Customers are kings

There’s a stereotype about how we-don’t-care attitudes ruin state companies. In Ivory Coast, the change of government sadly doesn’t seem to have changed much at all (plus ca change…). Take an example from the last few weeks. I was interested in finding out more about new projects by the long-running state building company, Sicogi. So, I went to the website ( – btw, an extremely heavy website) and downloaded the latest brochure. The website seems to be up-to-date because it’s wishing me ‘Happy New Year 2014’ (note to self, check website on 1 January 2015 and post to FB if the banner hasn’t changed).

1. There was a project I was interested in, so I emailed the contact email provided ( I immediately received an error message from the domain: ‘email address unknown’. I took to Facebook to complain.

2. I happened to be in Abidjan for a few days, and there was a Sicogi billboard advert, this time with the contact email I sent them an email asking for information about their luxury developments in Cocody. No reply.

3. Then one of my contacts on Facebook wrote to me to say that he had a relative who worked for Sicogi, and provided me with their personal and work email addresses. I emailed and a day later I was sent a curt email (‘fichier ci-joint’ – ‘see attached’) with a PDF brochure that has a completely different set of projects to the ones on the site.

Now, I don’t think I really need to spell it out, but I will. You are in the construction sector seeking clients who are willing to invest up to $180,000 on one of your projects, and you provide old information on your website, faulty emails and curt responses to people possibly ready to send you their life-savings. L’emergence, ce n’est pas pour demain.

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