Improving Customer Service: Dominica can become a haven for customer service
After many years of growing public complaints on the quality of customer care dished out by the front-line staff of some institutions, the Dominica Institute of Customer Service has accepted the ambitious challenge to change the customer service landscape across the country.
Natasha Yeeloy-Labad, a master trainer and certified customer service trainer, is the president and founder of the Dominica Institute of Customer Service (DIOCS). Mrs. Labad took the daring and much-needed step to form this first-of-its-kind establishment in Dominica, offering training and advocacy with "the bold and ambitious mission of transforming the island's service culture."
Yeeloy-Labad told The Sun that the institute plans to do this by "advocating for all things service, across the length and breadth of Dominica across multiple sectors. This would be for anyone who plays a role that involves them connecting with customers."
The DIOCS President has been aware of the criticism meted out to service staff and the harsh words used to describe customer service. This has powered her to commit herself to play whatever role she can to move the needle on that meter.
The institute's plan is to help Dominica meet international standards and improve its human resource capacity in that regard so that the island becomes a haven of customer service excellence.
"One of the misconceptions of developing countries is we do not have the resources to make an investment in improved customer service experiences," she explained. "This is unfortunate because we are being judged on the world stage; and on that stage, they are saying that despite our little improvements it is still pretty difficult to do business here at ease, if you don't believe me check our 2022 rankings."
According to tradingeconomics.com, Dominica ranks 111 for ease of doing business out of 190 countries. Prior to that, Dominica ranked at 103.
Yeeloy-Labad pointed out that several institutions already boast of having excellent customer service and her goal is to ensure such companies can put their money where their mouth is.
Natasha noted that while some companies understand the importance of investing in customer service training, others are reluctant to spend what they consider 'good money' on training their customer service providers.
"I would like to see more companies, in general, make service learning an ongoing and regular training initiative, and not only customer service but communications, office, and business etiquette, and OSH (Occupational Safety and Health) because there are regional and international standards to rise up to," she said.
DIOCS was founded in 2019 but due to the pandemic was unable to execute and achieve its activities and goals.
However, with restrictions now lifted, the DIOCS has embarked on its mandate and has already begun to see increased training bookings, and is preparing itself to host the annual service excellence awards later this year at the Fort Young Hotel.
"Our work, including radio programmes on DBS, has given rise to more awareness and customers feeling more empowered to provide feedback to companies," she said. "I believe feedback is absolutely essential for any company to grow. I feel it has given rise to companies and service professionals wanting to do better and gain recognition for quality service."
As far as Yeeloy-Labad is concerned, investing in customer service training is more rewarding than a marketing campaign to get new customers as word-of-mouth spreads information – both good and bad - faster and better about a company's quality of customer care.
"My aim was to develop an organization that would reintroduce the need for customer service and training and adds support for service professionals," she said.
As regards the future of the company Yeeloy-Labad hopes to make customer service training a widespread and regular feature on the business calendar of organizations here, as she is a firm believer that good customer service means a good economic return for an institution and the country by extension.