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Friday, 17 March 2017 12:41

AISHA BUHARI REDEFINING CONSUMER RIGHTS

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Her excellency, Hajia Aisha Buhari, has urged Nigerians to know their consumer rights, so they can be protected against market exploitations, and abuses. Represented by the wife of Nassarawa state Governor, Mrs Buhari, at the commemorative event for World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD), assured the people, of her unending, and unadulterated support for Consumers, as they patronise different goods, and services.

The event, which was organised by the Consumer Protection Council (CPC), held at Nigeria Air Force (NAF)  Conference, Gwarimpa, Federal Capital Territory. The CPC named Mrs Buhari, the Consumer Ambassador of Nigeria, on the 15th day of July, 2016.

The theme of the WCRD 2017, was ‘Building a Digital World Consumers can Trust’. According to the Director General of the CPC, Mrs Dupe Atoki, it was only appropriate that Mrs Aisha Buhari, flagged off the event, to inspect exhibition stands of businesses involved in the use of digital systems, telecommunications providers, and many others who were involved in digitization. ‘Her excellency, is the right person to identify with the World Consumer Rights Day Cause’, Dr. Atoki said.

Mrs Buhari expressed her profound gratitude to the Consumer Protection Council, for honouring her as the CPC Ambassador. She also added that the campaign against consumer exploitation, is a noble cause, which she pledges to stay true to, and continue to bring to light.

Friday, 17 March 2017 12:37

ALIYU ILIAS SPEAKS AT WORLD CONSUMER RIGHTS DAY

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The World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD) was celebrated, worldwide, on the 15th day of March, 2017. The theme of this year’s WCRD, was ‘Building a Digital Age Consumers can Trust’. Our dear nation was not left out of this celebration, as the Consumer Protection Council organised a workshop, where various resource persons, and stakeholders, in the digital industry, came together, to find solutions to the detriments of digitization in today’s world.

The Country Director of ‘Save the Consumers’ NGO, Dr. Aliyu Ilias, was one of the main resource persons for the event. He made himself available for the programme, with a knowledge packed presentation, on the topic ‘‘Consumer Concerns in the Digital Age, and the Way Forward’’.

Dr. Ilias presented the topic, with so much poise, and comprehension for the audience. He made it known, that ‘All that is Digital, is not gold’. ‘‘It is high time consumers had full trust for, and understanding of the digital world’’, He said.

He also pointed out some of the concerns of digital age consumers, as identity theft, deceptive marketing, or advertising, and Credit/Debit card fraud, among so many others.

According to Dr. Ilias, a survey was carried out by Save the Consumers, in twelve (12) States in Nigeria, two from each geo-political zone. Some of these states are Lagos, Rivers, Abia, and Abuja, among others. The results of this survey, gotten from about One thousand (1000) respondents, showed that seventy percent (70%) of consumers receive unverifiable BVN messages, on a regular basis. In the same vein, 77% of consumers, also receive unwanted texts, and calls, from telemarketers. The respondents did not fail to give their two cents about internet fraudsters, as the survey showed that forty-nine percent (49%) of them, feared that their social media accounts may be hacked.

Ilias also buttressed a fact, that google barometer currently shows that sixty-five (65%) of Nigerian credit/debit card holders, have been contacted by some online companies, to engage in one seemingly fraudulent transaction, or the other. He went ahead to explain the way forward, in this age of digitization. ‘‘Everyone has a part to play in creating a digital world, which is safe for the Nigerian Consumer’’, He expressed.

Dr. Aliyu Ilias, went on to say ‘‘Consumers, the Government, Businesses, NGOs, and Media outifts, have to come together, in partnership, to make this work’’. He stressed that first of all, the Government must increase funding for consumer protection initiatives, such as CPC, SON,NAFDAC, etc, to carry out their duties to consumers. The Government must also enact laws, which ensure consumer safety.

Businesses, NGOs, and media houses, on the other hand, must research, and develop new ideas for online, and digital safety, then, educate consumers on their rights, ensure business compliance, in line with the wellbeing of consumers, and continuously advocate for better ways, through which organisations, and consumers can interface, in the digital world.

To sum it all up, Dr. Ilias appealed to consumers, to always verify the authenticity of all online products, before they go ahead to patronise them. Consumers must also keep all personal information safe, and not to strangers, until such a person has fully earned the trust of the consumer. 

 

                                                WHO WILL SAVE US??!!!

It is extremely saddening, how digitization brings a lot of advantages, but still poses certain ills to its users, eventually. Undeniably, the digital age helps a whole lot, in easing the way people do things. Nonetheless, we cannot turn a blind eye, or deaf ears, to the harm it causes to its consumers. Some of these harms, are identity theft, illegal photo shop, credit, and debit card fraud, deceitful job adverts, unrestricted adult content, and hacking, among many others.

It is pathetic, how one’s Twitter handle can be virtually operated, from America, when the location of the rightful owner of said Twitter account, is Nigeria. This is known as hacking, and these hackers can do almost anything, with the Twitter handle, once they have hacked into it, and have assumed new ownership. Now, when the followers of that account, receive feeds from the same account, they naturally believe that those feeds are coming directly from, or being posted by the original account owner. What they are however, oblivious to, is the fact that the account has been hacked, and is now being managed by fraudsters, cum identity thieves.

These days, we also see Facebook accounts, especially those of celebrities, being duplicated. People retrieve pictures, and various other information, from the original accounts of these ‘social media fraud victims’, and open another account, posing as the original owners. They usually use this medium, to cajole people, into doing things, which the original account owners, would, otherwise, not have any of their followers do. This is also identity theft.

Recently, we find that digitization also brings other vices, such as SMSes asking a customer to send their BVN to unknown sources, fake escrow scam, telemarketing fraud, as well as customer data insecurity, among many more others.

WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT THIS?

WHO WOULD HELP US?

‘Save the Consumers’ NGO, puts her foot down, in making sure consumers get the best treatment, when it comes to patronising any goods, or services. In this regard, Save the Consumers (STC), has taken it upon herself, to sensitize the general public, on their rights, as consumers, as well as the Dos, and Don’ts attached to digital consumption.

Consequently, to commemorate the World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD), STC staged a rally, at the Federal Secretariat, Abuja, to intimate people, with these things digitization does to the society, which are immensely disadvantageous to consumers, and the society, at large.

Before the rally commenced, the Country Director of Save the Consumers NGO, Dr Aliyu Ilias, went on air, at AIT’s popular early morning show ‘Kakaaki’, talking about the WCRD in general, as well as STC’s quota, in making sure the day is celebrated right, while sensitizing consumers on the digital age we are in, today, and how digitization can pose benefits, as well as threats, to them, as consumers.

At the rally, Mr Ilias, called on the Government, to rise, and create policies, which will save consumers from all the ills of digitization. He also pointed that businesses must create a ‘TRUST MARK’, which will enable consumers differentiate fake, from original. NGOs, and Media Outfits, were also appealed to, during the rally, to join in sensitizing the consumers more, on the adverse effects this digital age comes with. The involvement of the STC NGO, in bringing to light, digitization, in its complete form, shows, to a certain extent, that not everyone is folding their arms, and watching the digital age, completely purge individuals, and societies, of their morality, and genuinety.

However, the consumers also have their parts to play, in all of this. They must learn to keep their personal data very safe, and verify, at all times, the authenticity of goods, and services, before patronising, and eventually consuming them. We are all consumers; let us fight these digital age challenges, together. 

 

                                                WHO WILL SAVE US??!!!

It is extremely saddening, how digitization brings a lot of advantages, but still poses certain ills to its users, eventually. Undeniably, the digital age helps a whole lot, in easing the way people do things. Nonetheless, we cannot turn a blind eye, or deaf ears, to the harm it causes to its consumers. Some of these harms, are identity theft, illegal photo shop, credit, and debit card fraud, deceitful job adverts, unrestricted adult content, and hacking, among many others.

It is pathetic, how one’s Twitter handle can be virtually operated, from America, when the location of the rightful owner of said Twitter account, is Nigeria. This is known as hacking, and these hackers can do almost anything, with the Twitter handle, once they have hacked into it, and have assumed new ownership. Now, when the followers of that account, receive feeds from the same account, they naturally believe that those feeds are coming directly from, or being posted by the original account owner. What they are however, oblivious to, is the fact that the account has been hacked, and is now being managed by fraudsters, cum identity thieves.

These days, we also see Facebook accounts, especially those of celebrities, being duplicated. People retrieve pictures, and various other information, from the original accounts of these ‘social media fraud victims’, and open another account, posing as the original owners. They usually use this medium, to cajole people, into doing things, which the original account owners, would, otherwise, not have any of their followers do. This is also identity theft.

Recently, we find that digitization also brings other vices, such as SMSes asking a customer to send their BVN to unknown sources, fake escrow scam, telemarketing fraud, as well as customer data insecurity, among many more others.

WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT THIS?

WHO WOULD HELP US?

‘Save the Consumers’ NGO, puts her foot down, in making sure consumers get the best treatment, when it comes to patronising any goods, or services. In this regard, Save the Consumers (STC), has taken it upon herself, to sensitize the general public, on their rights, as consumers, as well as the Dos, and Don’ts attached to digital consumption.

Consequently, to commemorate the World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD), STC staged a rally, at the Federal Secretariat, Abuja, to intimate people, with these things digitization does to the society, which are immensely disadvantageous to consumers, and the society, at large.

Before the rally commenced, the Country Director of Save the Consumers NGO, Dr Aliyu Ilias, went on air, at AIT’s popular early morning show ‘Kakaaki’, talking about the WCRD in general, as well as STC’s quota, in making sure the day is celebrated right, while sensitizing consumers on the digital age we are in, today, and how digitization can pose benefits, as well as threats, to them, as consumers.

At the rally, Mr Ilias, called on the Government, to rise, and create policies, which will save consumers from all the ills of digitization. He also pointed that businesses must create a ‘TRUST MARK’, which will enable consumers differentiate fake, from original. NGOs, and Media Outfits, were also appealed to, during the rally, to join in sensitizing the consumers more, on the adverse effects this digital age comes with. The involvement of the STC NGO, in bringing to light, digitization, in its complete form, shows, to a certain extent, that not everyone is folding their arms, and watching the digital age, completely purge individuals, and societies, of their morality, and genuinety.

However, the consumers also have their parts to play, in all of this. They must learn to keep their personal data very safe, and verify, at all times, the authenticity of goods, and services, before patronising, and eventually consuming them. We are all consumers; let us fight these digital age challenges, together. 

 

The Save the Consumers NGO, is set to commemorate the World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD) in a mega way. The WCRD, which is celebrated on every 15th day in the month of March, every year, is here again, and several organisations are marking the day, in different styles. This year’s theme is ‘Building a Digital World, Consumers Can Trust’.

Several activities are lined up, by Save the Consumers (STC), in celebrating WCRD. A lecture will be organised, to intimate people with the benefits of digitization, to consumers. This lecture will hold at suite C29, Danziyal Plaza, Central Area, Abuja.

After the lecture, will come a rally, staged to also keep the general public, abreast of their rights, as well as how they can be protected from exploitation in their businesses. The Country Director of the Save the Consumers Rally, for World Consumer Rights Day, Dr Aliyu Ilias, spoke to Customer Service Magazine, about the nature of the rally. ‘‘The rally will be within the Federal Secretariat, Abuja, at 10.00am sharp’’, He said. Dr Ilias also revealed, that a lot of issues that come with using the internet, or patronising digitization, will all be pointed out, at the rally.

The youths will not be left out of the WCRD celebration activities, as STC would be visiting some Government Schools, to sensitize students, on the negative, and positive impacts of digitization, to them, as individuals, and to their societies, at large.

Save the Consumers hopes to reach as many consumers, and the general public, as possible to minimize the detriment, which digitization has been causing, since its advent. 

Thursday, 09 March 2017 09:19

ABUJA CELEBRATES SOCIAL MEDIA WEEK

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To commemorate the social media week, which started on the 27th of February, 2017, a symposium was organized to discuss the theme “The impact of Technology in SMEs”. The event, which held at the Abuja Enterprise Agency Auditorium, Jahi, on the 2nd of March, 2017, was a very insightful one indeed. The symposium was organized by Emmanuel Otori, a professional business coach, and convener of ‘Social Media Nigeria’.

Firstly, great impacts of knowledge were meted through panelists, who fueled the intellect of participants, on learning how to thrive, while starting a small-scale business.

Some panelists were on ground to discuss the theme in details. They are the ‘BUSH AFRICA’ ,Miss Doris Egberamen, founder of ‘SAHARA CABLE’, Mr. Shuaibu Omeiza,Marilyn Iya Ogbebor,the CEO of ‘Nigeria Customer Service Awards (NSCA)’ Dr, Aliyu Ilias and Emmanuel Otori a Business coach among others.

Dr. Aliyu Ilias spoke about utilizing technology in Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs), pointing out that SME owners can leverage on that, to thrive in their businesses. He also brought to light, the statistics of SMEs currently in Abuja, being six hundred thousand (600,000), and stressed that if these entrepreneurs do not imbibe customer service technology in their operations, then eighty-five percent (50%) of them will be out of business, in the next five years.

When asked if it was appropriate to first receive loans before starting the business, Mrs. Ekaette, the MD of a microfinance bank, addressed the question by saying collecting loans to start  business is not entirely advisable. Hence, the business owner must start with the little they have, build up a structure, and a portfolio, which will serve as an added advantage, when they eventually go to source for loans. She explained that doing this will make the loan giver impressed enough, to invest in the business.

Friday, 10 February 2017 15:21

FASHOLA; APPALLED BY POOR SERVICE IN POWER SECTOR

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The 11th monthly meeting which involves a talk between the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola SAN with Operators in the Power Sector, held at the Ikeja West Transmission Station, Ayobo, Lagos, a few weeks ago. The Minister had a lot of reservations about  the need for service providers to always prioritize dwelling on achieving excellent service to customers.

The Meeting was attended by high level representatives of Operators at the executive management levels, including Head of Discos, and Gencos, Managing Directors and Chief Executive Officers of The Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), as well as  the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC), and the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trader (NBET), among other power transmission, and management bodies.

The Minister, emphasized that the bills are paid by customers, who must at all times, get value for their money, in terms of the overall service delivered by electricity companies; customers  must be given impeccable treatment , by administrators, and operators in the Power sector. He also encouraged each Operator and service provider to positively change the customer experience of its consumers, from bad, to good, by improving metering and reducing estimated billings.

In the same vein, operators, and service providers, were urged, by the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc (NBET) , to always remember to do their bit, in paying NBET bills, as this would ensure further functionality, and stability  in the sector. Fashola also  declared that a duty was owed, by service administrators, to ‘‘fish out a few staff that are not dedicated, and retrain or discard them’’. He made this statement, alongside lauding the efforts of the staff who have truly stayed dedicated and well trained, over the years. Making it clear that without customers, operators do not have a job, he said, “Without the customer, we have no business and I think all those in the private sector understand that. If you don’t have the zeal and dedication to serve, please leave, it is a thankless task but it is a noble task to serve”. The minister reiterated the need to build that trust and that confidence needed in service delivery; when there is trust, the service’s operations would go on the right ways, and people would no longer be charged for things they shouldn’t be charged for.

Expressing confidence that there would be improved service in 2017, the Minister thanked the Operators for their perseverance thus far, and  also advised them, to be ‘Undercover Bosses’, going  round to ask the consumers what their experiences have been, as that would inform the management’s decision about what to do to improve their standard of service delivery to consumers in the future.

Finally, the Minister assured operators that quick decisions will be made, with collaboration, although, not forgetting to respect the people’s decisions. At the end of the meeting, Fashola was rest assured that the service delivery of operators in the power sector, would take a turn, for the best. ‘‘I am optimistic that we can work together, to give Nigerians better service”,  he said.

Tuesday, 07 February 2017 13:27

BUILDING CUSTOMER RELATONSHIP

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In customer service delivery, customer relationships are very key, especially in the communication between a customer, and a Customer Service Agent (CSA). This communication must be very effective, and to make this so, the customer must put various behaviours, and tactics into consideration. Some of these tactics, and attitudes, in building, and maintaining customer relationship.

When talking to the customer, in the case of receiving customers’ complaints, the CSA must, first, carry out a critical analysis of the problem’s root-cause; finding out what exactly might have caused the problem to be existent, in the first instance, in doing this, however, the CSA has to be extremely warm, and detailed. When the customer has follow up questions, be patient enough to listen, and respond in a very caring manner. Whoever is attending to the customer, must virtually put themselves In the shoes of said customer, and attend to them like the job is theirs; that is, treat the customer like you are speaking to a customer of your own actual company (so you can find out how to make your customers happier, and the business, better), as opposed to merely relating with the customer, as an ordinary employee, or team member of the company, or business.

Also, the CSA must be very social media savvy, using new technology, and the internet, to their advantage. Learn your customers’ social media handles, and stay in touch, appreciating their patronage, from time to time. This singular act gives the customer some form of fulfilment, and they feel appreciated, and welcome to do business with such a company, in subsequent times. The business, could also have a database document of the customer, and each meeting they have with the company. These data bases would also contain the phone contact, address contact, as well as electronic mail addresses of the customers. This keeps the company, or business, abreast of the regular customers, and eventually, help decipher customers who can be set aside for proper, and special recognition. This also helps build a direct, and very personal relationship with the customers.

The CSA, when attending to the customer, must out-do themselves, as well as customer expectations. Customers usually expect that CSAs would be rude, impatient, and overall, incompetent, in attending to their needs, and proffering solutions. Hence, the CSA must disappoint that school of thought completely, and deliver faster, and more effectively than expected.  

Conclusively, the CSA, to be firmly built in the Customer-CSA relationship, must have strong moral, and business ethics. Such a person must not be associated with common vices, like stealing, lying, bribery, and impoliteness, among so many others. This is because these vices will completely mar the reputation of such a CSA, and may generally put the company or business, in an inevitable situation of loss, or jeopardy.

Monday, 06 February 2017 14:16

2017 A YEAR FOR EXTRAORDINARY SERVICE

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Extraordinary customer service is what sets a business apart from their competition, this is important in all kind of business, large or small, retailers or wholesalers, service based or product based business

Having going through 2016  challenging I Nigeria  economy where customer do not by with impulse but deliberate in their choice on where to spend available resources on, virtually all the companies in Nigeria experience reduction in their sales and customer buying pattern

Companies must be deliberate in there service delivery in 2017, customer must be offer exceptional customer experience, staff of organisation must serve customer deliberately, if not the experience of 2016 will continue to affect the customers in buying decision Customer are now have a lot of alternative and there is hardly a product without alternative

Companies must wow customer in 2017 through effective process that will give exceptional customer experience, keep it simple, clear and leave nothing to doubt. Customer need confidence, you will surely enjoy repeat business

 

Solutions:

EXCEPTIONAL EXPERIENCE

Service delivery is now proactive and not reactive, It is critical for every customer-driven organization to focus on customer experience to stay ahead in the competition customer service is a reactive approach to businesses while customer experience remain the proactive measure to service delivery ,according to NMSP research in 2016   65% of consumers prefer to do business with companies  that use their personal information to make the business experience or shopping experience more relevant. Customers will readily share their preferences with firms that take cognisance of their staff attitude, ambience and process, a recent study by the Harris Group reveals that 72% of Millennials prefer to spend their hard-earned cash on experiences rather than on material goods

SERVICE CHECK AND ANALYTICS

In 2017 Companies need to inspect what they expect the staff to offer the customer because monitoring and measuring service performance will improve customer retention and this can only be achieve by ensuring product and service delivery quality to customer

Service check will also expose the training needs and sales opportunities and better customer relationship management and in turn ensure customer loyalty in 2017

Analytics is now the trend companies must have both the small and big data ,individual  customer’s buying patterns and preferences must be monitored to create amazing customer experience , a customised experience will create a connection with the customer will bring loyalty

 

SOCIAL MEDIA

Customers and consumers has become habituated to sharing their impressions of virtually every transaction on social media. Companies must increase their social listening to capture every negative and positive reaction of customers, a good example is the case of DND that happen between peter of a telecommunication company and innocent that transfer the aggression of high cost of rice in Nigeria to the call centre staff, what if the call centre staff peter could not respond well, this would have create a negative image for the company

Companies must track and coordinate customer feedback across multiple platforms and provide timely answers to preserve customer relationships, according to research from Salesforce, as many as 62% of high-performing consumer product retailers claim to have processes for using multi-channel feedback to create “single snapshots” of customers and directly address their concerns. Those who feel ignored will take their business elsewhere

 TRUST

Trust creates confidence. Confidence turns into repeat business. And when the customer comes back and experiences the consistent positive experience that they had the last time – and the time before – that repeated positive experience becomes predictable and can turn into customer loyalty Customers are now smart and will pick up on lack of sincerity in your interaction and dealings with them

 

 

 

Monday, 06 February 2017 11:07

2BABA;BRAND TAINTED

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2baba has surely gone against the lyrics of his popular 2011 single ‘‘E be like say”, which spoke against corrupt government practices. The most popular lyrics in this song, are “E be like say they want to tell us another story again o”, “E be like say they want to sing another song again o”.

Following the current disheartening state of the nation, legendary musician, Innocent Idibia, popularly known as 2baba, set out to carry out a march, to protest the ongoing recession, on the 6th of February, 2017. He succeeded in gathering so many followers, in persons of fellow Nigerians, to diligently protest against the hike in the prices of various commodities, as well as services, in the country.

However, on the 4th of February, 2017, only two days before the protest march was to commence, the musician pulled out of the protest completely. In an instagram video posted by 2baba, he showed his utmost regret for not going on anymore with the planned protest, reasons being that his security was at stake. Many Nigerians are greatly disappointed by this act, but vow to continue with the march, as planned with, or without 2baba.

In a service delivery perspective, it is safe to say that 2baba will never again be seen as one who stays true to whatever he says. His brand will never be again taken seriously, as he evidently, chickens out at the mere sight of trouble, not being courageous to take risks.

As illustrated earlier in his song, this is exactly what 2baba is doing “singing another song”, and “telling another story” to Nigerians, by pulling out of the protest he got everyone very excited above being a part of, from its inception.

Consequently big brands may not be willing to work with 2baba, or make him an ambassador to their products , and services, because he has proven that at certain times, he cannot be trusted to follow through with whatever promises he makes to the people, when it comes to public issues.

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