All in a Days Work

So at some point in my career I worked in customer service for a little over 2 years and believe me when I say for the first time in my talkative life I talked until my mouth hurt (I mean this literally… its not an expression). Customer service in Nigeria is a form of verbal and emotional abuse (phew…finally I said it). My goodness!!! It’s like a bad relationship …. you get paid to be emotionally destroyed, Gosh it is really bad.

Any customer service person will agree with me that dealing with Nigerians is extremely hard (I once saw a youtube video of an Emirate airline staff dedicated solely to the difficulty of dealing with Nigerian passengers). Nigerians are angry (understandably so especially at the government) unfortunately it translates to everything. First thing in the morning at 8:00am

Me: Goodmorning

Customer: What is good about the morning?

Me: Smiles and tries to quickly come up with something spiritual like ‘God is good‘ but trying hard to sound corporate and say something intelligent like ‘the stock market is doing well’. In the end I succumb to the Nigerian in me and simply murmur “it is well” whilst looking at my colleague and telepathically saying HELP!!!!!

Customer: “Madam, I said answer me what is good about the morning? You and this your useless {insert organizations name} you are all thieves…How can a fine girl like you be stealing? …..

Me: Wondering why my father is not Dangote. I answer “We are very sorry about that sir/ma. Please how may I help you…..etc

Many Nigerians are rude, entitled {One day I slept off and left my phone in the living room my mom yelled a customer on my phone for calling me at midnight from Dubai. Her reason? she needed to shop and her card wasn’t working and it was only number she had} and have a complex; a lot of us Nigerians me included do not like following instructions and processes. The average Nigerian believes there is a way around everything (basically they don’t believe the rules apply to them). We doubt and distrust authority (again our government has been very disappointing and has contributed to this) thinking everyone is out to take advantage of them.

You are also required to know about so many things.  I have handled a divorcee seeking advice {I wasn’t even married I had to call many lawyer people}, I have dealt with a military man back home for a few hours from sambisa forest and trying to figure out how to make sure his wife is paid by the military when he is away {It turns out he could’ve sorted that out himself from work but somehow I got yelled at “military style”}. I have had to carry a newborn and attend to other customers while her mom who just had a c-section sorted stuff out why? ‘cos the husband ran away from the hospital and she had to come get money or the they wouldn’t let her go (wicked hospital) .

This simply means as a customer service officer, you are on the receiving end of all this frustration, anger etc. and many times you become a referee, a teacher, a lawyer, an accountant even a psychologist because you’re dealing with the emotional baggage carried around by every citizen and have to tend to their emotional wellbeing so that you can then do what you are paid to do then your job can make sense…..urghhhh hell!!

You find yourself spending extra time explaining how every new product or process isn’t a scam and despite all this, Nigerians are still gullible and greedy this also means you have a large number of us falling for online scams and get rich quick schemes and you will have to deal with cries, threats of arrest, threats of murder etc. Did I mention I worked in a commercial bank? The loss of the least currency would trigger a truckload of verbal abuse and …… It’s a lot to deal with when all you are trained to do is answer basic questions about your organization. I can’t tell you how many times I ended up in the rest room trying real hard not to cry my makeup off.

A lot of Nigerians make decisions based on rumuors and hear-say and will attack you viciously when you advice otherwise (EVEN IF ITS THE LAW). The worst part is when it goes wrong they go making accusations on social media and creating hashtags (thats an automatic memo for me).

After being called a thief, a bastard, a foolish daft idiot , told I was probably hired based on sentiment because I was too much of a fool ( Nigerian customers are harsh) you develop thick skin and that I am grateful for. I was even told my nail polish is the reason I wasn’t married and that I had better go and get a husband and stop using the office as a runway (I was single at the time). Lets not even go into how many farts, bad breathes and body odours we had to deal with daily…


The funniest part was I was still required to smile and say welcome as if I had just won the lottery and if one customer said they didn’t like my face or that I wasn’t friendly, I was in trouble after all “customer service is my job” it didn’t matter that I worked weekends and holidays and no we did not run shifts. Thinking back I am really grateful for all the kind and understanding customers because God knows they were the sunlight on a cloudy day.

I remember I used to have nightmares almost every-night about work. I still feel my old office owes me at least 10 sessions with a shrink. Somedays I got it right and other days I failed. thinking back all I can say is it was all in a days work.









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