Dr. Eunice Fay Amissah, a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Tourism and Hospitality Management at the University of Cape Coast (UCC), says hoteliers and tourism industry players should 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 shows 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, a certified hospitality educator says players in the industry should build good relationships with clients, be proactive and find innovative ways of handling their complaints, to improve the standard of the service 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 forms 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 Africans arrived in the USA and to celebrate the resilience of the African spirit.
Therefore hundreds of Africans 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, motels, car rentals and restaurants as well as 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, having a good knowledge on company products, fulfilling promises to customers and a focus on customers but not profit margins only.
“Costumers have some basic needs which must to 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 confident”, 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 are as a result of employee attitude.
He said handling customer complaints is very crucial to the industry, because it survives on repeated visits.
Mr. Kwame Gyasi, Regional Director of the GTA, said players in the tourism industry have an important role to play in providing service to visitors, especially, non-locals during the “Year of Return.”
He said the workshop is to refresh the minds of existing employees in the hospitality and tourism industry, adding that, excellent customer care is the backbone of the industry.
Some of the participants called for more comprehensive education to improve the level of customer care services.