Why I went into Customer Service Business – Mrs Ifeoma Tete Mbuk, CEO of YFY firm
Mrs Ifeoma Tete Mbuk is the CEO of YFY firm, a Leading Nigerian customer service training and value creation consultancy in Victoria Island, Lagos.
YFY recently went into partnership with JoAnna Brandi & Co Inc, the United States based customer service solutions provider.
With this partnership, YFY enjoys the exclusive rights in Nigeria to teach, sell and administer final tests on the Customer Service Coach- one of the most sought-after global brands in customer care.
An excited Ifeoma reveals more about the implications of this and the importance of customer care.
How did you start YFY and what inspired the name?
I have organisational skills, and I always want to see things put in their proper place. It is still exciting for me to cultivate relationships with people and make them comfortable around me. Therefore, naturally, I have a flair to engage with people, build and add value to relationships. To add value whether in the workplace, groups, associations or on the home front is what inspired the name; YFY (pronounced Y.F.Y) and stands for: Yielding Value For You.
Why customer service?
The success or failure of any business depends on its level of customer service. It is the differentiating factor for all companies. Additionally, customer service helps to improve operational efficiency, provide best value solutions, retain customers, minimise employee turnover and promote business growth.
What are some of the challenges you face running your consulting firm?
Training budgets in many organisations have drastically reduced. The implication is that employees are not exposed to new developments and better ways of delivering on corporate objectives.
Another challenge facing the consultancy business is that some operators of SMEs depend on consultants, to articulate a road map and some clarity of purpose in running their businesses, especially in resolving operational frictions, yet they are reluctant to pay for agreed services.
Tell us about your new partnership with JoAnna Brandi & Co.Inc.?
YFY Consulting has the exclusive rights in Nigeria to sell, teach, and administer tests on ‘The Customer Care Coach’ program developed and designed by JoAnna Brandi and Co. Inc. The programme is a self-paced mastery course divided into modules. At the completion of the course, students will get a test to show their depth of understanding and how to bring their knowledge to bear in the workplace. The US partner to successful students issues certificates.
What have the responses been like from clients you offer your services.?
Extremely positive. There is no better response than getting repeat customers.
We continue to market and network with organisations across the country to sponsor their employees on the course, to leverage the inherent value of the program in their job.
What are some of your success stories?
To partner with a US company and earn the exclusivity to teach and sell their course in Nigeria is no mean feat. Our company went through rigorous tests and due diligence to come out tops. I have also been a Consumer Affairs Columnist for Vanguard Newspapers, published many customer service articles, authored a book titled “A Handbook of Customer Services Quotes,” and worked in well-structured multinational organisations at senior management level, plus my passion and love for what I do. All these propelled me to continue to play in the customer service value chain
The nature of your job and your journey so far shows the great need for trained customer service skills and personnel in organisations, do you think there is a need for this training to in our curriculum?
The assessment of customer experience at every touchpoint in an organisation is on impression at the point of contact with employees. Training is a strategic function in our company. We realise that trained employees bring about transformational changes in organisations, which are measurable in comparison to the pre-training stage. Buildings and structures, no matter how well designed and decorated are mere embellishments. So, employees (human beings) through training can make a difference.
What’s the critical thing about customer service that everyone in an organisation or individuals operating pro should know?’
Customers are the soul of any business. Strategically, going above and beyond to exceed their expectation will bring about continuous patronage, customer retention, more visibility, as well as company growth, a wider brand acceptance.
What is the grand plan for YFY consulting?
To continuously raise the bar by providing outstanding service to customers, expanding frontiers and sustaining business growth and profitability.
What is customer service?
From a business perspective, customer service is the procession of activities that occur before a sale, during, and after a sale or service delivery, and which provides value for the customer in a professional way. From a practical point of view, the goal of every business is not only to meet customer needs but to exceed their expectations and sustain good service. Word of advice, continuous sales support and understanding customers’ business are essential factors in building lasting customer service relationships. On the emotional level, customer service is the conscious act of caring for customers using the right skills such as friendliness, empathy, adaptability, consistency and clear communication.
Do companies in Nigeria explore customer service as part of an organisational structure, put in place for optimal performance?
Customer service is a differentiating factor between the success and failure of a business. I would advise that organisations consistently aspire to better their best, with their customers in mind. Today’s customers are savvy, alert and knowledgeable. They have acquired new tastes and preferences. Therefore, any management structure that pays lip service to customer service will suffer attrition and dwindling earnings. A simple benchmark study of performance metrics among competing businesses will reveal this.
What kind of training do you give in CS lectures?
We design customer service strategies for organisations. We train employees in all aspects of customer service. Some of the topics include; Customer Care Coach (The Art and Science of Customer Care), Customer Perception and Expectation; Customer Attitude, Preference and Satisfaction, Essential Skills in Customer Service, Customer Service Excellence, Finding and Keeping Customers, and much more. Our training is in-house, at a client’s location, at event halls or hotel facilities.
What should corporate Nigeria be implementing in 2019 to move the economy forward?
The Nigerian economy can do better through industrialisation. By so doing, corporate Nigeria would create jobs for the youth and stem their movement across the Sahara Desert, looking for green pastures. Manufacturing will bring about quality Nigeria products. Consulting firms and the Media will work together to articulate messages that will sensitise citizens to patronise made-in-Nigeria products and services to grow and turn around the economy. Tremendous opportunity exists in export trade for foreign earnings.
Tell us a bit about yourself- what is your philosophy of life?
What motivates you and what makes you happy, especially with your job?
I am me, and comfortable in my skin. My philosophy in life is to take it one day at a time and to be positive no matter what life throws at me. People who are close to me will tell you that I am always smiling and happy. It is not just my nature, but I have also learnt to teach and practice positivity as a lifestyle. It is not an inheritance; you must create it for yourself. On motivation, I always look forward to hosting the not-too-privileged children every year, through my charity, the Storehouse Empowerment Initiative. It is such a happy feeling to see the sparkle of excitement in the eyes and faces of the children.
Most importantly, it gives me inner peace. At the job level, two things make me happy. First, when clients achieve positive results from learnings through our engagements and secondly, when a young graduate employee develops into a service champion through the guidance and tutelage of YFY Consulting.
By Linda Orajekwe