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Jennifer Nagu: Making the Case for a Good Customer Service

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Shop A is a great store. Shop B is an equally great store.

Shop A offers quality and value for money. Shop B offers pretty much the same.

Both stores are one and the same in many ways, but for one differentiating factor –  great customer service.

To walk into Shop A is to walk into a booby trap. There are fewer sales reps. Sales reps often become disgruntled with increased workload and to keep up, discard all principles of excellent customer service.

Whereas in Shop B, customers are  welcomed at the doorway by smiling customer service reps mentioning their first names. Here, you have chair massage booths, complimentary gift cards and lots of discounts.

To many people, Shop A offers the basics, but Shop B offers the basics plus an assurance of a remarkable ease of doing business. In Shop B you are assured of smoothness and less tussle with customer service representatives.

Good customer service is a vital key to running a successful business.

The benefits of great customer service cannot be over-emphasized. It promotes brand loyalty. It increases the amount of money each customer spends in your business. It aids business and revenue growth. It generates a positive word-of-mouth appraisal and improves your company’s reputation.

They say, in an age where you can buy anything online, a great store has to be more than just a place to spend your money. It is has got to be a place that makes you want to spend your time. Good Customer service makes your customers return

According to Nielsen Trust in Advertising Report, “Recommendations from people I know” was topped the list of reasons consumers returned to purchase from companies. A satisfied customer will always recommend your business to family and friends.

I purchased a ripped shirt from a store in Lagos and I needed to replace it. I walked into the store the following day within busy work hours, with intentions to quickly make a swap. I only had 30 minutes.

Approaching the customer complaints desk, I lodged my complaint. She said, “Please wait”. She kept smiling at something on her phone. She tapped her colleague, pointing to the object of her fascination. They exchanged glances, and giggled excitedly. I said, “Can you attend to me please?

She rolled her eyes; sluggishly dropped the phone, stretched for what seemed like an eternity and went to get the new shirt.

This is an example of common customer service negatives displayed across the country. To correct this, business owners will need to do more to hire well, train employees, and ensure employees are loyal to company vision and values. Here are few practices that could help for improved customer service

  • Smile when greeting a customer, in person or over the phone
  • Be proactive and ask how you may be of service
  • Stay available, but don’t hover
  • The customer standing in front of you takes precedence over one calling over the phone
  • Treat all customers the same way, regardless of age and appearance.
  • Don’t make faces
  • Do not raise your voice
  • Use the words ‘please’ and ‘thank you’
  • Show empathy

Let’s work together to improve the customer service culture in Nigeria

Photo Credit: © Artem Medvediev | Dreamstime.com

Jennifer Nagu is a Lagos based Freelance-writer, editor and Aviation professional, specializing in Aviation, wellness and travel related matters. She has published work with notable media platforms across Africa, like Ynaija of the Red media group, Guardian Nigeria Newspaper, New York based wellness publication Thrive global, founded by mogul Arianna Huffington and Ndalo media's Habari Magazine. She holds a degree in communications from Covenant univerity and an IATA diploma in Airline Quality diploma from Geneva.

2 Comments

  1. Chimduga

    March 28, 2018 at 7:39 pm

    Well said!
    I walked into a bookshop recently and greeted a woman I saw sitting(nonchalantly) inside. She answered me with no eye contact whatsoever. After a few seconds of waiting for a reaction from her, I then asked if she worked there to which her response was “ah you see me sitting down here and you’re asking me again” That was my cue to leave and not return again!
    Another time, I went to a store in one mall in Lagos to buy popcorn that cost 500NGN. The lady asked me if it was to be eaten there or taken away, I said eat-in! Walked to a table to seat only for a worker there to shove me aside and tell me my popcorn is takeaway so I can’t sit down. Well, the drama lasted a while because I couldn’t make sense of his point neither did I understand why he was rude. It took some other workers to tell him to go away and they played it off calmly saying ‘that’s how he is’. Let’s just say that’s the last time I bought something from them.
    If only business owners/staff know how important good customer service is to their business eh!

  2. Pete

    March 31, 2018 at 8:55 am

    Nigerian businesses need to grow beyond the “One Man Business” mentality- where emotions come to play and owners think they have “arrived” when profit booms. They therefore lose touch with what got them there in the first place and further go on to employ staff (many, underpaid and unmotivated BTW).
    Wondering why your business, sales and others might slowly be debilitating? It could just be your Customer Service Culture. Yes, make it a culture.
    Thanks to the ever insightful author of this piece for covering yet another pertinent topic centred on a better people and culture in Nigeria.

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