Business News of Saturday, 20 July 2019
Dr Eunice Fay Amissah, a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Tourism and Hospitality Management at the University of Cape Coast (UCC) has warned hoteliers and tourism industry players to cease discriminating between clients when providing customer services.
According to her, discrimination would turn away customers and potential ones and would ultimately lead to the collapse of the business.
She said statistics show that 68 percent of customers leave hotels and restaurant because of a bad service experience and it cost five times more to acquire a new customer than to keep an existing one.
Dr Amissah, who is a Certified Hospitality Educator called on players in the industry to build good relationships with clients, be proactive and find innovative ways of handling their complaints to improve the standard the service that they provide.
She was speaking at a Customer Care Workshop organised by the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) in collaboration with UCC Department of Tourism and Hospitality Management on promoting good customer care services for players in the hospitality and tourism industry.
The workshop formed part of preparations towards the celebration of PANAFest, Emancipation Day and the “Year of Return”.
The year 2019 has been proclaimed as the "Year of Return" to commemorate 400 years since the first enslaved African arrived in the USA and celebrates the resilience of the African spirit.
Thus, hundreds of African from the Diaspora would be visiting Ghana and by extension the Central Region which boasts of numerous tourist sites.
The participants included staff of hotels, drinking bars, hotels, motels, car rentals, restaurants, tour guards at the castles and parks in Cape Coast and Elmina.
Dr Amissah advised the participants to exhibit good customer service by treating people with courtesy, committing to quality service, knowing the products, fulfilling promises to customers and focus on customers and not only on profit margins.
She further emphasised the need for service providers to treat customers to their expectations.
"Costumers have some basic needs which must be fulfilled. Therefore, employees must be responsive, make time for customers, treat them with empathy and must be ready to provide tangible services in other to gain their trust and confidence”, she said
Dr Amissah urged the participants to always maintain good impressions stressing that “courtesy counts and attitude is doing the right thing”.
Explaining how to handle customer complaints and difficult customers, Professor Ismael Mensah, Ghana Director of Confucius Institute, UCC, said majority of customer complaints were as a result of employee attitude.
He said handling customer complaints was very crucial in the industry which builds on repeated visit because the complaints offer an opportunity to know which areas of the services needed to be improved and how to ensure that other customers do not suffer the same fate.
Professor Mensah, who is also a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Tourism and Hospitality Management said that employees attitude towards customers was a hindrance to the development of many organisations and businesses.
He said many employees were ruining businesses due to their irresponsiveness, impolite, rude and unfriendly attitude towards customers.
He encouraged employees to take responsibility and ownership in rendering reliable services, be respectful, sensitive, understand and provide enough time to handle a difficult customer.
Prof. Mensah appealed to management of hotels and restaurant to avoid playing loud music which disrupts customers, provide dispensers to contain liquid soaps and keep their facilities clean to attract more customers.
Mr Kwame Gyasi, Regional Director of the GTA, said players' in the tourism industry had an important role to play in providing service to visitors, especially, non-locals during the year of return.
He said the workshop was to refresh the minds of existing employees in the Hospitality and Tourism industry, adding that, excellent customer care was the backbone of the industry.
Some of the participants commended the GTA for the training to equip them sharpen their skills in the industry.
They called for more comprehensive education to improve the level of customer care services to improve the tourism industry in region which is touted as the hub for tourism.