Friday, September 21, 2012

Sip Lounge… too many waiters bringeth confusion!

Yesterday after a lovely afternoon learning to bake cinabuns , my friends and I started looking for a good place to have dinner and nice cocktails; we ended up at Sip Lounge. We weren’t really sure if Sip had a restaurant since what we knew Sip for was its bar and club. We enquired at the café beneath and were told that it had a restaurant. We went right up.

We were welcomed by many waiters (about 6); the restaurant/lounge was almost empty. We asked for a table for five and this brought a sort of confusion amongst the waiters putting in mind that the place was almost empty and there were manyyy vacant tables(only about 3 tables were occupied). We couldn’t understand what the problem was.

We were left there standing while they kept pacing up and down looking very confused, we asked what the problem was and a waiter said that ALL the tables were reserved, kind of surprised , we asked what time these reservations were for and were told “ between 9:30pm and 10pm”. We were even more surprised! The time was 7pm! The tables were reserved for 10:00am to 10:30pm why couldn’t we sit down, eat and help this people make some money before the people who reserved the table came.

After much talking, we asked to speak to the manager, to our disappointment he wasn’t around and there was no other person in the lounge that had problem solving skills that we could speak to. A few minutes later, the waiters changed their minds and allowed us sit down. I must say that the ambiance of the lounge was very nice this was why we probably didn’t storm out of the place angrily. It was lovely with very modern décor. A sort of place one would sit with a friend, a date or husband giggling and gossiping all evening.

After we got the menu and placed our order for drinks, I came to the conclusion that
too many idle waiters bringeth confusion”.

As we were about to conclude on our order for drinks, another waiter came from nowhere insisting that the drinks we wanted didn’t exist in their bar when indeed it existed. He wasn’t even the waiter taking our order; he didn’t know what we were talking about he only heard the last word of an order then interrupted. The lady who was taking our order explained to the intruding waiter that she understood what we wanted, they both argued for a bit and left. Their little argument went like this:

The lady: “we have it nowww what are you saying?”
The intruding waiter: “we don’t do it without alcohol”
The lady: “we do!!! That’s not the one they ordered now”
The intruding waiter: “oh ok”.

Then they carried themselves away.

By the time our drinks came, they were appalling and tasted very terrible! We asked for it to be taken away, another waiter took them away and didn’t even bother to ask what we wanted in replacement. After waiting 10 minutes with no waiter coming to ask us what we wanted to drink (they all stood by the bar chatting away), we beckoned on yet another waiter. Before we ended our night at least six waiters served us.

We ordered for replacement drinks. My drink looked very fancy but it was the case of “all that glitter is not gold” it didn’t taste the way it looked, it wasn’t nice at all. I didn’t bother complaining, I had water instead. There was no point ordering something else or asking them to re-make the drink, it was obvious that cocktails weren’t their thing, or maybe yesterday was a bad day for the bar attendant.

We ordered our food and thank God it was better than the drinks.

In conclusion,I had a fairly OK experience. Their non-alcoholic cocktails were a great disappointment, the fact that the waiters couldn’t even find us somewhere to sit or use their initiatives was irritating, and that there was no manager or supervisor/ problem solver on ground when we got there(and throughout our stay) was another disappointment and the greatest sin of all. I must not fail to mention again that the ambiance was very lovely.

Sip lounge is located at Akin Adesola Street, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Prayer sessions during office hours…is this acceptable?

I know that Africans in general are known as one of the world’s most religious people. Nigerians specifically claim to be very religious. This is a good thing and would even be more marvellous if we can act as religious as we claim by first obeying simple instructions such us forming/joining queues when we need to.

I don’t have anything against religious people or people who practise their religion strictly, in fact I am a proud lover of God. The only problem I have is when people take religion too far and use it as an excuse to negatively affect the outcome of their work.

For instance, a lot of organisations in Nigeria organise morning devotions (praying and sometimes singing praises to God) before work commences for the day, which I honestly think is a fantastic idea if it can be conducted appropriately.

I walked into a pharmacy at 11am and was welcomed by the sound of people clapping and singing praises followed by prayers. At first I thought I was in the wrong place; maybe I was lost in thoughts and didn’t know when I walked into a church,i thought, but the sight of several drugs and people in white overalls reminded me that I was in the right place, a pharmacy.

As I stood there not knowing who to talk to, the security guard walked up to me and told me that the staff were having their morning devotion, I looked at my wrist watch as I tried to control the tempo of my voice and asked “devotion at 11am?” He answered “Yes” and explained that no one could attend to me until they were done with their devotion and that could take another ten to fifteen minutes. I didn’t want to commit a sin by taking out my anger on the security guard so I tried my best, politely said thank you and good bye! I ditched my favourite pharmacy and bought my cold medication from a pharmacy that probably conducts their morning devotion at a reasonable time.

Another time I asked my assistant to buy a bottle of water from a supermarket very close to our office, it was one of those days that we ran out of drinking water, he came back with no water and explained that the staff at the supermarket were having their morning devotion and was told to either wait or come back. Their Morning devotion was holding at 10am.

I honestly do not have a problem with having morning devotions at work; it’s the timing that bothers me. If you want to have morning devotion, wouldn’t it be wise to come to work a bit earlier so that the business can still open at the opening time advertised on the door? If the opening time of the store or office would change for that day due to special morning devotions, its best to put a note on the door to advise customers that the store would be opening late due to “so so and so” reason or not even open at all until the devotion is over.

The essence of the morning or prayer devotion is to thank God and ask him for more customers and good profit.
Why do they now chase away the answer to their prayers? The customers they pray to have, have now come in to patronise but these same prayer warriors don’t have time to attend to them because they are still praying and cannot recognise that the answer to their prayer is the customer who just walked in but they couldn't attend to because they were praying when they should be rendering a service(s).

It is good for business owners to get their priorities straight and stop hiding under the umbrella of religion. Heaven helps those who help themselves. Let us do the right thing at the right time.

As I mentioned earlier, I am a proud lover of God and religion but is it appropriate and professional to conduct prayer devotions during business or office hours and to also ignore customers when they walk in during that time?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Dana airlines ...back so soon?

Tonight I stayed awake later than usual carried away reading several articles on how/why the Federal Government lifted the suspension placed on Dana airlines operating license.

I read different people’s comments and opinions on this matter and found it hard to stop reading or sighing.

Some people have taken it upon themselves to insult Obinna Ajuonuma, the son of Mr Levi Ajuonuma (Mr Levi Ajuonuma died in the Dana plane crash). All these insults came reigning on him because he asked people to please sign a petition to stop Dana airlines from reopening. Please note that this young man is not demanding or forcing people to sign the petition. If you want, sign and if you do not want to, do not sign. It doesn’t warrant insults or calling his dad names.

Nigerians really have big mouths “all mouth no action!” people sit in their living rooms typing all sorts of comments. Tomorrow some Nigerians would buy Dana tickets even if they knew the plane had only one wing.

Some people insulted the government for revoking the airlines license in the first place, while others congratulated the airline management and the Federal Government for a job well done (for lifting the suspension). Some people went as far as using proverbs and grammars that other people cannot understand to analyse this situation while others even spent all their time abusing and insulting each other and forgetting the real basis for their argument.

Customer service is essential whether lives are involved or not.

Tell me my dear readers, do you really think that it is appropriate for the FG to allow Dana airlines back in operation three months after the crash? When some people haven’t even buried their family member(s)(because they haven't been given their loved ones remains yet)? Is it ok for Dana airline to have the opportunity to make money when they have not compensated the families of those who died in the crash?

I heard somebody say that they haven’t compensated them because the families of the deceased have not been able to submit death certificates. Can they be talking about death certificates of corpse that have not been found?

It disturbs my mind, the whole Dana crash issue always does.

Does Dana deserve to fly again? Is it too early for them to fly? Or do you think that the crash was an accident and all those stories that were said about their plane being faulty to their knowledge were just rumours?

Below is a copy of Obinna Ajuonuma’s statement:

This is a very important message! I need your help my friends.

I need you to join me and others in signing the petition that will STOP DANA AIR FROM OPERATING AGAIN IN NIGERIA or anywhere in the world!

Dana Air crashed on the 3rd of June, killing 153 people, including Dr. Levi Ajuonuma(my father). This airline was well aware that the aircraft was faulty but still took flight that fateful day! Now, 3 months after the suspension of their license, the Federal Government has decided to lift the suspension! The wounded hearts are still bleeding and not being taken into consideration here!

Please join forces with me and the families of the faithfully departed, and sign the petition. The link is below.

Thank you for standing with us against a system that really does not care about YOU!

Thank you again.

Obinna Levi Ajuonuma Jr
Please leave a comment or two or more…

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Slapped by bad service even overseas…

Looking at my laptop today I saw this piece that I wrote when I went on holiday…. Remembering how angry I was when I wrote this post made me laugh out loud in my room. Please read on and share your experience(s) if you have had one like mine especially outside Nigeria…

Customer service doesn’t only go wrong in Nigeria, even the very United Kingdom where I learnt all about wonderful customer services has slapped me with very bad experiences which brings me to this point that sometimes an individual’s personality or attitude might/can affect the type of service they render. I wish I could proof that effective customer service training can correct a person’s bad attitude but i can't because i dont believe it can (some people have very bad attitudes that only God can correct).

Yesterday I went to TKMAXX and the lady who attended to my sister was being stylishly rude, she was doing up to three different things at a time and was also trying to attend to us, probably in a hurry to go home (making it four different things she was doing at a time). She was rolling her eyes in that sort of manner that we could not really accuse her of eyeing us because we weren’t really sure what exactly she was doing, whether she was rolling her eyes in a rude manner or had an eye problem. Her body language read “rude”. Her attitude didn’t make any sense to us because we saw no reason for that behavior (except that it was probably almost time for her to close for the day). We remained as polite as we could be and ignored her and her very bad attitude.

She continued with her bad attitude and handed us our shopping bags without even looking up or saying anything, the next word she uttered was “Next”. I shook my head; I didn’t even know what to say. I felt really bad, I had to take a picture of her face in my mind and made a mental note not to ever go to whatever till she is serving at in the future. I wouldn’t like to ever come in contact with her again.

It’s one thing to train somebody and it’s another thing for that person to really accept the training and voluntarily decide to better his/her life by using the knowledge wisely. On the other hand, some people are just plain stiff; they have terrible attitudes and don’t want to make efforts to be better people. Or do they not know they have bad attitudes? Ok now I am so upset, I am getting confused. No matter what country people live in, their personality, character and attitude are just what it is!

Bad attitude is no respecter of customer service.

So, customer service can go wrong in Nigeria and abroad. Have you had a bad customer service experience abroad?