Johnson Babalola
May 5, 2024

Nigerians and the Crucial Role of Customer Service

A recent visit to a local restaurant in Abuja sparked contemplation on the pivotal role of customer service in business viability. Amidst the delightful flavors of succulent fresh fish, seafood okra and smooth pounded yam, the subdued atmosphere of the nearly deserted eatery raised questions about its dwindling patronage.

Conversations with locals, including VT, our cab driver, unveiled the restaurant’s journey from bustling success to near oblivion. VT recounted how the establishment’s downfall was swift, owing to pervasive rudeness among the staff and management. In a community where word-of-mouth reigns supreme, poor customer service became its downfall.

This narrative echoes a broader malaise afflicting Nigerian businesses: the neglect of customer service. Rather than addressing this vital aspect of success, many entrepreneurs resort to seeking supernatural intervention or assigning blame to external forces. Yet, the crux of the issue lies within their grasp.

Consider the builder who compromises on quality for immediate gains, only to find himself bereft of repeat business. Blaming others, including imagined witches and enemies becomes second nature, obscuring the opportunity for introspection and improvement.

Similarly, the tomatoes seller who responds to a low offer with curses instead of diplomacy sabotages her own sales potential. The cab driver who prioritizes financial gain over client satisfaction undermines trust and loyalty, missing the bigger picture.

In fields ranging from law and medicine to real estate and entertainment, the pattern persists. The lawyer who talks down to vulnerable clients, the doctor whose staff lacks empathy, the real estate professional who markets the wrong properties, and the musician who arrives late to performances – all these instances exemplify a disregard for customer service.

Lack of empathy, integrity, and competence corrodes the foundation of success, leading practitioners to seek refuge in external scapegoats.

To foster sustainable growth, indigenous businesses must heed the call for exemplary customer service. Effective communication, prompt response times, robust knowledge, unwavering integrity, demonstrated competence, genuine empathy, and steadfast support including post sale or delivery engagement constitute the pillars of exceptional service delivery.

When businesses embody these principles, they not only cultivate customer loyalty but also drive individual and national growth. Conversely, neglecting the importance of customer service perpetuates a cycle of mediocrity and missed opportunities.

In the intricate mosaic of Nigeria’s economic landscape, the prosperity of indigenous enterprises hinges on their embrace of customer service as a linchpin of success. As we traverse the complexities of entrepreneurship, let us remember that genuine personal, business and national progress stems from a commitment to excellence in every interaction, ensuring that no avenue for advancement is left unexplored.

Johnson Babalola, a Canada and Nigeria based lawyer, leadership consultant, storyteller and corporate emcee, is a public affairs analyst. Follow him for discussions on real life issues that affect us all.

You can obtain a copy of his newly released book, REJECTED on Amazon, FriesenPress, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Google Play, Apple Books, Nook Store etc.