A friend of mine who lives in the United Kingdom was a Nigerian business some time ago. On his way back to London, they were already onboard the aircraft when it was discovered that it had a fault. It seemed like the fault could be corrected while they waited. Eventually, after 4 to 5 hours, they were asked to disembark from the aircraft. The airline offered to put them in a hotel until the following day when another aircraft could be arranged to take them to London.
When they mention the name of the hotel where they were to put the passengers, my friend protested. He told them that whenever he comes to Lagos, he stays in a five-star hotel. The airline officials would not change their minds. He has airline officials why they would not want to put their customers in the five-star hotel where they lodged their crew members. My friend told the airline officials that he would stay in the first-star hotel at his own expense and he left. Less than 60 minutes after taking to the hotel, the phone in his room rang. An official of that airline said, “we must apologise. We are quite sorry for what happened, and we will pick up your bills.” You will agree with me that my friend got that because he knew what he was supposed to get. When a customer is informed, the customer becomes very powerful and demanding.
Businesses have been able to take customers for granted in our country because of the ignorance of our rights. People offer products and services, and they think they’re doing us a favour and I think this is because ours is an economy that depends on government largely. Most of the funds in circulation revolve around a government, but the civil service has not been the best example of excellent customer service.
However, things are changing, and as our people become empowered, they will be more aware of the rights. The business environment will change. In the next ten years, businesses will not be as usual in this country, and if we do not change our approach to the customer, some businesses are going to fizzle out. It is not going to be just one person from London who knows how things are supposed to be that is going to be demanding. It will be just about everybody. We must be willing now to meet and exceed our customer’s expectation.
In business, the customer is the King. He is the one who has the money in his pocket. The competition in the GSM industry is very instructive. The service providers are offering more and more. Of course, some of them offer so much more in other countries. For example, some do not have validity periods for recharging one’s account as we have here. But as a customer is empowered, we will get there.
You see, if you’re going into business, you don’t try to make most of your money from your products but consumables. For instance, if you design the halogen lamp, you make money probably only once from the apparatus, but you make money regularly from the light bulb. The faster it gets burnt, the better for you. Of course, it’s not better for the customer. So you must strike a balance.
What happened to the GSM industry is going to happen to every sector of economic. We must be willing to treat people well. Most of the complaints that people have concerning customer service are usually not about the product or service, but it is about how they are treated. When you make people feel good about themselves, about you, and their transactions, you are very likely to win what we call customer loyalty.
Get ready to move your business to a new level as you treat your customers, specially. Treat them like kings.
You will succeed!
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