Arik Air seems to dominate the Nigerian airspace, beautiful. But, Arik Air cultivates the rudest members of staff amid her counterparts!
I took my time to talk to several persons on Arik Air, regarding Staff Culture; and out of every ten persons I talked with, nine had something upsetting to say about Arik, especially on Inconsistency and Poor Staff Culture (which is the main discourse at hand).
Is it the impromptu cancellation of flights; to the way they unapologetically, offer no solution and leave passengers stranded at the airports? Or is it the way some of their staff berate passengers when they complain about being stranded due to cancellations? I have witnessed an Arik staff scold at passengers to stop bothering him on the cancellation of their flight- that he was not the management, pilot or aircraft to be held responsible for the discrepancy… In fact, this staff walked out on passengers! And this was supposed to be the staff on duty…
The ones at the ticketing section are worse. These ones sit like lords and address passengers like they were queued up for free food. They speak to passengers in commanding tones. They bark at passengers, threatening not to sell or issue tickets to them; perchance, they do not conform to their dictates! I have also witnessed a scene, where an Arik staff in Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, was scolding at passengers saying…
“If you people do not respect yourselves and queue up in this particular line, I will not sell ticket to any of you!”.
And when an elderly man challenged the young man for being disrespectful to them; the Arik staff screamed out, “Oga, I am not selling ticket to you!”
It felt like a joke but seriously, when it got to this elderly man’s turn to purchase his ticket; the Arik staff ignored him and beckoned on the next passenger queued behind the elderly man. The Arik staff continued ignoring this elderly man until some passengers resisted his bullying; insisting that he must sell ticket to the elderly man else, none of them would buy tickets. And in that bidding; he had no choice but to reluctantly sell ticket to the elderly man… Such impudence!
I have also witnessed where an Arik staff in Asaba Airport exchanged verbal fisticuffs with a passenger, threatening not to sell ticket to him…
In fact, there are so many Arik staff “rude scenes” I have witnessed; plus complaints from several others, that my pen may not begin to litter all over this space…
And this has got me thinking deeply, with regards to Business Etiquette in Nigeria… It worries me that I could patronise your business; and then have you in ingratitude; treat me like some servant, simply because you feel, you are feeding me a main course meal to my need- which I am obviously PAYING FOR! Worse off; without my patronage, without my money, your business won’t float! So why can’t business owners abide by simple business ethics?
The management of Arik Air has failed woefully in Staff Culture. Will they claim there have been no passengers’ complaints with regard to RUDENESS from members of their staff? Besides, where is the body responsible to sanction airlines, with regard to code of conduct?
Now, here is my own personal experience:
Just recently, an Arik staff at the ticketing section in MM1 airport, Lagos; gave me my own unfair share of the Rude dish…
When I walked towards her; I noticed how she stared at me like her eyes were a dagger about to rip my poor soul out. Please, forgive my humble brag- I don’t mean to gloat; but I could tell that, that very day at the airport; my presence attracted stares- pleasant stares to be precise. Prolly, my colourful appearance offended her; or sarcastically, prolly, my aura or even fragrance was too strong that it pervaded her nostrils offensively; or prolly, she was just having a bad morning and I was so unlucky to have plunged into her deviousness! Truth be told: Ladies usually have a ‘green thing’ against their fellow ladies; but that is no excuse to act unruly when it comes to official duties!
“Hello”, I smiled at her.
Silence greeted me…
“Hello, good morning”, I insisted. The lady grudgingly rose up her head, looked at me, and without saying a word, she bent her face and pretended to be overly engrossed in her computer!
“But I’m greeting you; why are you ignoring me?” I inquired, feeling embarrassed.
”Can’t you see I am busy?” she attacked me.
Wow! Other passengers around me were taken aback at such poor attitude from the lady. Her colleague in her bit to avert a brewing drama motioned me to come over to her desk so that she could attend to me. But lo, I wasn’t going to let go of such unruly behaviour coming from someone whose salary I ‘more or less’ pay for, whenever I buy Arik’s ticket! And interestingly, to think that she was going to be a scapegoat to accentuate the little story I had already planned to write on Arik’s Staff Culture (which you are reading now); aroused my drama-streak.
“Thanks dear, I appreciate, but I want this lady to attend to me. I will wait for her to finish with her computer; no matter how long it takes”, I replied ‘the good-Samaritan‘ staff, with a smile.
When the rude lady in question saw that I was ready for her drama; she stared at me angrily; and in an uncontrolled emotional outburst, flung these words at me… “You will wait forever, because I will not attend to you!”, she stood up from her desk and walked away.
I stood there fixated; and somehow, thanked my luck for feeding my hungry pen some scandalous ink…
The air boiled with upset.
A male passenger who couldn’t contain the heat of rudeness melting the scene; immediately picked up his stroller… “That is why I hate to fly Arik, bunch of disrespectful people”, he said, thence, walked away.
I quietly picked up my stroller too; and walked away from the scene. As soon as the rude Arik staff saw I had left, she came back to her seat. I found the manager on duty and made my complaints to her. The lady manager was so polite and soft-spoken. She apologised to me and took me back to the ticketing section to confront the rude staff. Shockingly, the rude lady was even rude to her boss! She was unremorsefully arguing before her boss; whilst barking at me- that why should I have bothered her when it was obvious that she was busy with the computer…and could have whatever data she was working on deleted, if she had responded to me in that instance… People were astonished and kept murmuring with displeasure at such uncouthness and “power” emanating from a mere junior staff selling tickets behind the counter!
I even became embarrassed at the poor way she talked down on her boss before me. And I was more shocked that this lady, whoever she is; wielded more power in that environment, than her boss! The moment I saw that this issue of poor staff culture has truly eaten deep into the bone marrow of Arik; I quickly brought out my identity card and formally introduced myself to them as a media personality; promising to do a story, given the series of emails and complaints I have received from passengers on Arik’s poor staff culture.
I walked away. By luck, I had my ticketing already handled by my favourite person in Arik, whom initially, I was unable to reach on phone; hence I was compelled to use the ticketing section that morning. Some persons working in the airport, who witnessed the drama came to speak to me; alleging that, that particular lady (whose name I was unable to retrieve, unfortunately) was always very rude to passengers. And that the managers on duty had little or no control over her. In fact; everyone bad-mouthed her.
Consequent upon the herald of complaints; and when no one was watching; I brought out my phone and click click, snapped the rude Arik staff…
Beneath; is the picture of the notorious Rude Arik Staff in the ticketing section at MM1 airport, Lagos.
Well, I do not wish for this lady to loose her job. I only want to use her to serve as a deterrent to other Arik staff who are collectively, notoriously trademarked for being uncouth and disrespectful to passengers.
Prolly, with respect to this exposé; Arik management will begin to uphold discipline in their staff culture.
And here is a public notice to any customer who gets abused for their patronage. Make your camera useful by capturing a shot of the abusive staff and send your complaints to firstname.lastname@example.org; and we will circulate them on social media until the appropriate authorities seal up such loopholes.
Unfortunately, Customer Service (just as the name depicts); is an irony being denied customers in Nigeria. If the aforesaid authorities refuse to culture their staff; then, we the customers, will help them culture their staff. It is our right to get value for customers’ patronage.
Conscientiously; perchance you hire me tomorrow and I mistreat your clients or customers; it is your duty to sanction or fire me; because without your customers, your business dips!
The Bank is yet another pit hole of Poor Staff Culture. I am already fishing for a scapegoat…