This past week I encountered two examples of poor customer service. Without getting into the details I must tell you the effect was a feeling of rejection and genuine hurt. I felt like I would never use the service again unless I had no choice. The other customer who was offended was ready to fire the company. He said he would withdraw his patronage immediately even if it meant “cutting off his nose to spite his face.” I also wanted to fire the company and I knew that I had the power to do so.
It is against this background that the value of the Tourism Service Excellence Awards must be viewed. The award encourages individuals and organizations to make service a way of life. If we are to be truthful we all complain at some point or the other about the poor quality of service we receive generally. We want to feel validated as individuals, not that my request for service is an interruption to your day or that my demand is for special treatment. The good command which says “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is embodied in service delivery. Good customer service begins with empathy – putting yourself in the shoe of the customer and recognising where you are likely to be bruised or pinched, and avoiding it.
Jamaica has been doing well in attracting visitors to our shores the 42% repeat visitor statistic is enviable but we can do more. We need to do more because we don’t want our customers to fire us, we want to retain their business so our destination can grow and more of our people can benefit from the trickle down effect. We also want these same customers to be ambassadors or raving fans for brand Jamaica through word of mouth advertising; a recommendation and stamp of approval that we can’t pay for but which has a tremendously positive effect.
So when next you get into a sticky customer service situation remember the customer has the power to fire you, to withdraw their custom, they create paydays and its up to you to keep them coming back.