The Ikeja, Lagos-based Centre for International and Professional Studies (CIAPS) has said that Nigerian companies are failing to see the opportunities that exist in encouraging constructive complaints in their clients and staff.
Anthony Kila, a professor, and director of the centre, told business a.m. during an interview that companies operating in Nigeria are failing to address and encourage constructive complaints by both staff and clients and that they are operating under the belief that complaints are bad for business and so try as much as possible to avoid them.
Kila said CIAPS is beliefs that most companies in Nigeria lack the requisite skills in staff and management to see inherent benefits in complaints that are made about them, their products and services. It is to this end that it is organising a one-day workshop too for companies, businesses, and professionals this month to deliver the requisite skills required to address this shortcoming.
“Businesses are not doing enough and it is a common thing. There is no clear thing about managing conflict. People even don’t know how to complain and part of this is that companies don’t encourage people to complain in a proper way,” he said.
According to him, complaints are formal and structured and should be treated as such. “Given the fact that there are no formal procedures for making complaints in most organisations in the country and when there are, complaints are not taken seriously, leaving the clients or customers more dissatisfied,” he explained.
Kila believes that as the economy becomes more stringent, people tend to get cranky and complaints become more frequent, and so companies have to redress the way they handle complaints or risk losing business.
He said: “Companies are not addressing complaint enough partly because of perception, as it is seen as something very nasty; and also because of the way consumers are seen. For example, when you walk into an MTN office, and people are trying to retrieve stolen lines, you’ll see that we don’t treat them like consumers, you don’t think they are paying, you would think they are there to beg.”
He also said there was lack of communication between service providers and customers, noting that as people no longer have faith in the system, they don’t believe that service providers are meant to serve them, rather than the other way round.
The workshop will address shortcomings noticed in certain social skills that are missing in people, including how to write proper complaints letter, how to see complaints as research and preparation tools, how managers can turn complaints into opportunities for growth and increased business presence.
The workshop will also be used to encourage companies to open complaints platform for both clients and staff, among other areas to be covered.