Meet SIKIRA. She’s a lady in her late twenties who sells food beside our office. She used to sell only drinks and biscuits until many people in the neighborhood convinced her to open a canteen and start selling cooked food. I was one of those that told her she could make money selling food after she provided lunch for some of our elophotos academy students 3 years ago.
Apart from the fact that her food was outstanding, her personality was even more attractive. She was kind, courteous, and extremely friendly. And those traits seemed like the right ingredients that will go with someone selling food. Considering the fact that her “food” competitors lacked customer service, she was destined to stand out if she ventured in the business. Or so I thought.
Few weeks into the food business, I realized that a spirit had possessed Sikira. All of a sudden, she started insulting customers that came to buy food from her and her customer-service oriented nature went on a looooooooong vacation. She would frown at customers, shout at them, and with the support of her mother in the business, she’ll even tell some customers to carry their business elsewhere.
The interesting thing I discovered was that the more she insulted people – some of whom are her father’s age mate – the more customers kept coming to buy food from her. They kept coming for ONE reason: her food was delicious. So tasty was her delicacies that the thought of having her as my personal cook crossed my mind. I was surprised that people kept coming to buy from her despite the fact that she didn’t treat them with the utmost respect. But then again, I realized that a lot of us in this part of the world are “used” to being insulted and abused. Just look at the multitude of organizations in Nigeria with terrible customer service and you’ll wonder why they remain in business. MTN and Aero contractors will top my list of companies that fall in that category. Guaranty Trust Bank might eventually join the list if they don’t return my N20k that was swallowed by an ATM machine over 6 months ago.
It occurred to me that this was a BIG business opportunity. If someone that could provide the same service or product and simultaneously treat customers right, the sky is just the starting point of the profit potential.
Bringing the scenario back into the photography business. There are many photographers that have been in business only because the people that patronize them like the “products” that have been served them. The customer service however is another story. Our ultimate goal as photographers & business men (& women) who want to remain relevant in the industry for years to come – regardless of the introduction of new technology – is to build systems that are devoid of the SIKIRA SYNDROME. If we can achieve that, we might eventually not have to spend as much money in trying to advertise our products & services: our clients will become our BIGGEST & most effective marketers.
Until we get new companies that can provide the same quality of products and services that are offered by Sikira & MTN, we might just be stuck with them in the meantime. Eventually when a new food vendor with great customer service and delicious food (a combination that I’m confident is a possibility) arrives in our neighborhood, my colleagues and I have little or no option but to keep patronizing her.
Until then, I will do my best to make sure that the SIKIRA SYNDROME does not possess us at eloPhotos.
Plan to take a photography course at eloPhotos Academy. Visit eloPhotos Academy for a detailed list of options of classes to take. It will be the best investment you’ll make in your journey to photography greatness