I want to start a revolution. I believe the time has come for citizens to rise up and demand more. It’s time for a better quality of life – for the people, by the people. This revolution will give rise to greater satisfaction for everyone and create fortunes for those in its vanguard.
Before someone tips off the authorities, let me clarify. I’m not talking about a political movement but a radical change nonetheless. We need a seismic shift in customer service standards and I am prepared to lead the charge. Like most aspects of life in Nigeria, poor customer service is accepted as something to be borne stoically with very little complaint. Occasionally, this simmering pot of silent suffering boils over into the shouting you hear at airline counters and in banking halls all over the country. However, most of the time there is an eerie silence that makes you wonder if you’re the only one to notice the slights, inconveniences and blatant disregard for your patronage. In other developing countries, like South Africa and Jamaica, standards are much higher but there are still pockets of resistance that blight the customer experience, especially when the customers are from the lower classes and lacking in influence.
If you’ve been following this blog, you will know that I like to highlight challenging situations; not by way of complaint, but by proferring solutions or suggesting a way forward. Therefore, it will come as no surprise that I decided to write a book about how businesses can offer a much better customer service experience – and profit massively from it. The More3 Formula offers budding entrepreneurs and established business owners a tried and tested method of improving their products and services, delighting their customers and reaping the rich rewards that come from offering what I call ‘superior customer service’. Over the coming months, I will be spreading this gospel across Nigeria, the Caribbean, US and UK.
This type of action could spark a revolution but it’s hardly likely to keep the fires burning, long after the book launches have faded in the memory and enthusiasm wanes in the face of apathy. The real difference will be made by ordinary consumers raising their expectations, becoming more vigilant and demanding to be treated with respect; a point I raised in an earlier post, ‘Expect More‘. To understand the level of customer care on offer in the UK, for example, you would have to be aware of the thousands of letters, emails, tweets, online posts and telephone calls that besiege each offending organisation. In certain industries, such as utilities, airlines and financial services, the complaints will flood the regulators’ offices, forcing them to investigate any alleged breach and respond accordingly. The media plays its part too, highlighting the most serious cases that affect large numbers of people. This can be extremely effective because negative publicity is always bad for business.
Let me clear up one thing before I go any further – being polite and offering apologies has nothing to do with superior customer service. It’s all about satisfaction – getting what you want, when you want it, in a manner that meets or surpasses your expectations. There’s nothing more annoying than getting a grovelling apology from a waiter or shop assistant, telling you how sorry they are for not being able to fulfill your order on the sixth or seventh occasion. Someone has trained those here in Calabar to believe that repeating, “We’re very, very sorry, sir,” several times will make your frustration and disappointment less bitter. What nonsense. The measure of true customer service is extremely satisfied clients who recommend the provider to their friends and family.
If you are sceptical that your individual effort could make a difference, let me reassure you. I tend to improve some aspect of customer service, wherever I spend my money, if I’m not satisfied. I will point out the misdemeanour politely but firmly and ask for it to be corrected. Sometimes, I will ask for the manager to attend and, occasionally, I’ve been known to call an owner or two to let them know that their investment is being threatened by poor service. You would be surprised at how many owners and senior managers are grateful for being alerted to these issues.
I would like to leave you with the words of a quiet revolutionary who led one of the world’s most populous nations to independence, guided by a philosophy of non-violent resistance and a deep conviction that his people deserved better. Although his was a political movement, he felt that it was important for his followers to understand how fundamental good customer service was to their progress. Like him, I believe that quiet revolutions are the best route to progress because the battle can lead to winners on all sides. I hope you will join me.
“A customer is the most important visitor on our premises, he is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favour by serving him. He is doing us a favour by giving us an opportunity to do so.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi, Indian leader and activist
‘The More3 Formula: More clients x More sales x More money’ is out now on Amazon.com for just $4.99. If you don’t have a business or business idea but would like to see a friend or relative succeed, you can buy a copy for them as a gift. Click here to purchase.
The book is available as a Kindle download for any device – perfect for readers outside of the US, Canada and Europe where Amazon deliveries are not the norm. The Kindle app is free on iPad, Android and other platforms. Paperback version to follow in April 2016. For details on launch events in Nigeria, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
* image credit: http://www.customer-obsessed.com
17 thoughts on “It’s time for a revolution”
First book already, weldone sir! I have read a bit of it on Kindle….quite refreshing and informative. certainly will get a hard copy when it’s out. Revolution is here…thanks for your contribution to it. cheers
Thanks Charles, much appreciated. I will let you know as soon as the paperback is available in Nigeria. Blessings.
I know exactly what you are talking about!
This is the crux of business “superior customer services”. I will love to join this great movement. A quick question, how about those businesses with rude managers and those with preferential treatments? Say a new prospective costumer buys less of the product and an old costumer at the same time, but more purchase, how would you curb the bias this brings? Because money conscious people in business always have this bias and it leads to poor servicing of the new prospective costumer.
I’m not sure I understand your question but I will attempt to answer. I’m unclear about what bias you are referring to – is it a bias against the new customer because he purchases less and is not seen as important? Assuming that’s what you mean, I address the issue in my book. Businesses should value all customers and service should be consistent. Which would they prefer – a customer who spends 10,000 every month (120,000) or one who spends 3,000 each week (156,000 annually)? Both are valuable to the business and should be treated as such. If the new customer is treated equally well, he may introduce many of his friends and family to the business.
I wish you could join me in the streets of calabar,the best place to start is with taxi drivers,who think they have the right to overload their cabs
I’m happy to join you wherever. The right place to start would be the department that regulates them – DOPT, I think. Aside from regulation, the best way would be to start a better taxi service for more discerning customers who are willing to pay more. Your choice. I’m with you either way.
Congrats once again Michael on your new book.
And on the piece ‘It’s time for a revolution’, I couldn’t agree more with you on this. I’ve been doing some quiet work on the area of customer service myself. You’re absolutely right when you say that this revolution will give rise to greater satisfaction for everyone and create fortunes for those in its vanguard.
I’d like to be there in the vanguard with you, so I’m signing up for this revolution. it’s time!
Welcome aboard! I’m starting off the revolution with a presentation in Abuja on 23rd April, followed by a book launch in Calabar on the 28th and Lagos sometime the following week. Let’s see what we can do together.
Thanks for the information.
I will certainly attend the book launch in calabar.
Please let us know the venue.
It’s going to be at the Transcorp Hotel. I’ll give more details next week. Thanks for the support.
Thanks MIchael for last weekend tips at the #EntrepreneursBaseCamp Abuja. It was just great. Started applying the tips already at my business and believe the results will be exceptional. We love to see more of you here in Nigeria. Cheers.
Mohammed (From the seminar @ Abuja last weekend
Thanks Alqintara. I really appreciate your response. I’m glad you’re implementing the strategies from the book already. Stay consistent and you will see the results. I’ve been in Nigeria for five years and have no plans to leave just yet. Stay in touch and let me know how you’re progressing. Blessings.
Mike, how goes? Just finished reading the book The More3 Formula . Interesting and full of insights for neophytes and experienced people. However, I want to draw your attention to page 24 of the book where the last paragraph in chapter 2, page 24 precisely was repeated twice. Get the publishers to amend it when the next set of books roll out of the press. Cheers.
Mike, here is a full review of your book on my blog.
Thanks very much. This is really appreciated. Could you possibly reduce this to a few sentences and add your review on Amazon.com? It would really help. Blessings.