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Friday, 31 March 2017 09:23

ETISALAT HOLDS CUSTOMER FORUM

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Etisalat Nigeria, has held the quarterly Customer Forum, to interactively engage  her customers. The forum, serves as a platform for customers to give their feedback, on their experiences from using the products, and services Etisalat has to offer.

The first quarter of the 2017 edition of the forum, flagged off in Kwara State, on March 16th.

Some Etisalat representatives, intimated the customers on benefits of using the Etisalat network, and sourced for suggestions from customers in that region, on how the network can serve them better.

A customer, Christina Odigie, disclosed how the Etisalat network has assisted her greatly, in improving her business. ‘‘I work for a fashion magazine, so I am always online, to stay ahead of fashion trends. I also stream videos, and download media. I must confess, that Etisalat’s data quality is second to none’’, she said.

The Kwara State Commissioner for Environment, Otunba Taiwo Joseph, also commended the efforts of Etisalat, in responding in a timely fashion, to the complaints of the customers. He also emphasized that he had some challenges with his Etisalat line, and as soon as he laid a complaint to that effect, at the Etisalat Experience Centre, it was fixed in no time at all. ‘‘Since then, I have been enjoying both data, and voice services, without complaint’’, he expressed.

Etisalat Customer Forum has helped the network provide better services, across the country, in key cities such as Lagos, Abuja, Portharcourt, Kaduna, Ibadan, and Benin, among others.

In the same vein, the Brand and Experience Director, Elvis Ogiemwanye, revealed that feedback gotten from previous Customer Forums, have helped the company develop more innovative products, and services, which solve everyday problems for customers.

 

 

Tuesday, 28 March 2017 11:16

BUILDING A STRONG CUSTOMER SERVICE TEAM

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Every organisation, company, or business, must have a very strong customer service team, as it is the customer service agents that make the total customer experience, one to always remember, as pleasant. The customer service team comprises persons who cater to the questions, enquiries, and overall needs of the customers. They serve as a major touch point, in the entire customer experience. This customer service team, must be created by a management, which understands the rudiments of picking great, and competent individuals, to make up the customer service team. There are some pointers that the management of any company, or business, should look out for, when picking out their teams for customer service delivery. Some of these pointers include making sure the prospective team members, are caring, and very knowledgeable about the business’ products, and services, but to mention a few.

Being ‘caring’, as one of the yardsticks for becoming a team member for customer service delivery, is a major factor, which must not be compromised on. When team members are being picked out, it must be considered that only caring persons are selected, as the whole idea of customer service deals with tendering to customer needs, which can never be realised, if the Customer Service Agent (CSA) does not care about the concerns of customers. The team members must be caring enough to run the business, like it were theirs. This means that the potential CSA must possess the ability to view the business, as though they were the bosses, or C.E.O of the company, and not just as an employee, or ordinary team member of the company. Everyone who owns a business, always works towards making sure that business thrives; no one wants their business to become a failure. Consequently, if the CSAs see the business, as their own, they would do all they can, to make sure the business flourishes, at the end of the day.

Also, in building a strong customer service (CS) team, the management, or expert hired to do the selection, must seek out selfless team members, who are dedicated, and results-driven. Team members of any customer service team, must be selfless; they must, at all times, think of ways to make the customers happy, at all costs, so long as they do not imbibe illegal, or corrupt practices in doing that. They must be empathic about whatever situation the customers find themselves in, and selflessly help out, to make the customers have a glad, and satisfactory experience, amidst the initial sour nature of their patronage experience. Such team members, must also be very dedicated, and driven; potential CSAs must have been observed to be very committed to their work, even in tough times. Murmurers, and lazy hands, are not needed in a customer service team, which is expected to deliver great customer experiences to the customer. Only individuals, who are driven to the sole cause of customer service delivery, must be selected to be on the CS team.

Bad attitudes must not be tolerated; individuals with terrible attitudes, are not expected to be on the CS team. Bad attitudes would only put the customers off, and no business wants to have customers who are always put off by poor attitudes of CSAs. Individuals vying to be on the customer service team, must be properly sifted, so as to know the ones with good attitudes, as well as the ones without. The latter would only break, and not build a good CS team, which eventually, destroys the entire customer experience, to shreds.

Most importantly, in building a strong CS team, individuals being considered, must be vastly knowledgeable of the products, and services which the company offers. Product, and process knowledge of any business, or company, by CSAs, is very necessary, in answering the questions customers may have, as well as in the solving process. Putting someone, who has little, or no knowledge of the products, and services of the business, and the company as a whole, is as good as placing a moron behind a desk, to answer to customers. This should be completely avoided, when picking out a strong CS team.

To be able to determine which individuals fit into all these qualities, that is, to know persons who are caring, dedicated, have a good attitude, and are knowledgeable of the products, and services of the company, testing, and, or, probation must be carried out. This process involves giving prospective CS team members, a time frame, to exhibit these qualities, which would help them perform excellently, in customer service delivery. After the probation, proper sifting can then be done, to pick out the ones most appropriate, and skilled for the job, from the ones who performed averagely. Putting the aforementioned tips into cognizance, when picking out individuals to be on a Customer service team, would help a great deal, in building a strong team at that. 

Monday, 27 March 2017 09:25

WELDER DUPES CUSTOMER

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An Abuja based Welder, Known as Hassan Joshua, 38, has been arraigned, and eventually, arrested, for collecting money from a customer, and absconding with it.

 

The case, which was reported at Gwarimpa Police Station, has been reviewed in court, by Judge Alhaji Abubakar Sadiq, of Karmo Grade 1 Area Court, Abuja. Hassan, was reported to have invested one of his customers’ money, in the money doubling Ponzi scheme, Movrodi Mondial Movement, popularly known as ‘MMM’.

 

The amount of money involved, is said to be Four Hundred, and Thirty Thousand Naira (430,000).

 

According to the prosecutor, Zannah Dalhatu, the money was given to the defendant, Hassan Joshua, for the construction of water tanks, and doors. , “After collecting the money, he refused to do the work and he absconded to an unknown destination’’, Mr Dalhatu told the court.

 

The judge pointed out that such an offence is punishable under Sections 312 and 322 of the Penal Code. Mr Hassan, was thereby sentenced to two months imprisonement, and was also ordered by the court, to pay back the customer’s money, with a ten thousand naira fine.

 

Monday, 27 March 2017 09:12

SHOWING CUSTOMERS THEY ARE NEEDED

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It is not enough to just have a huge customer base, but what makes the entire customer experience more fulfilling, is that they know the company they do business with, or patronise regularly, really need their patronage. When the customers know that the company truly depends on them, and their particular patronage targets, then said customers would be more than pleased to continue doing business with such a company. As a business, organisation, or company, showing customers that you need their patronage, deals with a lot of rudiments. However, one major key to making your customers be rest assured that indeed, your company needs them, is ‘listening’.

The art of listening is very important, in relating with the customers. This art is a very delicate one, as it does not only involve opening your ears to hear what the customers say, but fully entails paying deep attention to every single detail the customers lay down in the process of complaints, or asking questions. The Customer Service Agents (CSAs), or any other touch point of the company, who the customer encounters, must possess great listening skills; they must always pay attention to the customer. Listening closely to customers, especially when you have offered them a lot of options, make them feel, and know that you are interested in hearing their take on the options you gave, debunking the impression that you may be trying to impose those options on them. Customers must be given a chance to make their own choices, of course, after critically divulging all that the CSA tells them about what they can do. During this process, the CSA must listen patiently, and know what the customer decides. It is at this point (after listening), that the CSA can then give their two cents, with regards to whatever the customer decides.

 ‘Smile always’. Smiling always lights up a room, no matter the atmosphere or aura the room has. Making the customer happy, no matter the mood they walked into your business, or company with, is utmost. The customer feels needed, if they are welcomed with a smile, and of course, attended to, with warmth, and a smiley face. CSAs must not be frustrated by the customers’ attitudes, or mood,

 

but try their best possible, to still make the customer feel happy, and needed, amidst the whole gloominess. Customers must not be passed off, or irked by a frowny faced CSA. All CSAs, and other touch points in the company, must always put up a smile on their faces, when encountering a customer, as customers feel more comfortable relating to people in the company, who welcome them warmly, and look like they are more than pleased to attend to their needs. This makes the customer feel very much needed by the company; it makes them know that the company holds them in high esteem.

Your appearance, and attitude must also show that you want the customer to patronise, or invest on our business. Body language speaks volumes, when making ordinary interactions or communication with anyone at all, talk more of with someone who you want something from. The staff attitude towards customers, must be one of good value. Do not murmur, roll your eyes, or act in other abstract manners that tell the customers that you do not want to speak to them, and thereby, do not need them to patronise the company’s products, and services. Your appearance must exude your intentions, about you wanting them to invest in your business. ‘Look like what you want’; show them you are extremely interested in working with them, or having them purchase your products, or services. The appropriate appearance in convincing the customers that they are needed, is one of poise, seriousness. Do not dress shabbily, or in a nonchalant fashion, when speaking to customers, or prospective customers, about patronising your business. In the area of attitude, do not exhibit the vice-like attitudes that tell the customers that you are unprofessional, and unready for business. Do not be rude, stand offish, quick to judge, or arrogant, when dealing with the customers. These vices would not make the customer feel welcomed into your company, and when they start feeling that way, nothing, and no one can convince them to patronise your company, as they would feel their patronage is not needed. In the same vein, non-verbal communication must convey a good impression in the customers’ mind.

Generally, the customer must be made to feel like they are needed, both abstractly, and in physical terms too. 

Monday, 27 March 2017 09:09

SON UNCOVERS EXPIRED PRODUCTS

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The Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), has uncovered a four-storeyed building, in Lagos, where expired products are stored for repackaging, and reselling.

The discovery was made by Officials of SON, with the help of tip offs, from members of the public, who had suspected that something unusual was going on in the building. ‘‘We acted on the intelligence we received from well-meaning Nigerians’’, Engr. Bede Obayi, SON Director of Monitoring, and Compliance, disclosed to reporters on the scene.

Various expired products, such as body creams, baby diapers, cosmetics, etc., were reported to have been found on the scene. The perpetrators of this act, operated by getting rid of the labels, which had the expiry dates of the products, and replacing it will freshly printed labels, with new expiry dates. These new labels, were then glued onto the expired products, to make consumers think it was still effective, and had not yet expired.

The Director expressed his dismay, with regards to the situation, saying ‘‘These are baby diapers, which expired since 2015. Imagine the reaction it would give to babies, if used in 2017’’.

Obayi went ahead to point out, that most of the products, were imported, and the importers bought them from overseas, even though they knew they were expired.

His reason for this act, was that they probably knew there was a ready market in Nigeria, which would rapidly patronise the expired products, unknowingly, to them.

The SON Director, also revealed to journalists, present, that the building was disguised in such a way that, no one would quickly know that illegalities, were being performed, inside of it. The clothes on lines, at the balconies of some of the flats, could never easily give the building, and its evil plots, away.

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. 

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