding anything in my size, I settled for a pink polka-dot shirt which was obviously of a lower quality than the one I had initially bought.

However, Fred remarked that this (polka-dot shirt) was more expensive than the one I had paid for, and I’d have to pay up the difference of N500. Well, I did. This time around, I walked out the store with a feeling of great dissatisfaction, and a silent promise to never return to that store ever again. Needless to say, I’ve never been there again, and it has been several months now.

That day, Fred lost one customer- me, and many more that I would have referred to his store. All because he failed to look beyond that single sale. He failed to see the value of a satisfied customer. If he had explained that though the shirt cost more than the one I initially paid for (which I strongly doubt), but had let me have it at no additional cost to me, he probably would have won my patronage for life. But failing to look beyond the present, he focused on the returns from that single sale, and hence, lost many more sales.

Morale of the story?

Realize the Power of One Satisfied Customer
When dealing with customers, look beyond the single sale, rather, focus on having a satisfied customer. Have your customer walking away feeling like he won in the buying process. It doesn’t have to be a discount, it could be a promise to get discounts on next purchases. It could be a gift to go with that purchase. It could be a free product sample. In fact, something as little as giving your first-time customers a drink while they shop could go a long way. There are several ways to make the customer feel like he won, when you (the seller) didn’t really lose anything. That customer will return to buy again and again, and will tell several others who in turn will tell many more and you will reap a net full of customers- all from that one single sale.

On the flipside, if the customer walked out feeling dissatisfied, with a sinking sense of loss, he will most likely not buy from you again, will not refer any potential customers to your business, and will badmouth you to both existing customers, and potential customers.

It Is a Win-Win Situation
Selling should be a win-win situation for both parties- the buyer and the seller. Only the seller can make that happen. Letting me take the new shirt without paying the additional N500 he requested wouldn’t have hurt Fred’s business. Picture this scenario- he lost N 500 from sales to me that day. The next week I return to buy two items from which he makes a profit of N 4,000. I get to the office and tell two colleagues about the great clothes store I found just down the road. One of them goes to his store and buys an item from which he gains N2,000. She recommends the store to a friend who buys a dress and a pair of shoes for her birthday dinner, he gains N4,000. Let’s do the math. In one month since that first sale to me, I have gotten him three customers and he made a profit of N10,000 from total sales to the four of us. See, he lost N 500 but gained N 10,000 and three new customers. Remember it doesn’t end here, it’s a continuous cycle. More referrals from more satisfied customers, and his customer -base grows bigger and bigger. That is a win-win. Always look-out for ways to make it a win-win situation for you and your customers.
Yes, I know you’re in business to make profit. But dear entrepreneur, that single sale will not bring you all the profit you intend to make from your business. It is the repeat sales from that customer, and from the other customers he/she refers to your business that you will make the projected returns.

Treat your customers as if they were news reporters, reporting every experience with your business to the world.
Focus on the long-term.
Look beyond that single sale.

Have you ever left a buying situation feeling like you lost and the seller won? Did you ever return to buy from that seller? Did you recommend the business to anyone?

Photo Credit: glassheel.com
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Like you, sales and marketing coach and consultant Bukola Olayemi has seen many businesses fail in their ultimate aim of selling their products/services. She works with small-businesses and entrepreneurs that are stuck in this low-sales maze, helping them get more customers and make bigger sales, faster than they thought possible.

Bukie Iwajomo is the chief strategist at SalesForward Consulting. She works with start-ups, personal and consumers brands helping them leverage tech to grow their businesses and build badass brands. Follow her daily marketing tips on Instagram. You can also connect with her on Facebook

56 Comments

  1. okromouth

    April 23, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    good write up though. but it’s always easier for a disatisfied customer to say this. how bout u put self in Mr Fred’s shoes or for once imagine to be a shop owner,mebbe cz my mum has a shop nd i knw how human beings can be really,das y i may sound a bit off. why dint u try the shirt on before paying? what if he had given the sales for that particular day to the oga at the top? oh,u expected him to tk bk the shirt? was there a stain on it self?was it in good condition?u dint tell us all that.errmmm my dear,i think the ‘customers are always right’ phrase has been overflogged so they just think shop owners or service providers shudnt even think but just give them a ‘BIG YES’ even if what they have done doesnt make any self..even if u dnt recommend him,other pple self wud discover him like u did on the first day and buy from him,nd they wud buy their sizes and refer him to several others.lol sometimes self,let us put ourselves in their shoes…cheers!!

    • Lolly

      April 23, 2013 at 1:16 pm

      It’s not everyone that have the opportunity of testing before buying.

    • Lola

      April 23, 2013 at 2:04 pm

      Your response is one of the many things wrong with our retail industry. Only in Naija dyu see retailers acting like they are doing their customers a favour.

    • Sel

      April 23, 2013 at 3:44 pm

      I use to think like you until I travelled abroad. Customers are treated very wellin all establishments whether you even buy anything or not.

    • Jennifer

      April 23, 2013 at 4:09 pm

      I beg to differ, dear okromouth. This write-up is on point (as I am sure u agree). If Fred did that to the writer, he’ll do it to another, simples!
      We really don’t get it here. If u want ur customers happy, u gotta make them happy, and keep them coming back for more.
      It’s not abt putting oneself in Fred’s shoes. In fact, if I were to do that, I’m sure I’ll be looking for so many innovative ways to keep customers satisfied with my goods & services.
      Some months ago, ASOS lost my package, and after waiting the stipulated time to see if it’ll get to me, they did a full refund, and guess what? They added a 10% discount for the inconvenience caused me. Needless to say, I am one happy customer, and it is still my go-to shop, home & abroad. Every other store is secondary 🙂
      The customer is indeed always right (anytime, short of verbal abuse & bodily harm). Evn if u disagreed with ur customer, u shld b e seen to give some concessions. Very important. Anyway, that’s why some organizations organise such trainings for their staff.
      At some point in life, we all are Fred, selling some service or other & will all benefit from this skill.

    • Teris

      April 24, 2013 at 8:32 am

      @okromouth… what an apt chat moniker u’ve got there.
      i was going to comment that the author of this article had misplaced her audience – no point preaching to the choir, etc… but it turns out this article was intended for u actually.

  2. Jo!

    April 23, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    Are the people that need this reading it?

  3. Enitan

    April 23, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    nice write up…same happened to me years ago bought shoe from my customer twas 2weeks after dat i tried it on i found out d shoe is a bigger size had to return it her she told me chek bak afta she must ave sold d shoe, i waited months before i cud get my money back since den i vowed never to enter d shop again and i also stopd my friends from buying things from her…moral of the story treat your customer well

    • Peachy_mo

      April 23, 2013 at 1:31 pm

      This is even worse! how hard can it be to try your shoes on the spot? you’re both so wrong. you should have tried that shoe immediately which would have saved you the whole months you spent waiting for your money

      My mum has a shop which I ran for 8 years before moving to other things based on the type of people I meet & customers’ funny requests, I made it a point to always give brief terms & conditions on every item I’m selling. For textiles I tell them its non-refundable and they can only change and emphasis the items that cannot be returned or refunded. I also insist on customers trying out their purchase before paying. This worked well for me because in the process of reading them their rights, I bonded & created interpersonal relationships with them. 4 years away from the store, we still have loyal customers.

      Back to the write up, Fred is as wrong as Enitan & her customer (hehehe) because he did not exhibit any form of customer service relations which can kill your business faster than fire gutting the store.

      BUT customers can be overwhelmingly frustrating that you just want to kick them out of your store! Imagine telling a customer that a particular outfit won’t fit her with clear cut reasons put forward yet she insist on buying it only for her to return it after 2 weeks (like Enitan….hehehe!) that it doesn’t fit….over to you!

    • Ikido

      April 23, 2013 at 2:29 pm

      Later when business is not going well, you will be saying that its people from the village that is causing it. Instead of just reading this and learning…you’ll be running from one babalawo to the other.

  4. adelegirl

    April 23, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    Great article. Unfortunately most Nigerian business owners are not even concerned about the present single sale not to speak of grooming satisfied customers for future sales. They don’t care that their shop assistants are rude and uncouth. In fact, most shop assistants learn how to treat customers from the way their “madam” or “oga” interacts with or treats customers. Don’t get me started on customer service from banks and telecommunication service providers call centres!

  5. Lola

    April 23, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    Why didnt any of u try on d clothes or shoes before purchasing or heading home..i work for my money and wont part it on d lame excuses u guys r putting up here.i also know how human beings behave.some customers may buy sometin,try it on,like it and take it home only for their friends or spouse complaining about d price or quality,then the customer returns it and starts giving stories.

    • Aggrieved 9ja customer

      April 23, 2013 at 1:28 pm

      Lola please. I’m sure you own a shop and you shop abroad. Are you telling me that you have never returned anything before. All you store owners who do something out of this country, when it is now done to you in your own country you start shouting. It is just 9ja and the no rules. A customer has the right to return items for whatever the reason. Some stores say 7days, some say 28, and some even 45 days. You think those stores don’t make profit? No I am not talking about the big major chains, even small high street independent shops, I’ve returned items before. Even ebay, Amazon, I’ve returned items before. You get to 9ja and everything is upside down. I have tried on clothes and shoes in store, and sometimes it is until you settle down at home, with all the time in the world, and you sample opinions of friends or family before you make your decision. I’ve bought blenders that i’ve returned, vacum cleaners, microwaves, and yes after I used them and they didnt meet my needs. In 9ja, common hankerchief you can’t return. You shop owners are just short sighted, especially in a country where word of mouth matters. I rather pay extra and be treated well, than go to a cheaper shop and have some sales assistant display omo alata behaviour to me. Everything is about that one sale, that one sale, which is another reason why many items arae overpriced too. They want to make their massive profit one time, with one trip. When they r now sititng in a shop with no customers coming, with their neighbour making sales, they’ll say the woman has done juju. mschew

    • ij

      April 23, 2013 at 1:43 pm

      honestly i cant add or subtract from your reply to madam Lola, well said

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      April 23, 2013 at 2:20 pm

      @ Aggrieved 9ja customer – yep, you’ve just about voiced all that’s necessary to respond to certain shop owners who believe there’s one rule for them when they go shopping in western countries and another rule for their customers when they return with things to sell in Nigeria. Even on Ebay, a lot of sellers have a returns policy (not quite all just yet but a lot of the regular sellers have now recognized that the client’s satisfaction may not be met by the products being purchased).

      In Nigeria, from the days of John the baptist, shop owners have refuesed to recognize their customers’ need for satisfaction. And these are the same shop owners that very likely bombard Next during a sale, pack about 8 bags full of varied items and then come back 2 days after buying with at least 4 bags fully of those purchases to present to a harried shop assistant in order to get a full refund. It is a wa.

      Until there’s any kind of customer protection board set up in Nigeria, nothing is going to change. The shop owner, to his mind, is still king…

    • Temiloluwa

      April 23, 2013 at 3:14 pm

      Very well put. I agree, totally!

    • Kola S

      April 23, 2013 at 3:55 pm

      Let’s not mislead people here. What legislation can you quote that allows a customer to return an item for whatever reason? What happens in the UK and probably many other Western countries is that you have the right to return items if they are DEFECTIVE. Different rules apply for distance selling where you are allowed a cooling off period. When stores allow you to return goods for whatever reason, it’s an internal policy for good customer relations. They are not required to do it by law.
      Your argument is sound, but let’s not ruin it with things that aren’t factual!

    • Jennifer

      April 23, 2013 at 4:29 pm

      I totally agree. It’s Naija, anything goes.
      Last year, I was at this Zara store at Silverbird, and they had a notice saying they had a no returns policy. And I’m thinking, ‘u wldnt have this boldly displayed abroad’. I even asked the shop manager and she said they were going to have it changed soon. Who knows if they’ve done…
      Customer service is key to any business.
      As a service provider, state ur policies, keep them reasonable and offer concessions often. It’ll keep your business rolling.

    • Sade

      April 23, 2013 at 5:13 pm

      About that massive profit thing. There was this girl in Unilag who sold clothes from her car. You know those £2 Atmosphere tops. She sold them for 1500 – 2000. I remember clearly because I bought plenty from her. I graduated in 2007, and I had been buying clothes from her for years. My course was a 5year course, do the math. As person wey never travel before na, I didn’t know the real price. My first tip to the UK for school, I entered Primark and I almost fainted. Honestly. I just flashed back how much I paid for those tops, and other Primark, H & M clothes I bought from her. Not even Next o, or Zara. We are just too greedy in Nigeria, and the gullible masses (myself included) will pay for it, and be treated like dirt in the process. When I moved here, I knew what customer service means. You walk into a big store, and you are looking for something, and someone will actually take you to where it is, and not just point or tell you Aisle so so so. Bush gal like me, the first time it happened to me at Sainsburys I was even telling the guy, don’t follow me, i’ll use your directions. He said no no, I’ll take you to where it is. My first trip home after being here for years was such a culture shock, I had forgotten how bad we were until the girl over the counter at TFC reminded me that I was in Lagos. This was just 1 day after I got back. I never reach America before so I cant comment, but British, Italian, French and Spanish customer service is just Amazing.

    • Bisqo

      April 23, 2013 at 6:46 pm

      Hits the like button…

    • Bukky

      April 23, 2013 at 8:45 pm

      @ Lola are you for real? As long as the item is not damaged a customer should be able to return it within a reasonable time frame.It is not the store owners problem why the customer could not try the outfit on. Yes, it could be frustrating but it is business, you win some and you lose some.The article is just saying look beyond that one sale.It really is not bad advice for anyone in business. I am a business owner and most of my sales have been through word of mouth. You can never over estimate the endorsement of a satisfied customer.They go out of their way to bring their friends to you. Business owners should always capitalize on situations like the one the writer mentioned to give extremely good service. For going above and beyond, the customer will remain loyal. Those running their mouths like “Lola” and “Peachy_mo”, this is not about taking it personal. Saving a sale and future sales is all a business strategy.It’s not about if the customer is wrong or right, it is about bottom line!FULL STOP!

  6. emeralds

    April 23, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    very well spoken, a lot of businesses never take the initiative to look beyond the current day sale, if i am satisfied by a purchase trust me i run my mouth and tell everyone i know, for instance when i was pregnant, i read about this baby store somewhere on the island and visited them, the guys are so professional and friendly and remember everything about you, i have recommended the shop to all my pregnant friends, recently i bought a 6months old baby cup, the nxt weekend the straw broke, i took it back to them and the guy apologized like it was his fault and immediately replaced it with another and said he has to balance me N400. co as the cup i took is cheaper. since then i’ve stuck to them i do all my son’s shopping from the store and insist that everyone i know should do too.

  7. Popular

    April 23, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion. But i for one support that you be patient with the seller and pick another thing from the shop or wait untill he sells your stuff for you. The only aspect of the story i don’t support however is the additional 500.00 he added at the end of d day.

  8. mary

    April 23, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    i think most shop owners especially clothes have fitting rooms with mirror where you can try out the clothes to know if they fit or not before paying, if you had tried it there and realized it didnt fit well, you would have loooked for something better, in this case i will not blame fred 100 %, most of them feel bad when you return their goods after paying and request for a refund, i think it should also be a lesson to you that next time you ask for the fitting room to try it before paying, my own thoughts though

  9. nich

    April 23, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    here in the states you have 3-5 days and in some cases like electronics walmart gives u 12 days to return the item if you do not need it anymore. what do you expect from this nigerian marketers

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      April 23, 2013 at 2:27 pm

      In same United States of A that you live in, some shops have refund policies of up to 1 full year. I don’t know what kind of products you’re buying that have 3-5 days return policies but most consumables from mainstream sellers have extended return policies of a month and more. Heck, even the popular grocery shops will refund your money for any food you’ve purchased if you complain about it.

    • Temiloluwa

      April 23, 2013 at 3:19 pm

      3-5 days?! I know for a fact that Macy’s is near ad infinitum. You can return most stuff for a full refund within 180 days even when you’ve misplaced your receipt.

    • Sel

      April 23, 2013 at 3:51 pm

      Nich which states are you in? Cos I’m also here ‘in the states’ and most shops have return policy of 30 days or more

  10. Ok o

    April 23, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    Abeg try before buying o.Some Nigerians abroad buy somethings especially clothes for an occasion and after rocking them ,they return claiming some kind o factory fault .i don’t agree to even returning textiles.Shop owners should also should make their policies known to their customers

  11. JOJO

    April 23, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    nice write up however i concur with aggrieved 9ja customer.

  12. xoxo

    April 23, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    Is it that bad. ok

  13. cotonou chick

    April 23, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    Exactly what I needed to learn today. Recently a lady customer told me she wont be buying from me because of a difference of 500frs Cfa. As at now that I read this, I realy should have let her “win” by taking the 500. The thing is she only appears once in a blue moon. I run a shoe shop in Cotonou and I always tell my customers to try them, I wont mind.

  14. cotonou chick

    April 23, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    And the saloon where I do my hair, they too lost me and everybody I had taken there simply because I went to comb my hair, the same hair they fixed o on womens day and left. Later they sent their apprentice to come collect 500frs cfa from my shop! I wasnt impressed as I could as well do it in my shop bc I hv a mirrow and a comb there. I told her outright that she had just lost not only me but every other person whom I introduced to them. I told a couple of friends who were shocked and have recently gotten new saloon where they go to. As luck would hv it, I discovered a more talented naija girl who is not as costly too! I ve learnt a great deal from this post. Thanx Author!

  15. Sade

    April 23, 2013 at 4:56 pm

    @Kola S, says who if they are effective. I just returned 5 chandeliers from NEXT HOME, and none of them were defective. NONE. I bought 5, because I wasn’t sure which i would like until I got home. I was given 28days to return it, and when i got ot the store, I said I didn’t like how it looked, and i got my full refund. In the same trip I also returned curtains from IKEA because I didn’t like how it looked in my house. None of them were defective. I cant count how many clothes, shoes, bags, even electronics that I have returned. So you are not being factual please

  16. Sade

    April 23, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    defective*

  17. Fifi

    April 23, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    I run a catering firm and trust me nigerians are not easy customers.i once made a delivery to a so called “lagos big girl” took her almost a month after to pay me my money and hen told me she wasnt payin for moimoi delivered because they were sour…i apologised n promised to send her complimentary moimoi…she called n texted me forva week to remind me of my promise…word o mouth makes or breaks a business so i had to send her the moimoi…

    • Mo'blezzin

      April 23, 2013 at 9:19 pm

      Yes oh!…I cater in the US as well and have had several situations occur(esp with moimoi) This past weekend I made delivery for this very annoying guy, after he placed his order, he started arguing price with me and ended up paying me barely enough for to make any profit. Next day he called to say the stew wasn’t enough because ” I eat a lot of stew…#justsaying” (he even had the audacity to #justsaying me!!!).
      I told him I’ll make it complimentary….In my mind am cursing the guy out by the truckloads, but mehn a smart business person knows that the term “the customers is always right” is not just a cliche….word of mouth is everything.
      Most ‘shop’ owners in Nigeria can never change…..even the younger ones have been indoctrinated into the culture(as we can see from the arguments above)…..Make them wait till internationally minded people come and take over the retail industry in Naija…na then dem go start to run from one baba to the other finding ‘aworo'(hehehe, too many yoruba movies)

  18. Fifi

    April 23, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    Sorry for the typos bloody ipad

  19. comment waiting moderation!

    April 23, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    Ibo’s are the worst,not be sentimental ,but heck they luv money! [email protected] aggrieved 9ja customer,saying you have to sample opinion from friends,abt the purchased stuff! Seriously?

  20. sade A

    April 23, 2013 at 5:32 pm

    @Kola S point of correction clothes or wateva u return in the UK do not ave to be defective. as long as you return it during the return time stated with your receipt u get your money back… Get your facts right!!!!!

  21. samm

    April 23, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    i had d same experience as d author,i did nt visit dat boutique again,if only dey understand d win-win formula

  22. xoxo

    April 23, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    What this also highlights is the need to stop or curb impulsive buying.

  23. Bisqo

    April 23, 2013 at 6:43 pm

    @KolaS and Sel, items do not have to be defective before you can return them, simply stating your displeasure will get you a refund, and exchange or a credit note depending on what you are returning and the store you are returning it to. Some items like underwear/swimsuits can be returned with caution, but you need to have everything in place-I have returned a swimsuit before that I bought for my daughter which ended up being too small when she tried to “try” it on at home-. At the end of the day, a store cannot force a customer to hold on to something that they do not want. It’s tough but that it the way life is. Some stores sef, all you need is proof of purchase, which is the sticker on the item you bought in case you lose your receipt. Some stores like Ross will refund with receipt, without receipt, you will get a refund but at the price that the the item is currently being sold. One of the reasons why BBB (Better Business Bureau) exists, is for these type of issues where customers are dissatisfied. Some store owners truly do not know how to treat their customers… customer service in the States needs improving compared to that in London, but I think Nigerian store owners still have a way to go… my 2 cents!
    Good write up by the way.

  24. Nony

    April 23, 2013 at 7:10 pm

    You’re so right! Unfortunately many Nigerian establishments lack a sense of customer service. It’s a challenge looking past today’s sale to build customer loyalty by ensuring as many customers as you can are satisfied.

  25. Elizabeth

    April 23, 2013 at 8:23 pm

    Some of these commentators are comparing CHAIN stores in the UK to INDEPENDENT/SMALL stores in Nigeria.It is only the big chains that have these good return policies.I would say about 50% of independent stores have a no return/only refund policy and tell you when you buy.

    • Bisqo

      April 23, 2013 at 10:03 pm

      …but at least they tell you, abi??? Isn’t that better than getting the shock of your life when you want to return something that doesn’t fit right? In addition, most of these smaller stores/boutiques do have their own refund/return policy clearly stated on their receipt or placed somewhere that the customer can see. It is usually an exchange policy, where you can only exchange if it is not defective (or the defect was not caused by them), and can return due to manufacturers defect, but even that is clearly stated, so the buyer is buying at his/her own risk. It is only if you go to the clearance stores that the shop floor assistants will tell you that, the items you are buying are non refundable/non returnable and it is written clearly on the receipt. I do not believe a customer should be forced to hold on to something they have bought that they have issues with. I’m not condoning bad behavior of knowingly and deliberately buying something with the intention of using it then returning it to ask for a refund. Some people have a habit of doing that to the extent that when you see them in the/your store, you won’t even feel like serving them. I used to work in Selfridges back in the day… the customer was always right, but mehnn, some peeps are evil abeg!

  26. Elizabeth

    April 23, 2013 at 8:24 pm

    I’m referring to the UK

  27. Cool cat

    April 23, 2013 at 9:50 pm

    Many people go into business with the prerequisite qualifications and do not even take the time to improve their knowledge of the business. I know of a very rich man who people come to every day for start up money and he only has one request-bring me a business plan. Of course most of these people go away and curse him as being stingy but owning a business is not just about stumbling on a sizeable amount. If you do not know that the customer is king, then your business will fail very quickly. To shop owners who think there are many fish in the ocean and other customers will come, also know that there are many shops offering the exact same products as you. If you drive 1 customer away, rest assured it will become your modus operandi and you will continue to treat many more customers badly.

    Second qualification is business management. Do you keep track of your cost of operation? Who is your target market and are you located where it will best serve them? Are you getting high off your own supply and are you keeping track of your competition? Many businesses in Nigeria remain open just to save face but their books are in shambles.

    The market is no longer driven by price but by service delivery.

  28. whocares

    April 23, 2013 at 11:50 pm

    @ Kola- that not true.. that defective rule you just made up my good man is purely a fiction of your imagination. you have the right to return whatever you do not like within a reasonable period of time of course. and why do you need a legislation for this? it is a simple business transaction in which the ordinary principles of contract law will suffice. thats the business aspect of it the law has taken care of. what matters here is customer service.. the law should not prescribe how people treat their customers.. it is common sense. if you treat people right they will come back its as simple as that. of course we will make allowance of customers that take the piss, they should be swept out of shops with a broom. lool. how businesses chose to deal with this depends on them, but it just pays to do a long term profit- loss evaluation before decisions are made is all.

  29. Deedee

    April 24, 2013 at 9:23 am

    This is very good piece, the customer is always right, here in the UK, the customer service is wonderful, they treat so well that you always want to go back. Sadly, my dear Naija shop owners still have a long way to go with customer service issues, cos some can be very rude and aggressive to their customers.

  30. Oma

    April 24, 2013 at 9:46 am

    Hmmmm…..love this article. Learnt a few things from it (and some of the comments too, lol) as an aspiring entrepreneur. It’s not just shop owners oh or shop assistants or traders, etc. I have issues with any service provider not knowing how to take care of their customers. Case in point – cab drivers in Abuja. I don’t know about cab drivers in any other city so can’t speak for them. Imagine calling my ‘usual’ cab driver to come to my house to take me to work. I usually pay him a standard amount. But this beautiful morning he got to my house and as soon as I got into the car, he turned it off and said ‘sister your money today go be xxxx’. I was stunned, to say the least! I asked why and he said there is fuel scarcity. I asked him why he didn’t tell me over the phone (mind you he had made me wait till I had about 20 minutes or so to get to work and it was raining as well, which was my main reason for calling him) and he goes ‘sister you know you be my customer, blah, blah…after trying to get him to reconsider (imagine me begging this fool to take my money and he was still acting up) and he was adamant that he wouldn’t take less than the price, I asked him if I should leave his car then, he said that I should! O_o wth!! I left his car and walked without and umbrella in the rain to get another cab. Needless to say, I never called him again, will never call him again or introduce customers to him and have refused to enter his cab even when I see him on the road! Rubbish!

  31. Anonymous

    April 24, 2013 at 11:04 am

    Speechless @ ibos are the worst. I sell stuff too and i have given a full refund to my dissatisfied customers and for weaves, a replacement. Didn’t even collect the one i sold. Of course she has purchased again from me and even referred people. Maybe cos i shop abroad i know what good customer service is and its benefits outweigh the downside if any.

  32. ada's pride

    April 24, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    In fact Elizabeth I click like to this your comment. Some of dem are Here ranting and comparing Macy’s, Pri mark and what have you to small retail stores in one small plaza in Yaba or Garki. Most of these small scale business owners in Nigeria are all for just selling out and travelling to stock up the . So where would they have learnt the whole customer satisfaction thing. Don’t get me wrong am not supporting the non-satisfaction thing( cos I have once been mistreated by store owners) am just getting to those comparing US and UK to Nigerian factor. However I strongly believe that business owners here still have a lot to learn in the customer satisfaction department.

  33. The Media Junkie

    April 24, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    It’s amazing how many business owners have no idea of these “tricks” in 20-13. Very well written Bukola.

    Interested? Free training for bloggers – teesdiary.wordpress.com/2013/04/24/free-tolus-bloggers-training/

  34. LagosMums

    April 24, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    Great write up. Such a long way to go to realize the value of good customer service benefits both seller and buyer.

  35. tami

    April 24, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    I believe customers have a right to a refund if the item they purchased isn’t suitable. as long as u let them know the policy regarding refunds. people are always free to change their minds. The most important thing is that they are happy with their purchase and they r repeat customers. that’s y i like shopping with an online store called Apparels4u closet. they offer refunds as long as the item is in a good condition. they have a face book page and a website a4ucloset.com. like the writer said if u are happy u recommend. i am happy with the service from them and i am yet to have any reason to complain.

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