Every successful business organization knows the value of their customers and the need to constantly keep them happy. A happy customer base usually implies satisfaction with the service provided or goods purchased. And this translates to more patronage from loyal customers and in turn increase in the overall customer base. When the reverse is the case, businesses lose out on potential profit.
This scenario doesn’t seem to apply to Nigerian banks because Nigeria is densely populated. The demand from the populace on these banks is so overwhelming that these banks can get away with providing the worst possible customer service ever and still experience a growth in their customer base. The problem isn’t in the lack of capacity to provide a better customer experience, because Nigeria is filled with qualified unemployed youths that can handle such roles. The problem lies in the unwillingness of the banks to take their customers seriously enough to ensure that they are satisfied with the service provided. Customer service is obviously not a priority because if it were, there would be more than two customer service agents per bank. Visit any bank in Nigeria, you will only find two customer service agents attending to a swarm of customers. If you find more than two customer service agents in a bank, then it must be your lucky day.
Due to the swarm of customers hovering around the usual two customer service agents per bank, customers hardly get the level of service they deserve. The agents lose their courtesy and treat the customers like they are a burden upon them. If you happen to be a rich customer and know one or two of the bank staff, you can avoid all this stress, because you are taken into an office and offered the kind of service every customer should be receiving in the first place.
I experienced such horrible service the other day at an Ecobank branch. The problem started when I tried to purchase groceries using my Ecobank Mastercard. The card was declined so I had to pay with another card. Then I tried using the card to withdraw some cash from an ATM, I got the following error “Issuer or Switch unavailable”. I then visited an Ecobank ATM and got the same error. At that point I was fed up and decided to visit a branch to withdraw over the counter. On getting to the branch, I was told I couldn’t use a withdrawal slip because I operate a current account. So I had to speak with a customer service agent at the branch there. The customer service agent was swarmed with customers as usual and I had to wait for at least 30 minutes before I could even get the chance to speak with the agent. I was eventually told to write an application letter to withdraw over the counter. I did this and was able to withdraw the money I needed only to be charged for that withdrawal. So this bank has failed to provide the service they were suppose to provide me with in the first place, put me through the stress of speaking to an over-crowded customer service agent and then charge me for all their troubles. Needless to say, I am not a happy customer and I will not be needing their service any more. The sad part is that they don’t even care that I am leaving because this is the normal kind of service they put their customers through and complaining yields more stress than resolutions. These issues aren’t exclusive to Ecobank, other people have faced similar or worse services at the hands of other banks. I certainly have faced similar issues at other banks but this is the most recent and therefore the most annoying for now.
The customer service problem is not a difficult one to solve. If only the managers of these banks make customer service a priority. I know the the amount of customers some of these banks have to deal with can be overwhelming but if it is a priority, it can be resolved. For example, Industrial attachment students can be trained to offer these services at a very cheap rate if cost is a problem. NYSC Corpers are also another option, they can be exclusively trained to offer the best of customer service experiences still at a cheap rate. So you see, there’s really no excuse for the horrible service experienced by customers of Nigerian banks.