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Jasmine Howson-Wright: Nigerian Online Shoppers, Let’s Talk About Packaging

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Jasmine Howson-WrightI believe I have heard and probably said “All na packaging” too many times not to be overly conversant with the slang. I’m also probably too much of an optimist; it’s either that, or I deserve a dirty slap, because I believe that packaging is not bad but rather, a good thing (as long as it is not done for the wrong reasons or, just exaggerated).

Now however, all is not packaging; and much more than what is packaged, all really should be content! So after all the packaging is stripped off, what then? You still gonna want the goods/service? (Pardon my hustle attitude, but you’ll probably excuse it after having known ‘why’).

So like we all know, we are a cyber generation; everything we do now literally starts and ends in space (correction), on the Internet. From dating to marriage, studying and acquiring certificates, planning trips, banking, sharing ideas, blogging, literally everything, but none as heightened as purchasing (buying and selling). Now these are all great, and thank you technology! But (of course there is a ‘but’), when it comes to trusting a service that I have had no prior history with or, at least credible testimonies, I have learnt never to trust a complete stranger (business) because – ALL NA PACKAGING!

With the advent of technology and internet banking all one needs to do now is – see, like and transfer (O tan!) In a second, one individual should be credit happier, while the other, satisfied. In Nigeria though (as I can only speak from where the shoe pinches), the latter is most likely worse off, while the former is smiling sheepishly in their dreams at night. Whose fault? Packaging! Again, what should be a good advantage becomes a scam or just a catalyst for someone else’s headache!

Packaging to me is just not about the direct cover, beautification; like leather would be to the frame of a chair or, like makeup is to the face. For me it is totality; the assumption of finesse, of excellence (when it comes nothing close to it). It is service, customer service, details; everything about the business that one incorporates to make that small product or service rendered, seem bigger, better or more appealing to a complete stranger who, is in need of it. Nigerian’s in Business have not gotten a good grasp of this knowledge and mind you, even the household names are guilty of such crimes.

I saw, liked and decided to transfer funds to a certain business on Instagram because the business seemed legit and professional enough to trust and the item I hoped to purchase as well, ‘on point’. Everything in between the process of seeing and transferring funds (on my part o) was perfectly executed; I had sent a direct message, indicated my interest, was sent an email address were I listed my specifications and clearly too I must admit (this I confirmed after going through the history of my conversations with whoever I chatted with, when the whole thing almost went south). I eventually followed up with whats app messages and I believe I really did the ‘necessary’. However, the level of packaging this business had must be the best I have yet seen!

First of all, communication channel – Zero! I must have spoken with a 100 people (exaggerating of course) on one basic issue, ‘My preference on the order’. I would find myself having to go through the same explanation on different days (and nope, I was not calling Globacom customer service).

Secondly, knowledge of business – Zero! I (the customer), had spelled out what I wanted and I didn’t decide to buy a telephone from a bakery or books from a restaurant either. My inquiry for the item I wanted was specific to the service they ‘obviously’ were rendering. So, it did get me a bit agitated realizing I somehow was doing their job; goggling simple information on something they portrayed to provide, suggesting formats…you name it.

Thirdly, on professionalism – let’s not even dare go there because, this was an Epic Fail! Command tones replaced polite request (when clarifying certain information’s from me), diction – wauwu! Don’t get me wrong, there’s no harm in speaking poorly, it should not in any way define the individual but, do take cognizance of the fact that first of all, it is a projected business (meaning, it is no longer pass your neighbor), added to that, they already had a two count guilty charge, criminal enough for any business venture, why will you not now know how to write or speak properly? Even if that were the situation, whatever happened to employing an individual with good communication skills? It is a business first, not a joke.

Integrity and credibility – Non-existent! Following the mess of a conversation/communication, a transfer was still made (even after not being granted a discount as I solicited for, which was perfectly fine – their business their rules), by this time already approaching frustration, I hoped confirming the payment for their work (to be done) will slap some speed and professionalism in. Let’s just say, I hoped wrong! Worse still, I was given a 42 hour ultimatum for delivery; I received an abrupt and rather rude message 84 hours later. The content – Name of courier service, location of courier service and waybill number, finish! (And this came two days after I had messaged for an update on my item as at when authentically due), a “sorry for the late delivery” would have been in perfect order.  I brushed it off. Then, they just had to break the camels back with this last straw!

Disregard – This attendant, customer service personnel (s) or, in my opinion, brother to the actual owner of the business (because with everything gone wrong, I don’t want to believe that the individual who started this business, would hate the work of his hands, that much), in his cleverness, decided to disregard my contact (the actual person communicating with him), disregard me, and submit the information of another individual (who happened to unintentionally come into the equation – a third party) to the courier service. Then in the beauty of it all, sent me the waybill information and identification that was not (of course) me. I was that startled, I had no comment.

Fast-forward to pick up day – All mistakes lead to Eight words; “Sorry Ma, we cannot give you this item”. Gbam! A lot of senrenre was involved and embarrassment too but alas, I came out victorious… (It is really true what they say about looking back and laughing sha)

I’l reiterate again my lesson learnt – “when it comes to trusting a service that I have had no prior history with or, at least credible testimonies, I have learnt never to trust a complete stranger (business) because – ALL NA PACKAGING”!

Package if you must, but please, let’s us be sure that the actual service or content is worth everything and the packaging is just a little something extra…PLEASE!

I am sure I am not the only one with stories that touch on this matter. Please share your experiences or advice on how best to handle these situations below. Let us know how we will be going on this ‘packaging something’.

Foluke is unconventional. She is a Lagosian and holds a BS.c in International law and Diplomacy. An actor, writer, blogger, host and entrepreneur with a little more tricks up her sleeve. She is an optimist who loves God, food, love, life and the arts (however it is expressed) but is most passionate about writing and expresses herself best through it. She blogs at Email: [email protected] Instagram: @jasminwryts Twitter: @JasmineH_W

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