By: Dawn Richards | January 18th, 2019
The Current State of Service in Trinidad and Tobago
The words of one of our national songs ‘God Bless Our Nation’ by Marjorie Padmore paint an endearing portrait of Trinidad and Tobago as a land of ‘many varied races’ and ‘tropic beauty rare’. Our people are often described as happy, warm, welcoming, friendly, fun loving, and easy going. These traits of our national character suggest that we have some natural characteristics that can facilitate great service.
Despite the natural advantages provided by our national personality, the level of service in Trinidad and Tobago is less than ideal. While some of us have experienced great service, too often we experience service that does not demonstrate the happiness, warmth, and friendliness of our national personality. Where service in Trinidad and Tobago is concerned, it seems as though the disappointments far outweigh the things that make you say, ‘Wow!’. It is time for us to rebalance the scale of service in favour of the latter. It is time for us to say, in words and actions, to our customers, ‘It is a pleasure to serve you’.
World-Class Customer Care Is No Longer Optional
Trinidad and Tobago needs this change now because we are competing in a globalised market where international furniture stores, coffeehouse chains, and casual dining restaurants are seeking to make their mark. We are also facing competition in the virtual marketplace via the internet with the advent and enticing appeal of online shopping. Underscoring all of this is the reality that the new driver of revenue is service and customer experience.
Small Steps Your Company Can Take to Improve Service
The good news is that companies can follow a step-by-step process for winning with customers. As a start, companies can reorient their employees to view service as a privilege, not as a pain (it’s not as hard as it sounds). Having accomplished that, they can then deploy strategies that position service delivery as the new revenue-boosting champion.
Here are five actions that companies can take to build the bridge to customer delight and
ENFORCE SMILES as a must-do action on the front end, even when employees answer the telephone. Stop with the manicou stares (our Caribbean equivalent to the deer in the headlights stare). This warms up the customer contact process and gives the customer the attention that he or she deserves.
ACKNOWLEDGE ALL CUSTOMERS who enter the company or come to the counter to ask for information or pay for merchandise. No customer should be ignored.
GREET CUSTOMERS FIRST. Counter employees should greet the customer first and not stand there waiting on the customer to say good morning or good evening.
IMPLEMENT A SWIFT SERVICE RECOVERY system that makes it a swift, hassle-free experience for customers to have their complaints, queries and enquiries resolved.
TRAIN STAFF in Customer Engagement Techniques. Companies should view the training of staff as an investment that will reduce the risk of losing customers and losing revenue through poor service.
Great service in Trinidad and Tobago is possible, however, it is important to view the effort as a journey and not a destination. This effort is best supported by a corporate attitude that prioritises continuous improvement. As you gradually move the needle from less-than-ideal service to great service, you will see customers who are not only delighted, but are willing to recommend your business(es) to others. In other words, they will be your client advocates. Remember, your best form of advertising is a customer who has experienced service that has exceeded his or her expectations.