– by Noluthando Makhaza
Customer service is a concept most people in business know about, but not everyone truly understands its importance. Customer service is essentially a crucial part of the product or service offered by a business, and it can directly influence the customer experience of the given product. Hence, customer service is an important part of building a brand. We recently hosted a group of delegates from the Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) on the Customer Experience Management programme for two days. The programme was essential as these delegates interact with numerous clients on a daily basis, either as frontline or backend staff members offering assistance in various ways.
This was an extremely interactive group, being facilitated by the vibrant Mr Nigel Chiweshe who is a lecturer in the discipline of Management and Entrepreneurship at the UKZN’s Pietermaritzburg Campus. Chiweshe has been lecturing at undergraduate and postgraduate levels for over eight years with teaching specialties in the disciplines of technology strategy for entrepreneurs, sustainability management and new venture creation. He is currently pursuing his Doctoral degree in the field of Marketing, focusing on the consumer behaviour at the bottom of the pyramid.
The programme covered a number of topics which included: Who are customers; 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 programme brought out the experimental side as delegates were given a task to role play certain scenarios where customers were unhappy about the product bought or service received. Some of the scenarios included misinformation, prioritising company policy above customer needs, mismanagement of social media, and even ignoring customer feedback. Delegates’ role playing skills were on par and very interesting to watch as they were portraying what they usually encounter when dealing with clients on a daily basis, or even what they have encountered themselves elsewhere, as a result of bad customer service.
This programme was customised specifically for MUT staff members and this is what one delegate, Nkululeko Ndlovu (Warden), had to say:
“I truly enjoyed the programme as it assisted us in capacitating ourselves in terms of how we should deal with our customers. As a matter of fact, there were so many things that were relevant which we were not aware of in terms of how we should deal with our customers in any given scenario. My highlight was when I role played ‘dealing with a difficult customer’ as we all know that there are different characters of people that we have to deal with on a daily basis. So going forward, I have so many ideas on how to deal with difficult customers.”
For South Africa to be competitive in the global economy, creating customer-centric environments is critical for business success. Somewhat satisfied or partially satisfied customers are no longer a measure of success. This programme aims to discuss what Customer Experience Management means and how it can lead to increased customer retention, loyalty, and value. In doing this, it would also result in increased business growth and profitability.
If you would like us to customise a course for your organisation, please contact our Sales Executive:
T: +27 31 260 3796