Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 30th 2015 Contents The customer is the core
reason why any business
exists. Without the active
approval of customers, no
new product concept will
sell, no store will be able
to attract shoppers, no
catalog will generate a
response and no Web site will log many visitors.
The company s primary focus therefore must
be on what it will do for its customers. The
company, of necessity therefore, needs to thor-
oughly address the issue of customer service.
This entails the firm having a commitment
to providing excellent customer service.
A commitment to customer service excel-
lence is paramount for the survival, growth
and long-term success of any company. The
level of customer service delivery offered by
an organisation can literally "make or break"
it. In this day and age of rapid technological
advancements, instantaneous information and
more customised product and service offerings,
consumer tastes have become highly sophis-
Not only do customers demand products
of premium quality but they also expect the
accompanying service to be of the highest
Internationally it has been shown that cus-
tomers simply will not tolerate poor, shoddy,
discourteous or unprofessional service even
though the product offered may be of a good
standard. They are extremely discerning and
resourceful and when faced with poor customer
service they will simply turn to a competitors
product that offers a better standard of cus-
It is commonly said that first impressions
go a long way and this certainly applies to the
area of customer service delivery.
A company must ensure that the customer s
first impression, contact and experience with
it is a positive, enjoyable and delightful one.
If the customer s experience is memorable,
delightful and positive, then there is a greater
likelihood that customer will use that com-
pany s product or service again. That company
will also benefit from the glowing referral via
word of mouth that the delighted customer
will give to his/her friends, relatives and work
colleagues. However, the converse is also true.
A dissatisfied customer who has been sub-
jected to poor service, will likely relate his/her
ordeal to many more friends, family and co-
workers. For any firm, repeat purchases from
existing customers are crucial since it is much
more costly and time-consuming to attract
In fact, the cost of attracting a new customer
is some five times the cost of keeping an exist-
ing customer satisfied. Therefore from the
very onset, the level of service offered by the
firm must be of the highest caliber and be
consistently maintained in order for that com-
pany to have repeat purchases and a loyal cus-
A customer service, or customer care phi-
losophy (as it is sometimes called), must be
embraced by every department of a company.
It must permeate every layer of an organisation
from top management to the lowest rung.
Every function of an organisation eg accounts,
human resource management, it, operations
etc, must adopt a culture and mindset that is
committed to providing excellent customer
service on a consistent basis.
The responsibility for customer service deliv-
ery can no longer be the sole remit of the
marketing or sales department.
Furthermore, customer service should not
be perceived as a chore, an extra-curricular
activity or outside of one s job description. It
is in reality part and parcel of every employee s
job and so the prevailing mindset of some
sectors and industries in T&T needs to be
Regardless of the type of sector, business
category or industry in question, customer
service excellence is a necessity. It does not
matter whether one is talking about the man-
ufacturing or services sector; the need for a
high level of customer service delivery is equally
relevant to both.
The challenge in terms of implementing a
culture of customer service excellence in T&T
is that the systems, operations and procedures
that are in place in many local companies do
not encourage customer service excellence.
For example, in retail outlets, customer service
is not given the attention it rightly deserves.
Typically in many fast food establishments,
customers have to wait a considerable amount
of time before being served because the atten-
dant taking the order may also have to serve
and assist the cooking staff in addition. Despite
being subjected to poor service levels on a
daily basis, local consumers often accept and
actually continue to patronise these estab-
The reasons for this might vary, but it usually
comes down to one telling reason; it does not
get better at another establishment. In short,
poor customer service has become the norm.
The prevailing culture in T&T is not one
that questions and seeks to redress poor levels
of customer service. For customer service
excellence to be realised and embraced locally,
it must have the buy in and support of all
concerned. Only with a concerted, unified and
sustained effort by all the key players in the
local economy will the objective of customer
service excellence move one step closer to
BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt APRIL 2015 • WEEK FIVE
T&T Chamber of
Industry and Commerce
Excellent customer service matters
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