Speakers at the launch of the First Ghana Customer Service Summit on Friday unanimously agreed that good customer service in Ghana is an illusion even though it is the lifeblood of every business.
They were of the view that promotions and reduction of prices to win many customers may work for sometime but unless those customers decide to return, business would not be profitable for an appreciable period of time.
“Good customer service is all about bringing customers back. And about sending them away happy enough to provide positive feedback about your business to others, who may then try the product or service you offer and in their turn become regular customers,” Mr Seth Adjei-Baah, National President of Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GNCCI) said at the launching in Accra.
The launch was on the theme: “Sharing best ideas to enhance the culture of service excellence in Ghana”.
He said customer service should be taught in tertiary institutions because it was a critical component of every business and should begin from the top to the bottom.
Mr Adjei-Baah, who is also Member of Parliament for Nkawkaw, noted that, “People have needs, and when those needs are met, service is then provided for those whose needs are met. The fact is that you have not only saved them the hassle of looking elsewhere, but also what you offered them is unique as you treat them as cherished clients.”
Mr Joles Nartey Tokoli, a business strategist, who spoke on the topic: “Customer service in Ghana going beyond lip service”, noted that customer service in Ghana was the typical “I am doing you a favour” mentality.
“It is perceived that the customer needs something and when is it done for him or her. The customer is therefore at the mercy of the whims and caprices of the customer service staff,” he said adding, “This translates into very hostile, rude and arrogant behaviour by customer service staff in response to any customer.”
He condemned the practice by some institutions such as the banks who gave prestige services to affluent clients forgetting that it was the bit and pieces of the poor customer that made them rich.
Mr Tokoli pointed out that any customer, whether rich or poor, should be treated well and not discriminated against.
He admonished business executives to invest in their staff through constant training and motivation to show respect that was not tainted with deceit.
Mr Hector Wulff, Executive Director of Organisation for Customer Service Excellence Ghana, organisers of the summit, said the summit would provide a platform for participants to discuss the state of customer service in Ghana, challenges and the way forward towards the attainment of a national effort with special emphasis on South East Asian experience.
He said the summit scheduled for October this year would in addition identify initiatives that could put Ghana on the international map of customer service excellence.