Thursday, July 22, 2010

You Can Never Get A Limo To Move Like a Sports Car (Does education make a difference?)

On this beautiful Monday, after a fabulous birthday weekend, I decided it was time to respond to my friends messages since my BB had been on crack the whole weekend. So I said hey to Kay, thanked him for my birthday wishes then i noticed his profile picture. it looked like a clip from a newspaper but with his picture. i got excited and asked him about it. He confirmed that he was in the weekend paper for an article he wrote on Ecommerce. i got even more excited and accused him of living my dream which led us to the conversation about customer service in Nigeria.. our conversation went thus:
Me, Agent Zero

Me: Will u at least read my blog?
Agent Zero: I will read ur blog
Agent Zero: It’s the Nigerian jungle really, a writer like urself that wants to write about customer service has to be careful in delivering a msg that will be of relevance and direct experience with the people in this economy, meanwhile, as we all know, the kind of customer service u wish for, and would like them to adopt, is of the western world. So here lies the problem. How do u make people in this country side with what u are saying, when they don't even believe in it.
Agent Zero: If u have interesting write-ups, it will get published, don't worry about that.
Me: Hmm that's a point, advice me, how will I make them side what I'm saying
Agent Zero: Its gradual
Agent Zero: U probably have to go to the origin, which is culture and the concept of change
Agent Zero: The people at tantalizers that are giving bad customer service, ask them how much customer service training have they had since they started working there
Agent Zero: Or did they just hire them, teach them about the various foods, their prices and how to work the register....
Me: I'm sure they probably do not have any training.. my dream.. I would love to train bottom line employees
Agent Zero: That's what my sunday article is on, training and my solutions that save money. People get trained in top organizations, it cost money, but they have money, in a smaller organization like chicken republic, that has a three man rotation for an entire day, it cost too much to train those guys the correct way
Me: Those re the sort of people I'm interested in.. People in that food, supermarkets etc
Me: But do u think there is a cheaper way I can get them trained
Agent Zero: No real competition btw tantalizers and TFC, so why would any of the organizations stress or push for competitive advantages, I.e, make our servers better so we can sell more.......
Agent Zero: Its reverse engineering
Me: Hmmm
Me: I like this conversation its making my brain work
Agent Zero: Hire graduates and pay them a lot, make customer service ur number one objective........then see what ur restaurant lobby will be during lunch hours and after work, the money starts to come back gradually
Agent Zero: But who is ready to do that in Nigeria, NOBODY
Agent Zero: If u go into McDonalds, the manager is someone doing his masters and just took the McDonalds job part time or cos of work schedule flexibility
Me: True
Agent Zero: So he knows how to speak to people
Me: Hmm I have so much to think about
Agent Zero: All the little girls taking ur orders, are girls in college, and doing part time gigs. There are some traces of education. No one in McDonalds holds that job as a career, except for the district managers that have two to three stores under them
Me: You re very right
Agent Zero: So what do we do about customer service in Nigeria. First thing, fire all the those working in the tantalizers now, cos u can never get a limo to move like a sports car
Me: Lol
Me: A limo can never move like a sports car ...i love that
Agent Zero: Go to tera culture, there is a guy that serves u there, the last time I was there, I had to ask him if he owned tera culture or maybe his family did, and he said no.
Agent Zero: He asked why I asked that because he is a regular worker, I said he served me and catered to me like the perception of service mattered to him more than just serving. He smiled and said” I am a graduate of university of ife”. He took the job because of economic circumstance.
Agent Zero: I literally thought he owned the joint

So Kay gave me his full permission to put up our conversation which i was excited about.
Yesterday i went to Brown’s, a cafe, with my friend. The girl who attended to us, served us so well, my friends and i couldn’t help but ask how long she had been working at the cafe. She told us that she had been working in the cafe since it opened 6months ago. She also happens to be a part time chemistry student at the Lagos state University (LASU). Immediately, I remembered my conversation with Kay and sent him a message saying that i confirmed his theory about graduates delivering better services... Don’t get me wrong some graduates can be aggressive at times, being a graduate doesn’t guarantee that an employee will deliver exceptional services but i honestly feel that it would reduce the number of bad customer service that we receive. A level of good education coupled with training will make a huge difference in our organisations and the society at large.
To be continued.....

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