Forget the Customer! Around Here, the Product/Service Provider is King!
Happy New Month everyone!!!!!! And welcome to the beginning of the 2nd quarter of 2014. Goodness! This year is going so very fast like you cannot even imagine! But here is me hoping you had a great start…. even with the rain… You know what they say… showers of blessings ushering in the 2nd half. 😀
Great! On to my topic for today…
Original image in green (without the black text) culled from http://blog.mancx.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/customer-king-graphic.png
Somehow, either the product or service providers have forgotten this simple fact, or we as a people are so guilty of over-hyping them for their products or services that they seem to have conveniently forgotten that without us, their businesses would not exist.
Hardly any day passes that I do not hear about or read someone’s comments about being badly treated at the bank, the airport, some telecommunications company or even by their artisans. I’m sure many of you have found yourselves in at least 3 of the following situations at some point in time or the other…
1. You go to the bank and the customer services person or the lady behind the counter speaks to you (or someone else) in such a rude manner, you are left wondering if she does realise we are the ones paying her salary? Or worse, you feel the need to patronise her or call her “Aunty” before she actually attends to you?! This happens a lot, especially in banks that operate on the Mainland.
2. You ask for a job that is long overdue from one of your service providers, maybe your graphic artist or photographer, and he begins to act as if he is doing you a favour? In fact, you have to cajole him to release your work despite the fact that you are paying for it.
3. You get crap work from one of your vendors and when you insist on them doing the right thing, you are either insulted or made to feel like you are just being a pest for no reason.
4. You want to make enquiries about a product or service you would like to buy and you begin with “Sorry, I hope I am not disturbing you…” or some other kind of apology. And this is sooooo common around here. Why apologise when your enquiry will bring the person money?! I can never understand that mindset.
5. You go to a supermarket and the lady at the till gives you a receipt without your change because it is only N25. When you ask her for it, she tells you “I don’t have change, I’ll owe you.” When you insist she finds the change, she throws you a dirty look and does not move an inch till she realises you actually plan to collect your change.
Yes this picture should be the norm but I have often found that around here, those of us who suffer the bad customer service choose to continue to “reward bad service with more patronage”. Boycotting a certain company known for bad service does not really happen around here. But then again the sad truth is that the competitor is probably not any better. I am also guilty of this to be honest. For example my telecoms service provider had been so horrid for the past few months, but I am yet to leave because the alternatives are not any better. And we are soooo used to the so-called “Nigerian factor” (whatever that means) that noone expects anything to change.
I find it pathetic really because it shows who we are as a people. The concept of mutual respect is non-existent and one has to beg, bribe or tip someone to do their job. And worse, we Nigerians seem to be so hostile to one another but seem to be nicer to foreigners. I wonder why. If only someone took the time to fill out a customer feedback form, perhaps things can change. But then again, some might be worried that the staff would lose their job and then they would feel guilty! Well what I say is perhaps the rude staff should have thought of that first!
But I do have some good stories to tell though…
I remember having a horrid meal at a top-notch restaurant on the Island once. When the waiter asked me how the meal was, I told him point blank it was terrible. My companion asked me why I said that and I told him because it was the truth. Good thing I spoke up because guess what?! The waiter passed on the message to the chef who gave both of us some lovely dessert “on the house” as a way of compensating for the bad meal we just had. Now THAT is customer service!
In another similar incident, I was served rotten fish and when I complained and asked for the plate to be changed to chicken, they served me yet another plate with the same rotten fish! I was told the meal could not be changed to chicken because I had initially ordered for fish! Because we had paid for the meal upfront (as was the policy), the waiters and chefs sneered at me and told me I did not have a choice, I had to either eat it or leave the meal. Of course I did not plan to “leave it!”
After yelling and holding up the queue, the owner, who happened to be a foreigner, came out, listened to my story and served me a completely different meal. Furthermore, he kept checking on me every 5 minutes to see if I was happy with the meal. THAT is also good customer service.
Now if those nasty waiters and chefs had recognised that the customer was king and spoken to me nicely, I might have “left it” and focused on the chips or something else. But rather than resolve the issue amicably, they chose to intimidate me – something we consumers face constantly – especially the tiny ones like us…
I read this article on YNaija 2 days ago:
Pretty controversial but some of the views expressed there, especially the story of the mechanic, happen on a daily basis. Although the article is a bit different from the topic at hand, the sentiments are similar – how the people meant to serve us lord over us.
But do I blame the leadership? Nope. I blame the average individual working in an organisation who chooses to treat the next individual with such disdain. If such can happen in a small organisation then what do we expect from the larger society?!
All I can say at this point is, if you work in a company, big or small and you have the habit of treating your customers like crap simply because you think you can, just remember the words of Henry Ford:
Bigger companies around here who once had the best of services have crumbled. I wonder where those nasty employees are now?! I wish I could mention names but I’d rather not.
Have a good month everyone!!!