See ehn, Let us even agree that some policies of this administration are crippling several emerging and existing businesses. One major killer of businesses in Nigeria that is largely not talked about is poor customer service. Today, I was at one of these banks in the Central Area of Abuja when a ‘uniformed’ man walked in. A few moments later, I got to understand he had been frequenting the branch over an issue that had lingered for several weeks. An issue that had prevented him from having access to his salary, even after he had submitted to the bank all that was required of him. He sat in front of the Customer Care lady and narrated how much the issue had caused him. He spoke of how the time given to him by the bank to resolve the issue in question had since elapsed and his wife had begun to look at him like a liar. As he lamented, the Customer Care lady was busy fiddling with her iPhone, and giggling. Yet, he continued. He spoke of how his children had to sleep without food last night. He narrated how it took the intervention of a neighbour for his wife and kids to have some food to eat this morning. Yet, the Customer Care lady was engrossed with what she was viewing on her phone. Visibly frustrated, he pleaded with her to do all that she can to ensure the problem is rectified as he had not had a meal since morning. This was around 2:05pm.Just then, the Customer Care lady took a break from her phone, raised her head, flipped her wig, smiled and answered,“Oga, even as you’re talking to me like this, I have also not eaten anything today!”
Beloved brothers and sisters in the Lord, this was when I saw another dimension of anger. Like a man possessed by several demons, the man began to behave like someone in an epileptic fit. Anger took possession of him. He stood up and grabbed the chair that he sat on. It took the intervention of ‘able-bodied men’ (yours sincerely not included) to prevent the uniformed man from smashing the chair on the lady’s head. Soon after the man was persuaded out of the banking hall by the security men on duty and those who surrounded him, some staff of the bank who had gone into hiding as the man threw tantrums suddenly began to emerge one after the other.
They huddled around the lady, with some of them mimicking the man, and then burst into raucous laughter. As I walked out of the premises, I could not help but remember the nasty experience that I had a last year. There was this guy who marketed his product on Social Media. I became his regular customer. His product was good. Unfortunately, there was this large purchase that I made, and had to return because the product had gone bad. Since he had a physical office, I found my way there, only to be confronted by a lady who was introduced to me as the manager. I explained my predicament to her, told her that her boss had suddenly become ‘unreachable,’ and how it would be nice if I can get a replacement for the bad product, or get my money back. She pressed her phone and chewed loudly on her bubble gum as I narrated my plight to her. After a while, she raised her head, stared at me, and said, ‘Is it because of the small money that you spent in buying our product that’s making you to raise your voice like this? You better go and learn how to talk!” Say whaaaaaatt????How I managed to keep my cool remains a mystery till this day.
I simply looked at her and said, if you guys continue like this, trust me, you will soon be out of business. I left the product on their desk and walked out. Barely six months later, the business folded up. Are you a business owner in Nigeria? Are you wondering why your sales has been dwindling? Are you wondering why your loyal customers are no longer returning?Distinguished MD and CEO, the government or your village pipu may not be solely responsible for your predicament. With all due respect, this may just be the time to take a second look at your customer service and public relations. Meanwhile, let me go and buy fuel for my generator. We no get light.
®Thursday, 17 March 2021.