Customer service in Lagos, Nigeria is basically non-existent. Not a single week passes in which I do not have something to complain about. Anyone who knows me or follows me on Twitter would have come upon my rant sessions. I have had it and will perhaps continue to. There are a few things, however, I’d like service providers to realise. They probably won’t. Oh well. I tried. I shall rant still.
A Smile Will Open The Door To A Person’s Wallet
I walk through your door, needing a service. I will be paying for this service. I will be adding to turnover, your profits. I will be contributing in a measure, to your livelihood. No I do not care if you’ve just received a strongly worded telling off from your boss for watching Africa Magic for the umpteenth time and forgetting to confirm that appointment. No, I do not care whether you’ve had an upsetting night and morning staring at the ginormous pimple that’s smack in the middle of your forehead and would drop your prospective mistress points when that handsome, regular, leering and also married customer comes in next. No, I do not want to know that your break was due to start a millisecond before I walked in and appeared at your desk. When I do walk in, I expect a warm, inviting smile. The kind that disarms me even if you have held my internet connectivity captive for days and I was coming to your office to ‘tell you who I am’. The kind that derails my train of curse-filled thoughts and words dribbling at my lips when curiously, all the airtime loaded on my phone disappears.
But let’s even assume I’m coming to your office anew. You must smile. I do not understand why receptionists, front desk officers, tellers, and other first point of entry servicemen find this concept alien. One arrives at an office, needing a service; you are met with a steely frown, even at an early hour. It boggles my mind. Sometime ago, after a stressful week, some friends and I decided to head to a spa. We were bone tired. We literally staggered through the front door. My back and thighs especially needed some cold-blooded kneading. We approached the front desk. We met the receptionist; nose turned up, eyes hawkish and narrowing, rude pout delicately set. ‘YES?!’ she greeted us. Perhaps she thought who are these twenty-something’s waltzing into our overpriced spa, needing something? How dare they? How dare I come and spend money tirelessly worked for, expecting a warm smile and a quick direction to the massage table before my legs gave out, indeed!
A Stated Time Is a Must-Keep Promise
“How long will it take for the food to be ready?”
“15 minutes, sir”
45 minutes later, when I’ve perhaps drained my drink, lost my temper and even appetite, the food arrives.
“Apologies, sir… but…”
NOPE. I DO NOT WANT TO HEAR IT. You see, a stated time is a promise. Restaurants mostly run afoul of this. Always. If a waiter tells me my meal/drink will be ready in 10 minutes time, I expect it in 10 minutes. If you say 45 minutes, I won’t expect it earlier or later than that. This past holiday on a lazy Monday evening, craving a cocktail and laughs off overheard IJGB conversations and mangled accents, I headed to a popular restaurant by the lagoon. Cocktail menu briskly appeared and my eyes soon picked up a cocktail named ‘Screaming Orgasm’ I had to have it. What a name! Would it bring me to a tumultuous climax of sorts? Would it send me to cloud 9, perhaps higher? My curiosity was hot and throbbing. I made my order. 8.30pm. Jokes danced around the table about the cocktail I ordered and laughter ensued. Affected accents from the next table found their way to my ears. More laughter. I was having a fun time. Time passed. 9.15pm my drink had still not arrived. I called on the waiter. The young lady had the audacity to roll her eyes. Entitled me, thinking I deserved an apology for the tardy service or worse still, the drink.
Service Charge/Tips Can Not Be Mandatory
‘Service Charge’ by my simple understanding means charge for service rendered. At restaurants, I take this to mean, how you are served. When however I am served poorly, which is as good as no service at all, it confuses me to no end, why am I expected to PAY for this service! No small charge I must add. Why should I part with N1, 500 thereabouts after you almost poured pepper soup in my crotch, setting the saucer indelicately, close to the edge of the table? Also, some restaurants have now taken to adding a tab for tips on the bill. The ones who don’t; the waiter will hover around your table and flash one patronising smiles, waiting for a minty bill or two (N500 upwards, preferably) to drop into their palm, regardless he/she served me the next table’s order and had argued that I was the one at fault.
One or all three episodes I bet would have happened to you before, perhaps worse. Share! Angry customers need to stick together.
Photo Credit: sebastianbooksblog.wordpress.com
Ayodeji Rotinwa is a writer. He believes satire should be the palm oil in which words are eaten. He hopes, on here, you will not choke. His fiction (which he also writes) can be your water. He is currently a penman for ThisDay (Style) Newspapers and you can find him and others running word riots on a creation of his, http://www.theurbanemix.com/, an online magazine on Nigerian culture, social commentary and literary works. You can follow him at @ayodejirotinwa on Twitter.