The Tobago Tourism Agency Ltd (TTAL), in collaboration with the Tobago Hospitality and Tourism Institute (THTI) and international award-winning customer service leader, Uplifting Service, recently officially launched the Tourism Industry Customer Service Training (TICST) programme by hosting a Customer Service Leaders Forum which took place last week.
The TTAL said, “this three-year bespoke programme aims to improve the quality of customer service delivered at all key contact points in Tobago to a standard equivalent to those experienced in sophisticated markets, destinations and facilities globally, thereby improving the life of Tobagonians and adding value to the tourism product and enhancing the visitors’ experience, which is expected to be achieved through the training of both public and private front-line staff, their supervisors and managers in customer service delivery and customer service management respectively.”
In this regard, key local influencers and service industry leaders with leadership capabilities were identified and trained to comprise the service leaders cohort.
This trained cohort will then work in collaboration with THTI and Uplifting Service to facilitate training throughout the island, through the TICST– Service Leaders Forum.
The workshop was successfully delivered over three days catering to CEO’S, management level and supervisors.
Conveying opening remarks at the official launch ceremony of the programme on November 13, at the Heritage Pavilion, Pigeon Point, Tobago, TTAL’s executive chairman Alicia Edwards stressed the fact that customer service training must start from management.
“Customer service and customer service training do not operate in a vacuum. It exist and thrives only when the leaders of organisations and businesses, support and see the importance of customer service to their operations, staff, reputations and to their profit-line,” Edwards stated.
Delivering the feature address at the launch, Tobago’s Chief Secretary Farley Augustine reminded Tobagonians that customer service is naturally inside of them.
“We Tobagonians have customer service innate in us. You see it at every village harvest, you see it amongst us at community events, churches, when we smile and when we embrace each other with warm hugs – it exists in our natural way of living.
“However there seems to be some disconnect between what we know with that which we share with the tourist. We have to re-educate our people and let them know that there is no strange science in good customer service, we have it already inside of us and how do we now transfer it to the visitor?
“There is a need for this training because there is always a need for us to re-tool. Things that you knew all your lives sometimes we do forget, so this training serves as a reminder about who we are as a people and how lovely and beautiful we are.” Farley noted.
Councillor Tashia Burris, Secretary of Tourism, Culture, Antiquities and Transportation, in her remarks at the launch reiterated the importance of customer service training and development.
“This service leaders forum is representative of the fact that we are well aware of the need on our Island to enhance capacity among our people. Further, it is testimony that we are committed to robust and continuous mechanisms that will positively transform our industry through our service providers, tourism workers and all those who, directly and indirectly, impact our sector,” Burris stated.
Burris also stated; “We cannot deny the fact that tourism remains a mainstay in our development and economic framework and as such we must always enhance our competitive edge through training and development.”