From Abuja: To Service With Love

When I was invited to facilitate a workshop in Abuja, I was worried about the quality of our air service.
Here’s what actually happened…

  • #1: Lagos-Abuja, Oct 25, 2019. The deterioration of service was apparent almost immediately, when Arik Air shifted the flight from 1 pm to 4 pm, and back again to 1 pm – with test messages within a few hours of the flight!

  • #2: Abuja-Lagos, Oct 26, 2019. The service on the return flight was worse. I got the boarding pass counter at 4 pm for the 5 pm flight. And the flight attendant said, “the flight has been shifted to 8.45 pm; did you not receive the text message sent this afternoon?” I insisted on remaining on the counter, eventually, they put me on a 6.25 pm flight to Lagos!
    But this was not limited Abuja-Lagos route: An Abuja-Yola customer got to the boarding pass counters 5 pm, and was told: “you are late!” “How”, he asked? Showing text messages from Arik Air, his flight was shifted from 4.30 pm to 7.45 pm, and back again to 5.30 pm, within a few hours to the flight, with text messages! 

It’s no wonder many believe that nowhere is poor customer service in Nigeria more obvious than in the airline industry!

Now here’s the deal.
As a former service quality executive in corporate Nigeria, I was invited to Abuja to share some of my ideas on customer service improvements – with a group of young bank workers.  

A major theme of my talk was: self-improvement, as in this short video clip!

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In general, here’s what I shared with participants:

  • Big service mistakes that people make, and how to avoid them
  • Strategies to achieve top of mind attention of customers deliberately
  • Step by step self-improvement actions to get ahead.
    Including how to manage your time well, strategies to grow through hard times, Methods to constantly learn, how to accept responsibility, how to detoxify your existing relationships
  • The take away: you can only take your service forward or backward… you can only move north or south. But there is no standing still… there is no staying the same… and there is no coasting! Because everything counts!

 While I had a lot of fun in Abuja, this piece spotlights the malaise of customer service in Nigeria today:  A lesson that sadly, many organizations are not taking seriously.  

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