Puleeze…it’s supposed to be a service economy, where is the service?

A recent article in The Guardian which says, “Poor customer service is killing businesses in Nigeria”? What do you think?

This is very obvious in the airline business – every flight seems to be late! The other day, the exit door of an aircraft fell off while taxiing to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja to disembark passengers!!

At a recent workshop, people complained about poor service in the hospitality business as well- people don’t go to some places any more irrespective of how well they look – because of poor customer services.  “We can see what is happening in the courier business, private schools business, real estate business, and in banking business in the country”, they added.

What’s going on? Why do your customers experience recurring service failures?

The Good…

I had a good service encounter last week. When I visited the Lagos Island office of Eti-Osa Drivers Licence Application Centre, an FRSC official advised that it is better I process it online.

I tried it in the comfort of my home, and I was through in minutes. It worked.

The Bad…

As we go from specific to general, the statistics are bad:

  • Customer service agents failed to answer their questions 50%of the time.
  • Email service quality: 83%of small and medium-sized businesses responded with inaccurate or incomplete answers.
  • In the last year, 67%of customers have hung up the phone out of frustration they could not talk to a real person.
  • For every customer who bothers to complain, 26other customers remain silent. Why? Customers overwhelmingly believe that “complaining won’t do any good; no one wants to hear about the problem”!

And The Ugly…

The DG, Corporate Affairs Commission Lady Azuka Azinge said at a quarterly forum of the commission last month– that their service has improved, that people can do their business registration online.  I tried the online portal, it worked well.

But the problem is really with the customer service desk and complaints desk people – people supposedly employed to assist you to carry out the registration process in a complete and smooth manner.

You must hear this.

While trying to register a business online, I sent an inquiry to the customer service people on March 26. I received an auto response “This is to acknowledge receipt of your e-mail. Where applicable, a reply will be sent to you shortly. Thank you for your interest in the Commission.”  
2 days after, no reply

On March 28, I sent a reminder. Again, I received the same auto response. 
3 days after, again no reply!

So, I lodged a complaint, using the complaint form on April 4, and a reminder April 5.
Here’s their reply


Your complaint has been resolved. Find details below :

Resolution: Simply contact the CAC customer services on cservice@cac.gov.ng . Thank you for contacting the CRP support. In case you need any other assistance/information, please feel free to contact us, you can also download the user guide from the home page at the top right of the CAC website services.cac.gov.ng

Yours faithfully,

Corporate Affairs Commission”

This was disappointing for two reasons:

First, they said “your complaint has been resolved”, even as no answer was provided at all. 

Second, in place of find details of the resolution your complaint, they said- “Resolution: simply contact customer service”!

I felt bad; because my complaint was against the customer service people who failed to respond to my request. Even so, I again contacted customer service. Again, I received the auto response. Yet again, no reply

Then I opted for the telephones. April 6, I got all their Lagos lines from their website, and called them one by one. None was answered!

Then I called all their Abuja lines. Again, none was answered!

So I filled out another complaint form, this time I captioned it- REMINDER! REMINDER!! REMINDER!!  -detailing my experiences in the past 10 days.

Here’s their reply:


Your complaint has been resolved. Find details below :


  1. Altogether, it is one week now, my request for explanation is still pending!
  2. Last week, I first wrote to customer service… no feedback after days. I then decided to write directly, using the complaint portal – no dice, because the staff who responded asked me to direct my request to customer service! I then re-presented my request to customer service this week Wednesday – in spite of reminders, no feedback as well.
  3. Then I called several CAC lines – Customer Service -+234-818-229-8833, +234-818-229-8971; James +234-818-229-8971 Jessica +234-818-229-9016 Eze +234-908-740-1600 Stellamaris +234-908-740-1599 Joke +234-908-740-1598 Lagos Alausa lines – 07098107040, 07098107041 Lagos Island line – 08095522821
  4. Not one of these lines were answered – many saying line switched off! And startling one – the number listed as Jessica +234-818-229-9016 was answered by a male voice, who said he is not a staff of CAC! Please get to those involved to respond to my request. Regards
    Resolution:Simply contact the CAC customer services on cservice@cac.gov.ng. Thank you for contacting the CRP support. In case you need any other assistance/information, please feel free to contact us, you can also download the user guide from the home page at the top right of the CAC website services.cac.gov.ng

Yours faithfully,

Corporate Affairs Commission

SHOCKED –  again they repeated “your complaint has been resolved” – no such thing.

And hear how they claimed to have resolved my complaint “Resolution: simply contact customer service”!

Yet again,  I was being asked to  contact customer service, the very people I have sent repeated mails to, made repeated phone calls to, without a reply – and the basis upon which I lodged the complaint!

Even the feedback I provided that a line published as assigned to Jessica in their website, was answered by a male voice who said, “Wrong umber, I am not a CAC staff” – did not attract a response either!

And as I speak, still no answer! I give up!!

Does this look familiar?

The question is:

How do you achieve your own customers’ top-of-mind attention?

From my experience, I have got some interesting  tips for you…

Tip #1: First, let your staff know your service vision, then externalize to customers. Until there is a clearly documented service statement, how do you ask people to deliver superior service? As they say, if you don’t know where you are going, any road will lead you there”.

Tip #2: Carry out a re-orientation programme to win the hearts and minds of all your staffs, to take time to address unhappy customers and do everything in their power to remedy the situation. It’s not only worth keeping your customers business, but also avoiding any negative word of mouth exposure

Tip #3:  Come up with an internal processes to track complaints ‘deliberately, and go about fixing them.  When customers share their story, they’re not just sharing pain points – they’re actually teaching you how to make your service better, and to grow your business

Tip #4:  Create a bilateral communication system between management and the frontlines, so customers’ problems  can be fixed quickly

So, What is your own programme?

I really hope these tips will help you build your business with customer-focused solutions.

If  NOT…

You can always look out for good courses on how to build your business through customer-focused solutions

Let’s keep the voice of the customer alive!