The Director General, Consumer Protection Council (CPC), Babatunde Irukera, has charged operators to understand the signs of the time, and embrace the new order of prioritising consumer protection as the pre-eminent factor in protecting brand, businesses, managing crisis, building confidence and corporate growth.
He emphasised that customer satisfaction is the most vital pillar to loyalty and trust.
Irukera, who made this known at a meeting with Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of food and beverage companies and members of the Association of Food, Beverage and Tobacco Employers (AFTBE), in Abuja.
He noted that customer service cannot be ancillary to business, especially in the food and beverage industry but that of core of business and operations.
This was contained in a release signed by the Deputy-Director, Public Relations, Abiodun Obimuyiwa, and made available to The Guardian in Abuja.
He commended the CEOs at meeting for demonstrating their companies’ resolve to ensure consumer protection, admitting that CEOs are vital to customer satisfaction and economic growth.
He said President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration recognises the role of businesses and their CEOs in economic expansion, and as such, will always listening to “credible, transparent, genuine, fair-minded, well-meaning and socially committed businesses.”
Irukera said consumer protection was more important than Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), noting that CSR is sometimes viewed with “suspicion and characterised as self-serving in part because the companies have not truly satisfied their customers.”
The CPC boss maintained that “nothing repairs or maintains reputation, and eliminates distrust better than fairness to customers and satisfaction in the products they purchase or consume.”
He added, “when customer service is at its best, consumers are truly happy; spending is up, economic indicators are encouraging, my job is done, your performance is assured, and your brands endure.”
He noted that collaboration in consumer protection is not just an imperative, but a sensible approach to a joint objective, pointing out that “for you (businesses), consumer satisfaction is a means to a commercial end, and for me (CPC), it’s an end in itself and fulfilment of a constitutional duty.”
He noted that a consumer protection regulatory challenge in any part of the world can damage a brand internationally, so companies should “prioritise consumer protection, diligence, transparency and forthrightness in dealing with consumer protection authorities.”
He informed that the CPC will introduce a more efficient system with the right technology that will ensure companies are the primary point of resolution, and only when that failed would complaints be escalated to the CPC.
The Director General identified counterfeiting and adulteration a major threat to both consumers and businesses is, noting that CPC will focus more on traceability, and enjoined companies to be more innovative and proactive in partnering with regulators to address this menace.