Nigerian companies are getting customer service wrong on social media, and it’s painful to watch. I could write entire articles about slow responses and the useless information companies provide in off-point answers to simple questions, but my major gripe is with the unnatural, non-conversational and alienating language carried over from corporate communications (read: emails) without any thought.
Note: If you’re the type to say “I’ll revert to your SMS later” in everyday conversation, stop reading this right away. You’re too far gone for help.
Two of the best things about social media are its simplicity and informality. It is absurd and even silly then for organisations to offload cumbersome language and incomprehensible essays on the timelines of people who are just looking for quick, straightforward help. I know where to go if I need to read an academic journal, thank you very much.
Three words in particular stand out as particularly offensive, and Nigerian companies need to delete them from their customer service vocabulary immediately.
A pretentious, stuffy and ironical way of saying “please,” kindly makes your company seem like the corporate representation of a poseur with a stick up his butt-hole. If you’re going to say “please,” just say it. Inflexible formality is discomforting.
Escalate is such a dangerous word to use in customer service conversations because of its ambiguity. Its most popular meaning, by far, is ‘worsen’. Tell me how a word that means ‘worsen’ will help calm an agitated customer. Don’t be foolish.
Contrary to popular Nigerian opinion, ‘revert’ doesn’t mean ‘reply’, it means to ‘go back to a previous state’. So every time you tell a customer you’ll revert (on an issue), what you’re really saying is that you’re not going to change anything. How very helpful of you.