Nigerian Customers like other people around the world want nothing short of excellent customer service anywhere money has to change hands. We love it when we leave your shop/ office/ service centre feeling like we got our money’s worth. We understand that putting up the right show is necessary to help us feel welcome patronizing your business but there are these plain annoying things you do that rub off on us in the wrong way in your efforts to make us come back again.
1. The fake smiles. We can tell from the starched look and the equally starched contrasting wide smile. You really do not have to smile if you don’t want to. We understand that you may be having a bad day as we normally do sometimes. This doesn’t happen every time and surprising as it is to you, we believe you are human too. Be polite however, and probably let us know how you are feeling at that time if it won’t be too much information.
2. The constant doting over the customer – We don’t always need someone following us around asking “Aunty, what do you want to buy”? Give us space to have a feel of your shop and what you have to offer. We appreciate your eagerness to help but not with that feel of following us around like we would shop-lift if you took your eyes off us for a minute.
3. The standard ‘customer care’ lines: This one line or couple of lines we can almost always recite with the customer care representative. “Your request has been logged and our Engineers are working on it” or “We apologise for inconveniences caused, we will get back to you in due time”. These lines tick us off so much that one starts another round of questions and outbursts wanting to know what the Engineers will be doing anyway and when exactly is ‘due time’ and when exactly the issue raised will be resolved. Cut those ‘training-school speak’, and relate with us in easy, plain ‘I- understand-what-you-are-going-through’, ‘I empathize with you’ language.
4. The patronising ones telling you how nice you look, how another scoop of ice-cream is ok, and who border line flirt and who just keep on talking and talking trying to convince you to buy this and that. We get that friendly and even funny remarks may be incentive enough for a customer to buy an extra muffin but please know how much rambling is needed before you begin to irritate your customer.
5. That those pretty good compliments you pass are not exclusive to us. “Aunty ya hair is fine…” to every Bola, Ngozi and Halima. Be creative… something like “this hair style looks very good on you and this other hairstyle will sure look very good on you too… etc. Be creative again; don’t pass the same compliment customer X and then to customer Y and X and A all at the same time.
6. Service officers that are extremely polite and everything else but helpful. Nice warm reception but you won’t help look for an item you obviously see we have problems locating in your store. No, we will rather not that long explanation of where in the store to get it when you can simply walk up to where it lies and hand it over to us or attempt to point us in the direction. And yes, running out of stock or not offering that service we request for is not a bad thing but not having information no matter how little on where else to get what we need can set us off. If you really do not know, attempt to help us find an answer.
7. Unless we make a mistake in calculating our bill and hand you more money than we should, you shouldn’t paint our slip-ups or wrong assertions/assumptions in bright red colours of ‘I told you so’. No, we are King, always right and we take that seriously. Correct us in kindness, flashing the best of your rehearsed smiles to mask your irritation (thank you very much) and make excuses on our behalf- we are always ultimately right.
8. Time to go and after you successfully get us smiling through your door, your enthusiastic door-keeper says, “Chairman, happy Sunday… anything for me”, “give me the change wey dey ya hand na…” This one sends us right through the door and sometimes never back again unless it is the only choice we got and instead of exiting with a smile, we flee!
10. Making it so obvious you are putting up your warm attitude to have us come back again. One word, be subtle.
Oh, we skipped the ninth point? Well, yes… please don’t get everything right and then in the most random way, skip one customer to attend to the other on a queue or give any sort of preferential treatment… first to arrive customers get attended to first and everyone gets treated equally. Yes, even though you offer VIP or VVIP – every customer is entitled to a walking through your door feeling like royalty.
image rights: demotix images