Mon | Sep 20, 2021

‘No excuses, service must continue’

SAJ delivers successful customer experience workshop

Published:Tuesday | August 3, 2021 | 12:06 AM
A screenshot of some of the participants of the SAJ customer experience seminar.
A screenshot of some of the participants of the SAJ customer experience seminar.
Dr Nsombi Jaja
Dr Nsombi Jaja
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“Regardless of what is happening, we still need to deliver exceptional services to our customers. We cannot use the situation as an excuse not to deliver.” These are the comments of Dr Nsombi Jaja as she addressed an online Customer Experience Workshop hosted by the Shipping Association of Jamaica on July 28 and 29. Jaja, who is also chairman of the Jamaica Customer Service Association, facilitated the workshop.

In addressing how to engage customers in the ‘new normal’, she said, “All of us are being impacted by this environment and because of this, you have frustrated people interacting with frustrated people, and you have all this built-up pressure. A lot of people have internalised the pressures that they are experiencing, and so we have to find ways in which we are going to cope in a different way.”

Identifying and improving aspects of individuals’ customer service will help to improve the experience of each customer, she said.

Jaja also noted that the shipping community has had to contend with other matters – including decreased cargo and the blockage of the Suez Canal by a vessel earlier this year – that have dealt severe blows to their operations and heightened the need for customer service representatives to function at a higher level. We still need to deliver exceptional services to our customers. We cannot use the situation as an excuse not to deliver. Once the business continues to operate, the service must also continue,” she stated.

The process of constant learning is also vital, she said. “All of us can continue to function well, but we have to retool. A lot of us are not lifelong learners and think that we have learnt enough to take us throughout our lifetimes, but that is not so.”

With the industry evolving rapidly, and the expectations of people and companies being raised, she said only those that are agile in responding to those developing needs will prevail.

To that end, it is imperative that enterprises provide exceptional service to their internal customers and employees so they can relay that experience to their external customers.

The two-day customer experience and customer service webinar hosted over two dozen participants from 10 companies across the region to discover how to deliver service excellence to their customers.

Among the issues discussed was the impact of the coronavirus on the shipping industry, and how it has affected the way people in service positions interact with clients.

Danielle Hemmings of Assessment Recoveries Limited shared that COVID-19 has affected businesses and their staff financially and mentally, and that many are not “adjusted to handling the toll that the virus has had on us”.

Another registrant from the Grenada Ports Authority shared that customers have become increasingly frustrated due to the effects of the pandemic and the added protocols which they now have to deal with, which sometimes affect how quickly their transactions are handled.

The customer experience and customer service workshop also included breakout sessions, interactive exercises, and group discussions to deal with challenges being faced on a company level, and to determine how customer service agents may address them at a personal level.

For information on upcoming SAJ seminars, please email pallen@jamports.com.