Imagine yourself as the customer. You just spent your hard-earned money on a certain product/service, and now needs assistance to resolve a problem you encountered after the purchase. So, you call the company’s customer service helpline, and after minutes of listening to some ‘useless’ messages, a tired (and perhaps irritated) voice of an agent speaks to you with utter disinterest. At the end of the conversation, you are more confused and frustrated; even as your challenge persists. Now that is the typical customer service experience in Nigeria!

Let’s imagine a different scenario; you are inside a banking hall on a Monday morning trying to quickly resolve an ATM card issue before rushing back to work. Meanwhile, the customer care officer attending to you is not helping your situation. Instead, she is frowning at you as though she feels like you are disturbing her peace on an early Monday morning.

She then ignores you the entire time, pretending to type on her desktop while you wait patiently. You end up waiting longer than necessary, even as a long queue of people waiting to be attended to begins to form behind you. Eventually, she gives you a form to fill out and tells you to return two days later with a police report…

Of a truth, there are so many Nigerians who have had some terrible customer service experiences. It is safe to say that in this part of the world, the saying that ‘the customer is king’ does not apply. Bearing this in mind, therefore, Nairametrics felt it is high time we discuss this topic. Moreover, this week is Customer Service Week.

Now before we dive right into this topic, let us have a little insight into the origin and entailment of the Customer Service Week.

It dates back to 1984…

The International Customer Service Association (ICSA) established the Customer Service Week in 1984. Ever since then, the event has been celebrated annually during the first week of every October. Interestingly, the annual event is such a big deal in some parts of the world, especially in the United States of America where it received a legislative proclamation in the USA back in 1992.

Business day

On the other hand, many Nigerians, for a long time, were relatively unfamiliar with the event. But with the help of globalisation, many are getting to join in on the celebration every first week of October.

In any case, the Customer Service Week remains a great initiative which helps to shed light on the importance of an effective relationship between businesses and customers.

Customer service in Nigeria: An overview

In all fairness, the truth is that virtually every company in Nigeria is guilty of poor customer care representation. Rarely can one point to a particular industry and say with confidence that customers always receive the best form of assistance when need be.

Deal book 300 x 250
Deal book 300 x 250

However, for the purpose of this article, we have decided to focus on three key sectors of the economy which we feel have the worst customer service in Nigeria. Customer Service, by the way, has to do with all forms of assistance and advice availed to customers who buy and use companies’ products and services.

Standard chartered

Top three industries with the worst customer service in Nigeria   

Chances are that you already know the answer to this. But we have to say it nonetheless; below are the top three industries with the worst customer care in Nigeria:

  • The banking sector,
  • The telecommunication sector,
  • And the power sector.

The Banking Sector: There is no gainsaying the fact that many Nigerian banks have a long way to go before they get the idea of customer service right. As a matter of fact, banks will need to continually train and retrain their employees on proper customer care practices. This is because many banks in the country have some of the worst customer care representatives in Nigeria.

Not only do these banks take so long to respond to customers, but they are also often impatient (if not clueless) when assisting customers to resolve their problems. Consequently, many Nigerians are already tired of them all. But apparently, they do not have a choice than to keep using them.

In a recent Twitter Poll conducted by Nairametrics, we asked our readers to tell us which bank in Nigeria offers the best customer service in the country. Unfortunately, their responses are indicative of the fact that many of these banks are guilty as charged.

The Telecommunication sector: This is perhaps the worst sector in Nigeria. Customers experience poor care right from the moment they purchase their SIM cards. SIM registration is typically fraught with difficulties. Customers then continue to experience challenges for as long as they use such SIM cards.

One Mr Kalu described his customer service experience with Nigerian telcos thus:

“The worst part about being a mobile phone user in Nigeria is that at some point you will need to call their customer care line, waste about thirty minutes and have your challenges unresolved.”

The Power Sector: Long before the privatisation of the Nigeria Electric Power Authority (NEPA), operators in the Nigerian power sector have always been known for ‘unpleasant’ customer service. Unfortunately, this has continued till date.

Now, not only is it bad that the service provided in this sector is poor, but their customer service representatives are also typically slow to respond and rude as well. This, perhaps, explains why a lot of ‘NEPA people’ are very much disliked.

So why are companies typically nonchalant with effective customer service?

As one of our readers responded on our Twitter poll, some companies typically focus less attention on customer service because it is not “a source of competitive advantage” to them.

Things need to change for the better…

In conclusion, Nigerian companies, in general, need to urgently do something about the ineptitude that characterise their customer service techniques. This is very important because customer service is an all-important aspect of every business organisation which should never be trifled with.

On that note, happy Customer Service Week to everyone.

9 COMMENTS

  1. My opinion, but I think your write up is a tired mash up of the usual suspects. Not very imaginative if I might add. What about aviation, the conglomerates, media, fast food businesses, healthcare etc

  2. There’s a hint of sarcasm in your response. That’s poor attitude to your readers. It’s the same thing that hails all those people you showcased up there. Its a cultural thing. We are a proud set of people who hates to admit that we are in the wrong.

  3. As for the person making corrections, the fact that u r the only one complaining shows either your ‘guilt’ or utter dislike for this fine writer. Just saying…

  4. For me the worst part of the customer service week was how they all kept spamming my boxes with messages about how they care. spits

    GTB took me through hell and back this year when i needed their services. The other banks have shown me pepper, but GTB took me on a return trip to hell. spits again

  5. Great write up on worst customer service offenders. The 3 sectors you mentioned are indeed leading culprits. You got my back. Keep it up.
    Let me ask. What’s really their problems?. Does it mean they don’t want to improve or they don’t know how to improve?

  6. To even make matters worse, customer service is just one touchpoint of what an organization needs to win the hearts, wallets, and sustained loyalty of customers – “customer experience.”

    Like one of your readers rightly highlighted, most companies are yet to see this aspect of optimizing their business as “a source of competitive advantage.” Maybe because they still offer personalized care to their biggest depositors (banks) and many would-be significant customers (power) use generators.

    However, for companies willing to invest along these lines, profits to them would troop in large quantities and steadily. As long as I know, investing in customer experience (that is all the touchpoints a customer takes before and after-sales) gets organizations to save significant sums trying to shove ads down the throat of people in an effort to claim what they not.

    Research by Salesforce revealed that when offered a better experience, customers are willing to pay more, recommend more, and become loyal, each with amazing stats closer to the 100%.

    We’ve identified the problems, but that would do no good or move any needle: That’s why my team at DigitalSprout NG is researching to help companies in Nigeria identify the values (revenues) involved by taking the entire customer experience cycle a must.

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