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The following took place between the hours of 4.10pm and 4.15pm in a bank somewhere in a city called Lagos

Teller: Please sign here.

Customer: Please, can I use your pen?

Teller: I’m using it. Why didn’t you come with yours?

Customer: Excuse you?

Teller: Oga, abeg I need to close on time and this is a New Year.

Customer: You are quite rude

Teller: Thank you sir. Do you want this money or you don’t?

Customer: Please have a nice evening.

He collected his cheque and he walked out of the bank shaking his head.

I felt really bad and humbled at the same time because if I was in his situation, believe me, the outcome would have been a whole lot different. I can’t really imagine leaving whatever I was doing to visit a bank to cash MY MONEY and then get a response like “Thank you sir. Do you want this money or you don’t?”. God knows that teller would have seen the type of madness that can only come from a person born by a woman violated by a combined Terry G, Timaya and Denrele.  I would have cursed so much that it would take the intervention of the Bank’s BOD to calm me down.

It will be unpatriotic to say that most Nigerian establishment lack excellent customer service delivery but truth be told; it is non-existent in most.

I’ve enjoyed excellent customer service by Dr Robert’s of Orchid Bistro, GRA Ikeja.  He’s one of the CEOs that I know that takes his time to move from one table to another in his outlet to make sure that his customers are properly treated.

In some outlet, the bad treatment starts from the security man at the gate. Take Auto Lounge for instance, I’ve seen the security men push people that can feed them, their families and their entire kindred just because they are in charge of another man’s gate.  That reminds me, I must really be out of touch because I never got the memo that bars are not supposed to serve Coca Cola with drinking glasses.  So, I was at Auto Lounge few days back and when I requested for a bottle of Coca Cola in glass with ice but guess what the bar manager told me…

“We don’t sell Coke with Ice and Glass here ooooo”

I asked him to move closer and I whispered in his ear

“You are not just rude, you are also silly to think that just because you sell Champagne that you don’t get to drink, you can just say anything no matter how silly it sounds?”

I mean, what is the big deal in selling Coca Cola in a glass? **rolling my eyes**

I don’t even want to start you on the issue of the bouncer that tries to stop you at the gate on your arrival like you would be spending his father’s money inside the club and turns around at your departure to hail you “Chairman”.

Nobody wants to do the right thing. The waiters at most eateries will hold onto your balance like it’s theirs while Mr Biggs security will want you to pay them before they open door but we cannot talk about customer service in Nigeria without talking about the airlines.

Some airlines will close check in 30minutes before departure and then delay you for 3 hours without explanation, compensation or feeding.  When I say no explanation, I mean no one will EXPLAIN nada to you and if you decide to cancel the flight, it will take them one full month to refund you and no, they won’t pay the money into your account, you’ll have to go get it yourself.

Like I said earlier, I cannot say that every public facing customer service executive in Nigeria is bad but we have more bad than good.  Amongst the few good ones is Ambrose who sells Gala on Falomo Bridge in Ikoyi.  He made me buy more than I budgeted for, just because he was simply amazing and kept smiling.

Ambrose on his Gala hustle (Falomo Bridge, Ikoyi)

I think we should make an effort to serve and treat our customers with respect.  I once heard that one Ashewo was always laying her customer’s bed after selling her trade and somehow, the customer ended up getting married to her.

If you’ve experienced any bad customer service delivery in Nigeria, Please share below in the comment box.

Noble Igwe

Noble Igwe

Nobs is a SLU…shh trust fund kid who works just to exercise his body and mind. He’s “Unruly” but as calm as the “ABE” boys. Referred to as FYI (Fly, Young and Igbo) by his friends, Nobs says iT tHe wAy iT iS. Follow him on Twitter @nobsdaslushhkid Enough of the English language……..My name is Noble Igwe,go figure!


  1. whatever happened to customer service is what happend to everyday person-to-person relations. people no longer want to meet new people, and everyone’s getting quite really hostile

  2. This article couldn’t be more correct. It is very true and so common that when one even gets good customer care, it’s a big deal and it shouldn’t. it doesnt happen in all establishments though.
    Nice article, keep it up.

  3. Customer service…I doubt if there will b marked improvement in that SECTOR eva!call mi a pessimist and I will stand at attention…even okada man get morale to dey talk anihow + their mouth odour fit drive u 2 suicide!
    Normal plus sized mi- when I stop an okada, I love hagglin- yes na fish- n truth b told I offten give xtra moni to the ones who dnt grumble throughout abt the enormous pressure on their tyres but there are odas who bad-mouth u throughout the xtremely uncomfortable journey on bumpy roads n xcept u 2 leave that 20naira change….hehehehe….mi? I d wait dey kampe till change appears.
    Haba!!!a lil customer friendly attitude goes a long way jare!!!
    Ps: that very rude girl I met yestanite…yes u…u wore a pink tee. I will av u know that I know ur mum- infact we go to the same fellowship. I knw u will read dis…n I hope u cringe in shame.

  4. First, lmao.

    I love how you ended with the lady and her customer. Wishes do come true don’t they. Lol.

    But on the real, yup customer service in naija is not the best. I do 101% co-sign that the Orchid Bistro in Ikeja has top-notch customer service. Dr Roberts is just awesome. Yellow Chilli too, but sometimes peeps brain dey touch.

    With Mr Biggs it’s so true. They act like they’re doing you a favour. The same with the tellers at Sweet Sensation in Ebute metta and the door peeps at Opebi. It’s quite annoying.(Let’s not get started with some peeps at the market and how rude they can be). But I guess it’s because they’re not being paid well. And with the bank shindig, that’s just ridiculous. I would have vexed ehn..Naija companies/entrepreneurs need to invest in excellent customer service AND pay their workers properly. Customers also have to treat employees with respect. Just because peeps are serving us doesn’t mean they’re beneath us/we’re better. No condition is permanent. Hopefully Ambrose’s situation changes for the better but that’s good that he already knows how to treat customers.

    I hope a customer-service/complaint rating type ish is created in Lagos/naija soon.

  5. airlines would have to be the worse of the pack, those chicks at the counters are just plain rude and insolent. i once told one that if she is angry she is a counter attendent, bitch you need to resign and go get pregnant for a chief, the stupid twat.

  6. Great Article…I must say Nobs is a Genius & keep it coming,they all need to learn 4real & d case of airlines are just so f*cking annoying.

  7. Yup! True story! The bouncers at rehab are terrible too! I heard one “femi” bouncer askin a guy that whether he has money to spend in the club, scratch that, they were gonna use electric tags on peeps! Sad! Sweet sensation at herbert macaulay is also very terrible!

  8. God u jus de read my mind! Especially dt auto lounge I was der one day thou I was bounced cos of my cute baby face anoda person dt was bounced also was monalisa chinda! Yes the popular nollywood actress and y, cos she was not on heels! For Gods sake is she nt goin der to spend money so y must we get embarrased! If its me d customer service does that to in a bank ill bring 20 million and tell him I don’t want him to use his hands and den after he finishes ill say dt I’ve changed my mind! Na e punishment b dt

  9. Yup! True story! The bouncers at rehab are terrible too! I heard one “femi” bouncer askin a guy whether he has money to spend in the club, scratch that, they were gonna use electric tags on peeps! Sad! Sweet sensation at herbert macaulay is also very terrible!

  10. im almost certain my comment will b longer dan this article if i want to start listing all the bs customer service i’ve had to put up with. The most recent one was when i called mtn customer care after my bis had not been reactivated for 4days and he replies “well if you pray hard enough maybe by tonight it’ll come back on”…i was tempted to ask since when mtn bis turned into a spiritual affair.

    The airlines in my opinion is a no-go area….from delayed-cancelled flights with no benefits. i’m sick and tired of saying i’m sick and tired.

  11. Great article Nobs. Of all d banks, Zenith is d worst if u ask me! If u dare walk into dr bank to carry out transactions dt don’t run into millions then ure asking for it!
    Personally I tink d guy in ur write up should av ‘handled’ dt teller- I NEVER let such an opportunity slip pass.
    If I come into ur institution to do biz d least u can do is treat me with respect!

  12. I’m w Diva on d Zenith issue, gud to know I’m nt d only one,their customer service is zero! Nobs gud write I must say, like u jst read my mind coz jst last weekend I was so irritated abt dis same issue… We rly ve a long way to go in naija. But d problem has been identified,nw let’s concern ourselves w d way forward-soln! Most of us who went tru dis article are in one organization or anoda or even run our own businesses please let’s start w us, treat customers rite, so dt by attacking dis prob individually it will help chk it in d long run, thx

  13. There’s nothing more I can say that will top most of ur experiences.. it happens daily I just try to block it out cos I don’t want to be that person. I work with a company that has a website (www.whereyoudey.com), based in Port Harcourt, we are not in lagos yet but I’m sure we can help with the feedback from customers to business owners when we come into lagos, you can actually find a business you visited and make a complaint about anyone you want to, with the person’s name and everything. And it gets forwarded to the company management. I’m pretty sure if we come into Lagos successfully, these stories will reduce, at least the company based ones, the okada drivers will still have their way. Lol.

  14. So Nobs, is this your way of bribing us for not having a new “Memoirs of a Slu…sshh kid” for us? God dey.
    Personally, I love the customer service at GTB; only been there twice, but it’s been great and my friends say the same about the bank.
    Those Mr. Biggs security people, omo I no get shame. I refuse to pay you while entering or leaving…it’s my right and I choose to assert it. Why should I pay you for holding my door while you’re standing in an air conditioned room? I get hand now, I fit do am myself. If they don’t like that explanation, I’m a chick, you’re a dude…let’s chalk it up to chivalry. Chikena!

  15. In my opinion, all those who open doors and hang around the parking lot of place should even be there, let alone assume they should be tipped. If the management provides good enough parking spaces, and doors that open without you having to expend all the energy you derived from your lunch of eba, im sure parking and opening a door wont be the task it is today. Now when it comes to places where real service is being provided, customer service is a joke. i think a good way to change that is not be quiet. If you get bad service speak out immediately, ask for the manager( although they themselves might lack sense) dont just accept it. Make a point without necessarily cursing or being abusive cos 2 wrongs dont make a right…. slowly but surely things will change. As customers we have more power than we realise..by the tym one frend spreads the word about bad CS at a particular place it would have a ripple effect.

  16. MTN has the worst customer service in 9ja FACT.their customer service operators on 180 dont knw ish about the services they offer.

  17. So true. TBH the average Nigerian is just to angry and miserable to go out of their way to help someone else – I understand this, we go through alot on a daily basis. My problem is when they are paid to do just dat and don’t. I have too many experiences TOO MANY!!! from eateries to airlines to phone networks to banks. Its gotten to the point that I hate having a problem that I cannot handle myself cuz i know I will be given the run around. I won’t share one of mine but one I witnessed recently. My attitude has gone from trying to understand (after all this is not England) to getting angry to just dealing with it as getting angry doesn’t change a thing. So I saw this IJGB (according to Nobs) at Mama Cass on Ajose and it was obvious he was at stage 2. He ordered a takeaway meal that comes with a drink, after giving his order 5 times to the server as she kept getting it wrong, and getting frustrated in the process, he now gets to the counter where he will get his drink and pay. The cashier tells him he needs to drop an empty bottle to get the drink. I swear you cannot imagine the expression on his face. I felt sorry and wanted to laugh at the same time.

  18. I walked into UBA Lekki Phase 1 and the lady at the Customer Service Desk said “What do you want?”. I was in shock! There’s no way you can ask someone “what do you want” politely, no matter the tone of voice it’s said in.

    I kept quiet and gave her a glassy stare/look of disgust, and she quickly smiled and said “how can I help?”

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