Most businesses are opened with the objective of meeting customers’ needs profitably. Every time a business fails to address a customer’s need, it is not fulfilling the purpose for which it was created.
I have in the past written about poor customer service experiences and I am going to share one I had this morning. Sometimes, I get breakfast on the way to work and this morning was no different. I had gotten my food at Sabo, Yaba and wanted the new Lipton drink to accompany it. I have a serious issue with getting sleepy at work and it helps me remain alert.
So, there’s this lady probably in her 60s selling cold drinks at the junction. I go there meet a few people waiting as the seller wasn’t there, after about 30 seconds she showed up and I asked for Lipton Peach. Her response was in Yoruba: “ko si Lipton Peach, nibo leti ri?” (there is no Lipton Peach, where have you seen it sold?) Essentially, she was telling me I was stupid for asking for something that wasn’t in the market in her opinion. I touched the lemon variant of Lipton she had, it felt dusty, wasn’t cold.
I simply moved on to the Total Petrol station at Alagomeji close to my office. Got there and found the Lipton Peach that the roadside seller insisted wasn’t in the market and insulted me for. I bought my drink and left.
Now, for me as an entrepreneur, business consultant and coach. There are several issues here.
The first is that the roadside seller exclusively with her attitude and words, chased away a possible repeat customer. Now, unless you really don’t understand what business is, this is a fundamental flaw that might inhibit the growth and progress of her business. Is she making money? Yes. Is she running the business properly? No. I am sure I won’t be the last customer she maltreats today. It adds up in the end.
Secondly, it is true that the peach variant of the new Lipton drink is harder to find than the lemon variant. Nonetheless, she shouldn’t have made the comments she made. A simple, “I don’t have Peach, please buy Lemon, it is also good” would have won me over despite it not being cold and being dusty, it is harmattan, I would have probably accepted it and rinsed the bottle before drinking it. After all, I no be ajebo (I think?).
Sometimes, people complain about their business failing but they don’t know that they are the architects of their own failure. You might say that you have good customer service as a business owner, but, have you checked how your staff treat customers? Is it at par with or better than yours? Or, is it worse? Often, customers might not have contact with the polite and courteous business owner, they relate with the rude and impatient staff. Where the business owner is the rude one, we can begin to write the obituary of the business, no need for postmortem as well. Just accept that poor attitude and customer service killed the business in all likelihood.
You cannot afford to be arrogant with customers as an entrepreneur — without them you don’t have a business. I hope you find my story not too boring and will take time to review your customer service culture in your organisation. I am doing the same for our business.
Meanwhile, does this post resonate with you as an entrepreneur? My name is Abdulkabir Olatunji and I would like to invite you to our Telegram group for current and aspiring entrepreneurs. It is growing every day and we share tips, information and support each other. Please join us by clicking the link https://t.me/joinchat/Kr_JaRJVwSMfiHYK0-vZMA. I look forward to meeting and interacting with you more.