Monday, 5 October 2015

POWER TO THE PEOPLE: Customer service takes the spotlight for national week of activities

TOP OF THE CLASS: Members of Sagicor Life Jamaica's Customer Service Department in celebration mode. (below) Richard Rowe.

Who says putting the consumer first has gone out of style? With a renewed mission, members of the Jamaica Customer Service Association (JACSA) kicked off the 2015 series of events to mark National Customer Service Week (October 4-10) with Sunday-morning worship at the Sts. Peter & Paul Church in Liguanea. Observing the theme “Service Excellence: Engaging Our Workforce, Building Jamaica,” the 14-year-old organization has vowed to take its work of improving Jamaica’s customer service landscape to new heights. Group spokesman Richard Rowe (JACAS Deputy Chair) tells us more.

TALLAWAH: Is customer service on the improve in Jamaica?
Richard Rowe: It is improving because you see where customers are being a little bit more aware of their rights and are making more demands. With the current economic conditions, you’re gonna have challenges but everything takes time. It is not where we want it to be, but improved customer service is definitely on the rise in Jamaica.

TALLAWAH: This week brings the 2015 observance of National Customer Service Week. What does the association hope to accomplish?
R.R.: Well, this week, as the theme makes clear, speaks to engaging the Jamaican workforce and collaborating with the relevant customer service providers to get them properly attuned to the needs of their customers and the importance of those needs being met by the organization. It is only be addressing the deficiencies and the shortcomings that we will see greater improvement in customer service across the island.

TALLAWAH: Today JACSA is made up of over 200 professional customer service providers. How does one become a member of the association?
R.R.: You become a member by first making contact with us. We then send you a membership application form, which you fill out and return to us. Membership is open to individuals and corporate bodies. We then invite you to our meetings to share more information and then take it from there.

TALLAWAH: As we all know, Jamaicans can be very hard to please. How does JACSA go about addressing the customer-service concerns of the general public?
R.R.: We are a professional organization and a membership organization. We try to address the needs of our members first. But each year when we have this week, we seek to create greater awareness about customer service among the wider public and challenge the organizations to raise their standards. This year in particular we hope to garner the support and build the partnerships necessary to raise the level of customer service nationally.

TALLAWAH: What makes October so special for an observance like National Customer Service Week?
R.R.: I have no idea (Laughs). In 1992, it was declared by the then US President that the first week of October would be dedicated to customer service, and 16 years later Jamaica started dedicating the first week of October to customer service as well, thanks to former Governor General Sir Kenneth Hall.

TALLAWAH: What’s next for the association? What big plans are afoot?
R.R.: JACSA is committed to leading the charge to secure better customer service for Jamaican consumers, and so come next year we will be rolling out a national customer service campaign, which you will hear more about when it is launched during our 2016 week of activities. 

TALLAWAH: What is ideal customer service?
R.R.: Ideal customer service is an expression of care and love for the person you serve, delivered with the emotional intelligence that is needed to not just satisfy the customer but to exceed their expectations.

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