Group highlights customer service practices in Ghana with awards scheme

It is common in Ghana to walk into a fully stocked shop with attendants who would not notice you. It is possible to walk into an office and front desk employees would not blink an eye nor respond to your queries.

Most businesses have very little regard for customers, and even though most have customer service units, they are created simply for the sake of completing a company’s business structure – they are hardly anything near customer service.

“The quality of Customer service in Ghana is nothing to write home about. Even though most businesses have now incorporated customer service departments as part of their strategies, they are still unable to give exceptional customer service because they don’t understand the importance and impact that the quality of their service can have on their businesses,” says Yvonne MacCarthy, a Customer Service Professional and CEO of Service Care Solutions, a customer service consultancy firm.

She says customer service qualities are more of a formality as opposed to a value that one must have as an employee or an employer.

According to her the typical frontline Ghanaian employee does not see it as a priviledge to have customer’s patronizing their goods and services. “They forget that their boss is not the man or woman whom they report to but indeed their boss is the customer,” she adds.

But it appears all that is about to change very soon. An advocacy group seeking to make customer service a focus of Ghanaian businesses is pursuing the goal by acknowledging good customer service practices of companies in the country.

The group known as the Ghana Customer Service Awards Team last November 19, 2010 launched the first Ghana Customer Service Awards. The aim is to reward companies with good customer service practices and to shame those who do not treat customers’ right.

The CEO of the Team, Hector Wullf tells that the award scheme is expected to encourage businesses to render good services to customers.

“Due to the awards,” he says, “the public would also be informed of which companies are providing excellent customer services and which ones are not.”

Mr. Wulff believes that the awards would influence customer’s choice of who to deal with in an open market.

“The Ghanaian consuming public deserves excellent customer service, and this award scheme is to in a way celebrate the impact of good customer service practices on both the consumer and businesses as Ghana emerges as an oil economy and business destination in Africa,” he said.

Ms. MacCarthy says “Change, change, change. Businesses need to make allowances for change. Most businesses are too scared to make changes, to learn new ways of doing things. The service provider must learn to see customer service as a mandatory activity and employers must invest in good training programs and consultants to help update their service processes. These changes must be measured and quality service must be rewarded.”

In an innovative model, the Team traveled to the offices and premises of over 20 companies and individuals and gave them their awards in honour of excellent customer service.

The companies were selected after mystery shopping, and telephone conversations to gauge their customer service efficiencies.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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