Saturday, August 27, 2011

Expatriate in the Building

I really do not know what the situation is like in other parts of the world but I have evaluated quite a few businesses and can conclude that our customer care/service delivery in this part of the planet is distasteful. From the roadside hawkers to our telecoms service providers, the banks, the hospitals and unfortunately even in the hospitality business.

The (mostly) women who handle this positions surprisingly share the same characteristics – ill tempered, uncouth and impatient! Only a few of them deliver impressive service that make you want to get familiar with them. Majority simply treat you like they are doing you a huge favour by responding to your enquiries/complaints.

I got one of such treatments recently at an industry conference. Add the above traits to male chauvinist behaviour and you’ll have the description of the protocol officer!

BTW, if you (or anyone you know) work for that airline that offers cheap rates for domestic flights booked in advance online, kindly tell the management team that the services are crap. The only reason we still patronise you is because we are Ijebus like to support the proudly Nigerian initiative. Soon, we may get tired of your cancellations, delays and saucy helpdesk operators and embrace Virginity!

I arrived early to get my accreditation done, I had all the documents as stated on the invite but for some reason, Mr Protocol Officer couldn’t find my name on the list! I wouldn’t have been angry if he had offered to do a thorough check and rectify the error, but instead he concluded I was impersonating! What rubbish!

I had never met the man before yet he believed I was trying to impersonate someone! So I’m subjected to series of ‘irrelevant’ questions... ‘What is your name? Middle name? Spell your surname? Who registered you for this conference? May I point out that at this point he was holding on to all my documents, driver’s license inclusive; guess he was trying to figure out I was really trying to use usurp someone’s slot!

Tired of standing and stretching over the counter, I sat and began fiddling with twitter, only to be jolted back to reality about an hour later! Mr Protocol Officer announced he’ll be closing in about 45minutes but still couldn’t find my name.

‘So what do you suggest?’ I asked
‘Madam, I’ve tried my best, you didn’t register, what do you want me to do about it’, he said, attracting enough attention and scattering my documents all over the.

At this point, I’m thinking, should I ask to see a superior officer or make a call to the help line on the acknowledgement mail; before I could decide, an elderly woman intervened, speaking in Yoruba, she reprimanded him for making no efforts to get me accredited to which he responded also in Yoruba: don’t mind all these small small girls, I know the type of people that come to this conference, they are top people (hiss).

You can only imagine how I felt, having someone say such about you in a language you understand! I totally ignored, leaving the elderly woman to deal with him. Minutes later his supervisor made an appearance. Nice lady I must say.
Within minutes she searched through all the lists and there it was. Apparently, they had 2 lists; one for participants from different organisations within the country and the other for Expatriates (prospective investors).

Now, the truth is, my name doesn’t give an insight into what tribe I belong, infact, it appears entirely foreign; but that’s no excuse. That I was registered in their books as one of the expatriates is a sign of inefficiency; my forms clearly state my nationality.

Finally, my pass was handed over but I wasn’t ready to leave just yet. I needed to have the last laugh so I turned to the supervisor and told her how she needed to have her staff trained. I told her they needed to know that not every young woman is sleeping her way to the top. A few of us are working hard and getting recognised for our efforts, bla bla bla... and for maximum effects, I said it all in Yoruba; imagine the look on Mr Protocol Officer’s face, dang! All he did was stare.


LadyNgo said...

That last paragraph- too awesome for words!

I can't stand when people think they can just treat you anyhow, especially in a field heavy in customer service. and support

Myne Whitman said...

He actually said that? Wow, I would've given it to him there and then. Butr you did get your own back, lol...

P.E.T. Projects said...

LadyNgo: i wanted to burst out and say so much but i had to wait, strategise and let it out when he would feel it the most!

Myne: unfortunately, i think the yorubas are do that a lot. They carry on, saying not so nice things about you the moment they think u do not understand the language.

kitkat said...

Our customer service is non-existent! It's only businesses owned by foreigners that manage to have good customer service.. it's sad, really.

9jaFOODie said...

This is a very touchy topic for me, it enrages me how our people are treated. like are you kidding me,,,,grrr,,,,, everyone wants to feel important instead of just doing their job. small time gate man go dey form boss.... as far as I am concerned we don't have a service industry.

@ilola said...

Omo, you are patient oooo. My personalty might not have been able to take that at all, plus my tone might have started getting aggressive.
I have been out of the country a few times and one thing I realized is that our customer service in Nigeria is the crappiest

@ 9JaFOODie: You don't want to have to deal with gate men. They are the worst

N.I.L (Naijamum in London) said...

I loved your comeback
You are right that our customer service leaves a lot to be desired
Again, it is almost the norm to disrespect young ladies.
I find that I am often disrespected whenever I am in jeans and trainers or looking really casual. However, they (most hospitality people) will fall at your feet if you are dripping in gold

o25 said...

I am so smiling right now...I imagine it was my humble self...smilingly dropping d last lines, call him "sir, agbaya ni yin sha..e de goo gaan" ...ineptitude of d highest order-common find name on a list he cannot accomplish...however I do think to some extent we are improving on our customer service...organisations demanding more from their personnel...there would be a few ones dt feel so highly...they will find themselves out soon..I speak firsthand having worked customer service myself 4years...a good service experience retains & leaves a lasting memory on customers when well served :)...nice piece dear

Prism of an immigrant said...

*clapping for you*

You go girl. I don tire for naija's system. The young woman has suffered under it.

deolascope said...

I love the way you gave it back to him. Sure u had maximum effect!

But its so sad the way people think that women must have used unscupulous means to get to the top.

aeWHYoh: Fellow Writer said...

This is a crappy state, but I'm very impressed how you handle the whole situation though. It's time we let go of some of our ignorant behaviors though, honestly, it irks me!!!

P.E.T. Projects said...

Kitkat: you're right, some Nigerian biz owners would even join their staff in 'yabbing' a customer.

9jafoodie: hahaha, i know this. Infact if u visit certain companiies dressed casually, the security boys wld harass you not minding that u may be the biggest customer!

@ilola: maybe i was just tired after all the stress i went thru having my flight rescheduled because honestly, i do not let people who look down on young women go scot free!

NIL: it must be an offshoot of their inferiority complex and greediness; they probably look at ur simple dressing and conclude you wont be able to tip them hence you dont deserve fair treatment! SMHn join their staff in 'yabbing' a customer.

9jafoodie: hahaha, i know this. Infact if u visit certain companiies dressed casually, the security boys wld harass you not minding that u may be the biggest customer!

@ilola: maybe i was just tired after all the stress i went thru having my flight rescheduled because honestly, i do not let people who look down on young women go scot free!

NIL: it must be an offshoot of their inferiority complex and greediness; they probably look at ur simple dressing and conclude you wont be able to tip them hence you dont deserve fair treatment! SMH

P.E.T. Projects said...

@o25: buhaha @ the yoruba SUB! I wouldnt have been able to say that but I think I got the same result with my last lines in yoruba!

@Prism & Deolascope: its up to us all to put our feet down and resist being looked down upon just cos we're young, female and successful.

@aeWHYoh: ignorance, inefficiency and disrespect for the female gender!

Anonymous said...

YAY! i like what you did! AWESOME.. so nah big-big investors he recognized chei?....*hiss*

p.s,,yep! am back and thanks for your comments in my last post :D

T.Notes said...

Rightly well said P.E.T!Never ceased to piss me off how we can't give regard to our people and would be ass-kissing foreigners whilst on the other side its far from the same treatment we get!

'Lara said...

I know this is not funny, but I am laughing. I loved the way you handled the situation sha. Nigerians and their crap sha, when will we ever change.

Dee! said...

*HIGH FIVE* I love your reply to that so called Mr. Protocol Officer!
But your patience is worthy of emulation... you try o!

Fluffycutething said...

**** Double high five**** jere nonsense man!!!

This syndrome is all over from the corn seller to the white collar people!!

gretel said...

that your reply was nice,meee,im for hear am,nonsense.

JustDoyin said...

What is it with Nigerian customer service? Is there no customer service training anymore? not that customer service here in the UK is that fantastic, but from the tales of Nigerian customer service I've heard, it seems horrific!

Toinlicious said...

Nice one jere. yeye protocol officer. i'm sure i would faced him and added "and some of us can even pay your salaries" to that "not every1 is sleeping their way to the top" line.
i know its rude but the guy had it coming abeg.

Luciano said...

lol at the yoruba speaking part. but really sha, somebody needs to teach dese ppl a lesson.............always thinking "small girls" sleep their way to the top. nice blog.
pls checkout my blog

Naija4Life said...

Customer service doesn't exist in Nigeria.People just seem to have a chip on their shoulder for no reason. Ignorance, poor education and lack of training are hugely responsible it. Whenever I travel back to Nigeria I try not to be hung up about the sort of service I'm used to in the west otherwise it will just be one very frustrating trip.

Okeoghene said...

I am also vexed when men think women slept their way to wherever they find themselves. As for customer service in Nigeria, it is like looking for a needle in a haystack. The very few ones who give good service are over shadowed by the millions who do not

Gbemisoke said...

I just saw your comment over at mine after this long stressful day and you had me laughing and crying all at once.
Laughing @ "Jesus is your iroko" and crying cos... well, do I need any excuse these days? :o)
Thank you.
May you never walk alone.
I really and truly appreciate you.

Afronuts said...


The guy was hasty in assuming and got what he deserved...or rather you got the last laugh. I like scenarios like this.

Its a stupid act to just make assumptions out of the faulty perception or stereotyping people give to upwardly mobile female professionals.

And who knows where he'll meet you tomorrow?

RemiRoy said...

I just love such scenarios. The look on his face must have been priceless1 Served him right!

Hope you good dear?

Naija4Life said...

I've always believed the only person who can stop you from achieving what you want is 'YOU'.

Failure for me exists only in the dictionary. No doubt there will be challenges, setbacks and disappointments but how you turn them into success is what separates people who succeed and those who don't. Keep believing in yourself and you'll be amazed how much more you can achieve

Anonymous said...

tell him!

I can't stand bad customer service.. it is my major pet peeve.. I mean, it is your job do it! You don't see me giving my clients attitude!

dayor said...

OMGosh! Don't I love your come back...? (smiling mischievously) just at the right time and in the right language...Mr Protocol Officer would have wished the ground swallowed

Customer service is a great part of business people overlook...and its really sad.

Thanks for always looking out for me on twitter and for stopping by my blog.

Much Love!

Anonymous said...

Nicely done. Had an experience with a bank cashier once upon a time. Rudeness and things, she overpaid me, I gave her back the excess, she was still rude.. Mentally swore for her and moved on. Nice blog :) me likey

Anonymous said...

As I read that first sentence, anger just crept up my spine. Bank cashiers will talk to you as if they are dashing you YOUR money, security men AND secretaries seem to have a thing against people seeing their bosses. RECHARGE CARD SELLER ON THE ROAD has gotten me so angry before, I nearly got down from the car to ask if it's that I forgot to pay and he just dashed me the credit. The list is endless... But then again, some customers can be very annoying!!

Qhule said...

You go gal, Im sure you really did have the last laugh:)))
I love your blog, Im now following you, would you like to follow me back?

stelzz said...

lol @ your comeback. it serves him right. it peeves me when people look down on others or try to disrespect them because they feel they are young or for whatever other reason.

thanks for stopping by my blog

Ginger said...

oh dear , talk about maximum inefficiency, rudeness, tribalism etc. When companies start learning to hire people who 'truly want to be of service', then will change come.

At least you had the last laff with those nincompoops

Muse Origins said...

Lol. Good one. Glad to see you didn't let it go. Some people just love to feel like they know it all

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Muse Origins

Che said...

Mehhnnnnnn, your patience level is high o. If it was me, I would have probably told the guy off when he made the comment about small small girls and the conference being for top people. But you had the last laugh at the end. Good for you babe.

Anonymous said...

"...I said it all in Yoruba;..." *smiles* tis always best to be responsive to situations.

A reaction would not have had "...dang! All he did was stare." nothing could have been 'nobler'

Daughter of Her King said...

I like the post...