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Call for action on customer service

7 July 2008

Call for action on customer service

New Zealand must urgently take steps to improve its service industry ahead of the 2011 World Cup.

Long queues and lousy food at some of our top sports grounds indicate that organizations have plenty of room for improvement, according to Chris Bell, a leading New Zealand customer service consultant.

“My worry is that companies and organizations are going to wait til the eleventh hour to think about lifting their game but it takes time – these sorts of things don’t happen overnight.

“We need to start preparing right now, using up to date strategies. The days of sending staff to a customer service-training workshop are long gone.”

He said accommodation and hospitality outlets would be in the frontline, with retail, banks, tourist ventures and transport following close behind – not to mention the sports stadiums.

“Every business that interacts with visitors in 2011, both national and international, has a responsibility to deliver the very best service if we are to fully capitalise on this huge opportunity to enhance our reputation and that we benefit from the positive word of mouth that results from a great visitor experience.

“2011 is much more than just a rugby tournament. It is also about visitors experiencing our country outside the rugby stadiums, taking home those impressions, and selling them to others. The potential spin off will be felt long after the final is played,” Bell said.

“We should be taking a leaf from Euro 2008 and China. Imagine just how much preparation is going into ensuring the Chinese provide great customer service to their visitors during the Beijing Olympics. They have been working on this sort of training for the past two years and are now undergoing intensive programmes.”

Bell said that developing a world-class customer experience was not something businesses should just be doing to capitalise on the World Cup.

“This should be a priority focus for all businesses, especially in a struggling economy, providing better value, taking the time to understand your customers better and building stronger relationships are all part of this long-term strategy.”


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