Deepening Customer Service


Raheem Akingbolu reviews a campaign initiated by Invent Alliance/BPO

Customer service has remained a nightmare for Nigerian consumers. As a result of this, only a few take business owners serious when it comes to making enquiries about services and products. To many, it is nothing but a mere brand promise that is made for the purpose of it. This explains why most Nigerians accept their fate anytime they suspect a rip-off on the part of manufacturers of goods or service providers.
As one of the measures put in place to solve the problem, Invent BPO, a business unit of Invent Alliance Limited, has unveiled a first of kinds Virtual Receptionist Service for small and micro enterprises (SMEs) and individuals in the country.

Beyond fulfilling everyday customer service delivery, the company has also widened the scope to provide relevant social services that would touch on Nigeria’s mental industry. This is part of the company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR), to offer special free counselling and legal services, which make up the Turn2Me campaign.

Through this, it will offer services that would contribute to the wellbeing of the entire nation to have a productive workforce, stable families and raise children with high self-esteem with a resilient spirit to conquer.

To achieve tits objectives, the company has announced its partnership with relevant professionals to lead the discourse on having the right conversation through appropriate access to free legal and counselling services to impact Nigerians positively.

To provide the service, the company is leveraging technology powered by Swift Telephone Network.
The free counselling service provides frontline mental health counselling those who may ordinarily not have access to such services. The firm is partnering with ElixirSalve Services for the service.

Speaking during the inauguration in Lagos, the Managing Director of the company, Patrick Chukwudi Ogbonna, said the challenge may become a thing of the past if technology is fully explored. As a firm that focuses on using technology as an enabler for solving business and social issues. Ogbonna pointed out that Invent BPO introduced Virtual Receptionist Service to provide virtual assistant to clients without having them in house. According to him, “this is a business to business (B2B) service targeted at SMEs.”

He noted that the target is to reach 100, 000 SMEs in five years. He explained that the Virtual Receptionist Service would help clients maintain contacts with their customers round the clock.

All calls, he noted are recorded so the clients can listen to them whole or to relevant portion as required.

The technology enthusiast said that the service is available in English and the major Nigerian languages Hause, Igbo and Yoruba. There are also options for two foreign languages French and Spanish.

He remarked what his company has done essentially is to create a platform where people can work from its call centres. He added that there are three categories: Bronze, Silver and Gold and that they are flexible service that could enable clients upgrade or downgrade.
He pointed out that for the next one month the Virtual Receptionist Service would be offered free for the first 100 customers to sign up regardless of the category. This is to enable them to experience the innovative service at no cost

He described the Virtual Receptionist Service as a bespoke service that can be customised to suit the client’s every taste. It also has the Telephone Conference element which can be used for meetings and interviews with up to 20 participants connected simultaneously.

“The Virtual Receptionist is a cost-efficient loaded package that runs 24/7 and handles calls and emails.
It can be used by hospitals, insurance companies, and indeed every business that wants to keep in touch with its customers” he stated.

SMEs make up the biggest section of the economy and would find this service revolutionary. He said that Invent BPO is the first BPO to introduce this new, cost effective and exciting service in Nigeria. To provide this service we are leveraging technology and it’s powered by Swift Telephone Network.

There are also issues around rights, so Invent BPO in partnership with AtLaw Solicitors to provide free legal services to enable people access quality legal counsel.
A Principal Partner at Atlaw Solicitors, Chukwudi Benignus, said the free telephone legal counsel would be provided by qualified Solicitors from the law firm, adding that the Solicitors would provide the free telephone legal counsel as a pro bono legal service to give back to the society.
“The legal service will focus on debt recovery, breach of contract, enforcement of fundamental rights, breech of promise to marry, dissolution of marriage among others. The counselling service is provided hand in hand with the legal service.
We have lawyers who specialize in issues such as defamation of character, debt recovery, conflict resolution, marriage issues, tenancy agreements, domestic violence, law enforcement abuse of power, business contract and agreements,” he said.


Perhaps what informed the social services angle introduced to the campaign is the revelation by the Federal Ministry of Health that about 30 per cent of Nigerians are suffering from mental illness. To put the figure in clearer perspective, it is believed that 60 million of the estimated 200 million population of the country are mentally ill.
Considering the fact that 60 million is more than the population of South Africa, Kenya and even Spain and levels up with the population of Italy.

According to experts the various manifestations of mental illness include depression, bipolar affective disorder, schizophrenia and other psychoses, plus dementia, and intellectual disabilities. Sadly, there is near complete neglect of mental health issues in the country.

A Clinic Psychologist at ElixirSalve Psychological Services, Chinelo Lynda Okeke, who also spoke at the media unveiling admitted that people are facing diverse challenges with stringent economy situation, massive job loss, difficulty in accessing cash and the unviability of basic social amenities.

According to her, these and other issues are taking a huge toll on the wellbeing of Nigerians invariably making people more vulnerable to suicidal tendencies, aggression, violence among other anti-socio behaviours which all signal mental illness.

She said; “The truth is that the exact cause of most mental illnesses is often unknown. Experts however suggest that many of these conditions are caused by a combination of biological, psychological, and environmental factors.
Succinctly speaking, feelings of inadequacy, low self-esteem, anxiety, anger, or loneliness, substance abuse and Infection are some of the reasons given by experts. Others are; severe psychological trauma, such as anxiety about the economy, emotional instability or sexual abuse,”

On the kind of mental issues, the counsellors deal with, she said they have counsellors who specialise in specific issues, such as stress, anxiety, relationships, parenting, depression, addiction, weight, trauma, anger, family conflict, LGBT matters, grief, religion and self-esteem.

Speaking on issues related to network and how caller’s privacy can be protected, Managing Director, Swift Telephone Network, Wole Adetuyi, allayed the fear of network failure, pointing out that Swift has partnered the initiator to go for the best network solutions.

“We have installed the best of equipment to power the service and we are familiar with the Nigerian terrain very well and all her peculiarities. On protection of caller’s privacy, when you call in, you are at liberty to disclose or not disclose your actual details. You can decide to be anonymous as the experts are concerned about the issue and not the identity of the callers,” the Swift boss stated.
He also pointed out that licensed counsellor or legal practitioner, who want to be part of the initiative can contact Invent BPO or join its ecosystem of partnership firms as a way of contributing to the community