Friday, October 5, 2012

A salute to GTBank security personnel

Four months ago I tweeted:

“GTBank has lost its value for customer care with long queues, smelling branches, no parking space and security men who can’t direct customers on where to park.”

One word to describe how I felt, IRRITATED!

I was irritated because I had visited a branch at Alausa to use the ATM and the security man said it was okay to park along the road as the car park was full and my car got towed.

According to him, the Lagos State Traffic Management Agency (LASTMA) grants a concession on Fridays allowing roadside parking during prayer time because of the traffic to the mosque which is located close to that particular branch. As LASTMA officials are unable to tell who goes into the mosque or bank, I wasn’t at risk of my car getting towed or impounded.

Events however did not pan out in my favour as my car was towed by LASTMA during the few minutes I spent using the ATM. It was quite a horrendous experience because not only was it a Friday at 3.50pm by the time I located the LASTMA office, which meant I couldn’t pay the fine until after the weekend, I was stranded without a car for the weekend and Monday which I had taken off to study ahead of my exam on Tuesday was spent at the bank, the Lagos state secretariat and the LASTMA office, trying to retrieve my car.

However, I have since forgiven the security man whose name or face I cannot remember but have made it a duty not to visit that particular branch anymore. My most recent visit to the bank was last Friday amid the rush toward the public holiday, and I couldn’t but once again appreciate the work those fine gentlemen do.

As I learnt that the first week in October of every year is Customer Service Week globally and dedicated to recognise the efforts of customer service professionals who serve and support customers, I like to salute all GTBank Security men with this post. A lot of people may think customer service week and choose to recognise the efforts of the frontline customer service within the organisation but I choose those behind the scenes whose efforts we take for granted.

For 10 years and counting, I have banked with GTBank and I dare say that they have been consistent. If in all my years of banking with GTBank I have had just one negative experience and the personnel in question was respectful and very apologetic then I believe they are worth celebrating. Afterall, Jesus recommends we forgive 70 x 7 times.

Their security men are polite under the sun or in the rain. They have never asked me for a tip and always manage the mad rush at the bank which has now become commonplace at GTBank branches in the last two-three years. I dare say GTBank has a culture and it hits you right from the experience with the security men through the tellers and so on. They understand the concept of brandingbeing a customer’s total experience with all touch points including security men and not just the bank’s logo.

I really hate the crowd at the bank these days and it could mean one of two things:

1. Positive word of mouth (WOM) has spread about GTBank that virtually everyone now owns an account with GTBank

2. Customer service has declined

But I choose the former because with all the innovation around e-banking, I hardly have a need to visit the bank.

You may wonder why all the fuss but in a country such as Nigeria where good customer service is a privilege or everything is paid for such as someone demanding money because he gave you directions to your destination, or selective treatment at salons in which those you give the higher tips get attended to first, then the comportment of the GTBank security men is big deal.

So to GTBank, I doff my hat in admiration of your ever so comported security personnel.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Proudly Nigerian

In the last two to three weeks I have sat in meetings to review proposals for a high profile event and I one thing seems to keep reoccurring. All the event planners have suggested that because it is a high profile event, the menu shouldn’t be Nigerian. They have recommended the bland, half-cooked and the uncooked including Sushi. While I have tried to kick-back, this seems to be the trend and really gives me cause for concern especially as it is happening at a time when we are celebrating our independence and our nationality. I simply cannot understand why you should serve purely international dishes at a Nigerian event, high profile or not. A worst case should be a mix. 
I have attended a high profile event in the UK. The event had CEOs and top-guns from Europe, Middle-east and Africa. It was VERY high profile and the menu was VERY British. The menu came with the invitation about two weeks before the event and all they were interested in knowing was whether or not I am vegetarian. They couldn’t be bothered with serving Nigerian dishes.

We say we are proudly Nigerian but are so quick to forget who we are; we want to attend a Nigerian event and eat Sushi; want to speak with a British or American accent, and generally act like who we are not. 

Inspiration FM On-air Personality, Dan Forster has been in Nigeria for over 10 years, is married to an Ibo woman but he is yet to lose his American accent for a Nigerian accent. I even recall him lamenting over the radio that his Nigerian born children will end up with 'the stupid Nigerian accent', so why are we so eager to lose ours?
About half my Blackberry contacts have had the Nigerian flag or something symbolic for their love for Nigeria as their DP since yesterday but I don’t believe that a lot of us are proudly Nigerian.