wooing customers

‘Thank goodness, the stupid girl didn’t even bother to password her PC!’ Alfred grinned as he hurriedly slotted a CD into the PC drive. He had deliberately stayed back late in the office before executing his plan.

And while he waited for the disk to complete its process, his phone rang.

‘Hmm, my wife, and her close monitoring, sha!’ he sighed, as he picked the call at the third ring.

‘Hello babe,’ he began.

‘I’m in a tight traffic jam now,’ he continued, ‘my car is in between two fuel tankers…don’t panic my dear, just be praying for your dear husband…okay…love you too…’

He had a good laugh at his own fabricated story, which had become a second nature to him.

As he watched the disk downloads its content on the PC, his mood instantly changed, and in anger, he began to speak to the computer as though it was human.

‘Angela, I’m going to teach you a lesson or two. No girl ever dumps Alfred and goes scot-free…after this experience; we’d see who wields more power in LARRY NIG LTD.

And just as the disk was almost completing its operation, his phone rang again.

‘Hello, Babe…you won’t believe it, the road is now as free as though there was no traffic in the first place…coming home soon, dear…kisses…’

**********

It was business as usual the next morning at LARRY NIGERIA LTD. Its teeming customers had already occupied half of the reception space, waiting to be attended to.

‘Oga, this delay is getting too much?’ one of the customers complained, ‘don’t you have any more stock for us?’

‘We do, ma’am,’ Felix, the Sales Rep explained, ‘please, bear with us, we’re still expecting the Cashier.’

‘But this is already past eight?’ another customer added, gazing at the wall clock, ‘that lady… Angela or what do you call her name is always coming late; can’t someone else attend to us?’

‘None for now; her other colleague is on leave; please be patient,’ he pleaded once more.

‘At last, here she comes!’ Felix heaved a sigh of relief, the moment he spotted Angela alighting from a motorbike.

‘Look at the way she’s cat walking without any sense of urgency…’one elderly man remarked.

‘Please excuse me, I would be right back,’ Felix ran towards the Accounts office.

‘Angela, please, hurry up,’ he tapped her desk gently, ‘those customers had been waiting for long.’

The moment that Angela turned her computer on, her countenance suddenly changed.

‘Felix, please, come and look at these strange messages displaying on my screen.’

‘What?’ the young man screamed, ‘but you’re using a brand-new system. Are you sure all these viruses are not from your flash?’

‘No, I’ve not used any flash on this system since I got it. What could have gone wrong?’ she querried.

‘This is no time for unnecessary questions, Angela, go and lodge your complaint to Alfred, fast.’

‘Alfred?’ she shook her head, ‘Felix, please help me fix it.’

‘Why don’t you want to see Alfred? He’s an IT person and knows better.’

After much resistance, Angela, reluctantly went to the IT office.

Meanwhile at the reception, customers’ impatience soars.

‘But what sort of rubbish is this?’ one of them blurted, ‘I left my three month-old baby at home, all because of…’

‘I’m so sorry everyone,’ Felix pacified, ‘we’re fixing an internal issue; please stay calm, let me check the IT office.’

Angela, on her part, had tried all to no avail to get Alfred to come and fix her system.

‘But what kind of staff are you?’ the young lady sighed, ‘I’ve been standing here like forever, pleading with you…’

‘Hold it there Angela!’ he interrupted, ‘I’m glad you’ve realized how important I am in this company. The operations of this organization are useless without the IT department.’

‘So, what are you feeling like? A Superman?’

Alfred laughed huskily and moving closer to her, flung his arm around her shoulders.

‘Oh, you look prettier when you’re angry, Angela, why did you suddenly dump me? Don’t you feel anything for me anymore?’ Alfred probed.

‘Well, that was in the past…Alfred, you’re married…’

‘Oh, spare me the rest of the details! you already knew I was a married man all the while I lavished my hard-earned money on you,’ he continued, ‘and with my marital status still intact, we both had a nice moment last weekend at the Lagos Sheraton ho…’

‘So, this is where you’re fixing the system?’ Felix sauntered into the office and disrupted their conversation.

‘It’s not what you think,’ Angela said in defense, ‘I’ve been pleading with Alfred since to come fix my PC…’

‘I can see that clearly,’ Felix shook his head, ‘and he’s really doing a good job with his arm around your shoulders…’

‘Alfred, please, you can both continue from where you stopped later, but please, those customers have waited too long. Come and fix her system!’

**********

The customers eventually got their merchandise, but not without series of complaints.

Felix, who was already used to such scenario, felt the tension more that day. Although, he had exceeded the sales target for the month, yet deep within him, a remote fear was beginning to bud.

Over fifty percent of their customers that morning had clamoured that the shape of the container of the vegetable oil be changed.

‘I would inform my boss,’ Felix had assured the anxious customers, ‘my job is to satisfy your needs.’

Although Felix had tendered the request to his boss, Mr. Obinna Maduka, previously without a positive response, yet after his encounter that day, he had decided to give it another try.

‘Sir, our customers are still insisting we change the shape of the containers of our vegetable oil,’ Felix began.

‘Those customers are asking for too much!’ Obinna fumed, ‘what has the shape of the container got to do with the content? Are they going to eat those containers?’

‘Sir, the customer is the king, remember, and we must strive to adjust to their changing needs,’ Felix insisted.

‘Felix relax,’ the middle aged man laughed, ‘the month hasn’t ended yet, and we’ve already exceeded our sales target for the month; we already have more than we can chew.’

********

The preference for the brand of the vegetable oil produced by LARRY NIG LTD continued to soar, and while the company enjoyed tremendous sales volume, HEALTHY LIFE LTD, a new entrant into the vegetable oil market, had begun strategizing on having its fair percentage of the market.

Unknown to the management of LARRY NIG LTD, Temilade Tella, one of the newly-employed staff who swept the Sales Manager off his feet during the interview, was a spy from HEALTHY LIFE LTD, the rival company.

‘You have just three months to work at LARRY NIG LTD,’ Temilade recalled the mandate her ‘former’ boss had given her before she joined the new company, ‘don’t be carried away by their juicy offers; and always report back to us on a weekly basis. Do I make myself clear?’

‘Yes sir!’ she had replied.

Temilade, the undercover staff, was on the field one day, with her sales colleague Felix when her phone rang. She already knew who the caller was by the ringing tone.

‘Please, excuse me,’ she turned to Felix

‘Is there no network service here?’ he teased.

‘This is a personal call from my…’ she smiled, ‘you should know what I mean.’

‘Oh, I see; you’re free.’

She walked some meters away from any suspicious glare; took a deep breathe before answering the call from her ‘main’ boss.

‘Hello sir…’ she began.

‘So far, so good…I would send the company’s trade secret to you tonight by email…once we can exploit that, we’re home and dry…beyond that sir…their customer services is so poor…sir, I’d talk to you later…later sir…I’m working with a smart colleague…bye…’

********

Mission accomplished, Temilade returned to her erstwhile work place. Within a space of six months, the sales volume of LARRY NIG LTD had dwindled. Striving to hit the sales target became a wild goose chase. Although the quality of the vegetable oil has not diminished, yet the company had lost most of its key customers to HEALTHY HEART LTD  and a handful of others.

Like a wounded lion, the MD of LARRY NIG LTD, rebounded. After having several meetings with a consultant, he gathered the findings and called for an urgent meeting with his entire member of staff.

‘It is no longer business as usual at LARRY NIG LTD,’ the MD began on a solemn note.

‘I’m sure you all know that our sales volume is not like before,’ he continued, ‘and this is all because we’ve lost a very significant number of our customers to our competitors. Now I’ve realized that the customer is the most important person, and the reason why we’re in existence in the first place.’

Felix shook his head in agreement as the MD spoke.

‘According to David Packard of Hewlett & Packard: ‘marketing is too important to be left to the marketing department.’’

‘Ride on sir!’ Felix applauded.

‘One of the recommendations from our external consultant is that marketing must be well coordinated with the other departments, that is, the Accounts, Engineering, IT, Logistics etc. must all work towards ensuring customers satisfaction while performing their respective tasks. In other words, there shouldn’t be any breaking of ranks in our duties.’

‘Well said sir,’ the Sales Manager applauded.

‘You’re my first scape goat,’ the MD pointed at him.

‘Me?’

‘Yes, you, Obinna Maduka,’ he affirmed, ‘although you’re the sales manager, yet a poor communicator. Beyond making sales, your task also involves managing crisis. But regrettably, you’ve failed in that area. The management is therefore leaving you with an option of either resigning your appointment, or swapping positions with Felix, your subordinate.

The middle-aged man looked down in disappointment, while all manner of side talks traveled around the hall.

‘Next on my list, is Alfred Osazuwa,’ the MD continued, ‘Alfred!’

‘Yes sir!’ Alfred stood undaunted like a hero, amidst the mutterings around him.

‘Alfred, great men prove their relevance through hard work and not by pulling down structures and issuing threats.’ I’m afraid, you’re a minus to both the IT department and this organization. It’s in your best interest therefore to resign your appointment immediately.’

‘Last but not the least, is our beauty queen; Angela Ajayi!’

‘Yes sir,’ she answered in a feeble tone.

‘Angela, your careless and inconsistent attitude does not befit someone that works in the Accounts department. I announce to you therefore that the management is already waiting to receive your resignation letter latest by tomorrow.’

And while the affected employees began to leave the auditorium, the question of who is next hung on the minds of the rest.

‘The customer is the boss,’ the MD emphasized, ‘and each of the departments must consistently seek avenues to woo the boss.’

Final Remarks: The customer is the reason for the existence of every organization, public or private, and invariably remains the real boss.

Until I come your way again next week, KEEP MOVING!