Imperative of customer relations training on organisational growth 

Adeniyi-Taiwo

Bola Adeniyi-Taiwo

TECHNICALLY, the fundamental purpose of a business is to satisfy customer/client needs. Organisations benefit from a strong customer service culture.

Satisfied customers are naturally loyal and assume the status of advocates, creating what some experts identify as excellent word of mouth advertising.

The bottom line is increased revenue and sustained profit. According to Human Resources (HR) experts, customer  relations is the process by which companies promote customer satisfaction and loyalty.

The process involves managing communications with customers, particularly customer questions and complaints, and resolving disputes amicably.

Indeed, the ultimate goal of most customer relations programmes  is to build long-term relationships, encourage  customers to  keep buying the product or service and recommending it to others.

To attain this objective, organisations go the extra miles to build a strong reputation for lavishing their customers with special services, discounts, gifts, or other benefits.   The origin of customer relations can be traced to the “complaint department.

Over the years, many firms have  developed a policy whereby “the customer is always right,” finding that it was more profitable to take a small loss and keep a good customer.

As consumer consciousness grew over the year,  the focus of the industry shifted from dealing with dissatisfied customers as they complained to a more active approach of reaching out to discover why the complaint was made.

Research over the years have revealed that the  purpose of most well-developed customer relations programmes is to turn one-time or occasional customers into loyal buyers.

Over the years, The Customer Focus (TCF) has strengthened mutual relationship  between firms and customers who rely on their products and services.

The concept, which has gained momentum across the globe is expected to attain fresh impetus in Lagos, Nigeria on September 24, 2015, at a training session to be addressed by  one of the world leaders in customer service, Shep Hyken in conjunction with The Workplace Centre.

The Workplace Centre was jointly founded two years ago by Bola Adeniyi-Taiwo and Mojisola Olateru-Olagbegi. In an  online interview with The Guardian, Adeniyi-Taiwo emphasised the need for training, adding that the proposed event is the most important programme on the subject in Nigeria this year.

Training: The Masterclass is a programme that is run by an expert in his field. We are very privileged to have one of the world leaders in customer service, Shep Hyken, coming to Nigeria to run a workshop titled ‘The Customer Amazement Revolution Masterclass’ in conjunction with our company, The Workplace Centre on September 24 at Oriental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos.

This is the most important programme on this subject in Nigeria this year and it promises to cause a huge paradigm shift in the way we perceive customer service.

A best selling author of several books on the subject matter and a renowned motivational speaker, Shep will be sharing with us vital strategies which will assist us to create Moments of Magic and consistently exceed customer expectation.

He affirms that customer service is not a department, as many of us think; its a philosophy which pervades every aspect of the organization.

Shep Hyken will be joined by Dr Benjamin Akande, an erudite and compelling speaker who was recently appointed as the 21st President of the 164 year old Westminster College, Fulton, Missouri United States of America (USA), after a 10 year tenure as the Dean of The School of Business, Webster University, Missouri, USA. We will also have with us a couple of highly seasoned local human resources and customer service experts joining us as panel discussants.

The programme is designed for Managers, Supervisors and Client Interfacing Executives. It is essential to note that the programme is not for customer service personnel alone, as customer service is the responsibility of everyone in the organization.

The programme was spearheaded by The Workplace Centre but we have received amazing support from various corporate institutions in the country.

Hyken

Shep Hyken

Partners: Our partners include Inspiration FM, which has supported us immensely in promoting the Centre and the programme, FBN Insurance Plc and a host of other companies. Objectives: We hope to truly revolutionize our customer service culture in the country.

We hope to instill in every mind the need to imbibe a service mentality by simply treating people they way they should be treated, no matter who they are. Customer service should not be uni-directional; we must remember that respect begets respect and everyone deserves to be treated respectfully.

The small, consistent steps we take towards excellent service delivery will lead to an amazement culture so badly needed in Nigeria today. The Workplace Centre started operations two years ago at our very serene location in Victoria Island.

Founded jointly by my partner, Mojisola Olateru-Olagbegi and I, we set out to bring our wealth of experience together by building a world class skills development organization that provides unique HR and IT solutions to our clientele. Services: “There are two broad divisions at the centre- the Corporate Services Division essentially offers soft skills development programmes, executive recruitment as well as HR consulting and outsourcing services.

The Technology and Entrepreneurship Division offers ICT professional skills development programmes, E-Learning/M- Learning programmes  as well as ERP and ICT consulting services Target audience “We cater to graduate trainees as well as to more experienced individuals seeking to acquire soft and/or technical skills to improve their employability or advance their career prospects.

Our programmes are also tailored to developing entrepreneurial skills for those interested in starting or building their own businesses. “We offer our HR and I.T consulting services to corporate clientele from a range of industries, with specific focus on the financial services, telecoms, hospitality and Oil and Gas industries. “Since its commencement two years ago, TWPC has catered to over 25 corporate clients.

We have run numerous in plant and open training programmes,  notably amongst which was a team building programmes  we ran very successfully for one of the state governments early last year.

We have been very fortunate to have secured consulting contracts within our two divisions, the most significant of which was a technical IT project for a major financial institution in the country. “We are largely private driven.

However, our vision is to add significant value to our clients and to society at large. Consequently, we have run a number of CSR programmes within our community aimed at developing the youth in Nigeria and improving their chances of securing employment or becoming employers of labour.  “Our unique selling proposition is found in the comprehensive training we offer at the centre.

As an outsourcing provider for example, we pay enormous emphasis on preparing our associates for the roles they are engaged to perform. Our associates will testify to the quality of training they receive before stepping into any office they are assigned to.

To our corporate clients, we offer a free refresher training a few months to the end of each course we run. “The edge we have is our unwavering commitment to our employees as well as our culture of service excellence.

We truly value our relationship with our employees and with our clients and we go all the way to ensure we constantly exceed their expectations, even where we have to incur considerable expense to achieve this.

The reality is that these costs are insignificant compared to the huge benefits we continue to reap from their loyalty and their referrals. Recruitments “One of the lapses I see in many recruitment processes today is the lack of a proper structured competency based interview system.

This system ensures objectivity and reduces sentiment and elements of bias. When conducted correctly, interviews will identify the most suitable candidate for a particular job.

For fresh graduates especially, I would always ask questions that test their attitude and service orientation. This is key to me, as these attributes are very difficult to teach. Once they display these traits, above average candidates can be taught the required technical skills for the job.

It is also very important to run assessment centres as part of the recruitment process as this will most certainly reveal the best candidates for the job. Casualisation “The stigma associated with casualisation of workers is attributable largely to the degrading manner in which these employees are treated.

Most of this cadre of employees are in customer facing roles and until organizations come to the realization that they need to treat employees (full time or contract) with the same respect they would treat their customers, they will continue to experience poor customer service. Outsourcing is a global phenomenon and is not peculiar to Nigeria.

There may be different pay structures, but we need to create an enabling environment where all our employees are motivated intrinsically and where they experience such an amazing sense of belonging, that customers begin to experience a consistent new level of excellent customer service delivery”.



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