Maria Ebenezer: I decline clients unwilling to comply with our standards

Maria Ebenezer Emerald Green Ushering Services
Maria Ebenezer: I believe women should enjoy exclusivity in this particular profession Click To Tweet

Emerald Green Ushering Services is a Nigerian-based event hostess agency, providing professional staff for international corporate and luxury social events. Founder, Maria Ebenezer’s entrepreneurial drive was birthed from modelling and her experience in ushering, which gave her the basic knowledge to kick-start Emerald Green Ushering Services.

Though Emerald Green Ushering Services’ clients include multinational and indigenous firms, catering for weddings, birthdays and annual general meetings are also par for the course for the firm.

Why was it important for you to hire only female ushers as opposed to a mixed staff?

Ushering is a profession I have always considered to be best suited to women considering the glamour and hospitality skills that are often required.

I believe women should enjoy exclusivity in this particular profession. More so, I have found that it is easier working with female staff as they maintain a better professional conduct.

Quality customer service is quite difficult to come by in Nigeria. How does Emerald Green Ushering Services avoid this pitfall?

We pride ourselves in excellent service delivery. One of our basic requirements for recruitment is work experience; afterwards hostesses undergo basic training. We are constantly researching innovative ideas to ensure our services are on a par with global professional standards.

Feedback forms are given to my clients at the end of each event to evaluate the quality of our service for improvement purposes. So far, feedback has been great.

Maria Ebenezer's core focus for @EMushers is attracting multinational corporate organisations Click To Tweet

How do you handle difficult clients?

Initially, I accommodated excessive, unreasonable demands because we needed to build a portfolio. But now, I decline clients unwilling to comply with our professional standards.

What’s the biggest challenge facing Emerald Green Ushering Services, and how has it been able to overcome or mitigate it?

In our first year, we were enlisted by an indigenous multinational company to bid for their annual conference. Their vendor’s form stated ushering companies were required to have 5 years of experience with renowned firms. Clearly, we didn’t have that and though we lost the bid, I was grateful for the experience because it gave me a clearer picture of what was required to win my dream clientèle. It made me re-strategise.

I put in a lot of work to improve staffing and our brand, and in a couple of months, I landed my first international client and then another.

But like every other service provider, our biggest challenge has been acquiring new clients. Plus, my core focus is on attracting multinational corporate organisations, which require more work as they are highly competitive and often require rigorous processes.

@EMushers aims to be the first firm companies looking for ushers will call upon Click To Tweet

What does the future hold for Emerald Green Ushering Services?

Currently, every business move we make is geared towards our 5-year goal of establishing Emerald Green Ushering Services as a model framework for event collaboration and partnership between West Africa and multinational companies globally.

We aim to be the first firm companies looking for ushers will call upon for their corporate events in Nigeria.

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About Shayera Dark

Shayera Dark was a communications fellow at SLA. Her written work has appeared in Harper's Magazine, Okay Africa, Brittle Paper, AFREADA and Aljazeera among others.

She is currently working on her first novel.

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