– by Noluthando Makhaza
Customer service is regarded as one of the most fundamental pillars for business success. In a world where customers are well informed about their rights, front line employees are charged with the responsibility to excel at offering the best customer service experience on a daily basis. Customer service is not just serving a client, but it is about the way in which the client is served that creates an everlasting experience. At our Durban premises, we recently hosted library staff members from Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) for a two-day Customer Experience Management skills training programme.
Facilitating the skills training was Mr Nigel Chiweshe who is a UKZN Lecturer in the discipline of Management and Entrepreneurship. Nigel has been lecturing at undergraduate and postgraduate levels for the past seven years. He is currently pursuing Doctoral studies in the field of Marketing focusing on the consumer behaviour at the bottom of the pyramid. Over the two days Nigel focused on a variety of topics, and these included, “Getting the most out of customer interactions”, “Customers with special needs, “Dealing with difficult behaviour”, “Bias in customer service”, and “Developing and maintaining customer service standards”.
The facilitator created an ambiance of interaction as delegates shared their current and previous experiences in their careers. “First impressions play a major role when dealing with customers. It’s not always what you say, but it’s what you do and how you act in front of the customer. Body language and gestures are as equally important as spoken language”, said Nigel as he was introducing one of the topics. Delegates could relate with the topics discussed and they also provided examples of their own where they distinguish between professional and non-professional behaviour.
As much as the delegates have worked for a number of years in their respective roles, this programme has offered them a whole new perspective on customer service as an experience as opposed to it being a mere service. We believe that the programme has created a culture of brand ownership where the MUT library staff members, on their return to work, will feel more empowered to contribute to customer loyalty, retention and advocacy.
If your role at work requires you to interact with customers, and you would like to improve you customer service skills, please contact:
T: +27 31 260 3711