Some days ago, I happened to be at a certain store with my sister to get a variety of things (which I was doing) but then, I was starving and weak. I had been out all day and still had other things to achieve so before a sister would break down (all because of no food), I branched off to their food section.
Now, a funny incident occurred: I was standing and waiting for the guy serving to finally “judge” that it was my turn to be served but that never happened. Instead, he kept on attending to other people – all of who came after me and he didn’t deem it necessary to say, “I’ll be with you shortly” or as most Nigerians will say “please I’m coming”.
This story got even more interesting to me (after all, I had become more or less a spectator there), when this lady walks up there (and she’s obviously a staff, because she was wearing their uniform), calls out to one of the attendants in Hausa. The attendant comes out, gives her all she orders and walks away leaving all of us- THE CUSTOMERS- unattended to. While all this was happening, my stomach was still being neglected and started clamouring for more attention.
To cut the long story short, after complaining and shouting off to the guy who had been neglecting the honourable presence of yours truly, me, he finally came my way (and I couldn’t have been happier.) Then, he turned and began to take the order of the person beside me and I said to myself “Onyinye, don’t go all out on him right now. Please don’t” and then I kept my cool. Please give me your eyes here, I’m going somewhere with this.
Now this person ordering happened to be requesting for the exact item I was eyeing and drooling over. I politely complained and when Mr-I-Know-What-I’m-Doing was done, I enthusiastically started giving him my order only to see him answering someone else AGAIN; now that was the peak of it all. It even got worse when I heard the person say “please give me 5 of that. In short, give me everything you have there!”.
Ah! My heart just melted- it felt like sugar cubes which cold water had just been poured on. With anger (in my heart), I just walked down to the store’s payment counter with my trolley (while lamenting), and said to the attendant “I don’t want the things in it anymore”. Immediately after which I proceeded straight on to their direct competition in the same shopping mall (unfortunately, they don’t sell food) to do my groceries shopping. And actually, I have always preferred this one cause they are way nicer and they treat customers better.
Did I mention there were 2 other people who were in my shoes too? We had all been waiting forever! My issue really is, this wasn’t a one-off incidence; I’ve seen it happen over and over again. Whenever I experience or hear tales such as this, it saddens me. Honestly. I just can’t help but wonder how communication can be so hard.
When will Nigerian businesses get it? When will we understand that: great customer service + great communication + good products/services rendered= LOYALTY and REFERRALS?
As far as I’m concerned, when customers are happy and satisfied, they’ll keep coming back but when the opposite is the case, they’ll not just ditch you but be sure there would be no referrals and like it or not, “word of mouth” goes a long way.
A friend of mine gave me the gist of how she went to a certain bank to open a corporate account. After making inquiries at the customer service desk, she said “ok then, I’ll be back” and the lady who attended to her laughed. When she asked what was funny and the lady said “you and I both know you aren’t coming back”. When she said that to me, I was dazed. A customer service staff member at a bank actually said that? Hmmm. Na wa o! Needless to say, I took that information on board and made a subconscious note to ensure I never opened an account with that bank as this wasn’t even the first time I was hearing someone complain about the attitudes of their staff members.
Attitude in business is“the koko”.
Recently, I’ve had reason to do business with a certain big and popular hotel here in Abuja but what was surprising to me was how poor their communication and customer service was. I actually said to their manager “if the choice was mine and I had other alternatives, I wouldn’t even consider you guys anymore”. People need to realise that there is a thing called “recommendation”. If there was a friend who asked what their service is like, I’ll definitely be quick to say “crappy” and run them down and that wouldn’t be because I want to run their business down but actually, because I’m being blunt and honest.
All I’m trying to say is, we need to pick up the ball in Nigeria. Are there a few businesses getting it right? Of course. But more are getting it wrong and it’s gotten so bad- to the extent that when someone is being nice (while doing the job) around here, we begin to feel there’s something fishy going on. Sone people even find themselves saying thank you a million and one times just because someone is doing his or her job the way it ought to be done.
But hey, I would rather go to a place where I’m made to feel like my money is valued and I’m treated nicely than go to a place where it’s “if you like buy, if you like don’t buy. We’ll still be successful with or without you”. We humans want to be valued; ALWAYS. Make your customers feel valued and they’ll keep coming back.
Bellanaijarians thoughts? Please put them down in addition to your experiences- bad or good. Adios compradres.
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