Shocking Service Levels in Bay Ahead of 2010
Shocking levels of service in Nelson Mandela Bay have clearly indicated
the need for service excellence training to improve customer
satisfaction and retention. In a survey conducted by market research
experts Vision Research during the end of 2009 to measure the general
service levels in the area, and that of a major shopping centre in the
city, the score was a dismal 3.2 out of 10.
“The consumer needs to be educated that they deserve excellent service.
Quality service and products draw customers, and without them, what do
you have?” asked Margaret Smith of Starfish Training and Development,
lead service provider to the PE Regional Chamber of Commerce &
‘s Service Excellence programme. “When the influx of
descend upon the Bay area during the 2010 World Cup, we have to feel
that we can offer them the best service possible. The question is
whether business is taking this challenge seriously.”

PERCCI’s Service Excellence Programme provides training through
specialist workshops aimed at providing delegates with invaluable
insight into the methods required to deliver excellent service and to
exceed their customers’ expectations. In developing the campaign, the
Chamber was clear that it should go beyond a one-off training day,
which is why subscribing companies sign up for regular mystery shopping
in order to measure their service levels and retain their Service
Excellence accreditation. “We urge Nelson Mandela Bay consumers to seek
out Service
Excellence-accredited businesses where they are assured that they can
‘expect great service’ – in the words of our slogan,” said Smith.

“The programme allows business owners to see business through the eyes
of their customers,” said Smith. The training received should also not
be seen as a once-off effort, but it should be constantly implemented
to ensure continuous improvement within the company. Smith added that
one of the greatest assets a company can offer to its clients is top
quality service. “Striving for excellence in a service-orientated
environment is a long-term investment in keeping existing clients and
attracting new ones.” Mystery shopping forms an integral part of the
programme’s overall
success. Here mystery shoppers assess service levels of all staff in
participating companies through several mystery shopping strategies.
“Mystery shopping shows you a slice in time, of a particular experience
through the eyes of the customer,” said Graham Macintosh of Vision
Research. This monitoring of service delivery helps to identify areas
in the company which require special attention, and with mystery
shopping trainers, one can actively engage in establishing a platform
to provide service excellence to all clients.

“People remember the service they receive. Every happy customer builds
brand loyalty. If someone provides great service the customer will
recommend that service or product,” said Macintosh. The company links
video mystery shopping to the training aspect of the Chamber’s Service
Programme. The training programme was developed,
and is
accredited by, the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University Business
School and various accredited independent training providers.

After the training, Service Excellence Accreditation is awarded to
participating companies if a score of 80% or more is achieved during
the initial mystery shops. Accreditation status is then maintained by
consistently achieving 80% or more during subsequent mystery shopping
evaluations. In the event of a company not achieving a score of 80% or
more, the company has four weeks to rectify the areas of weakness,
whereafter a follow-up mystery shop will take place. Should a minimum
of 80% still not be achieved, the company will lose its accreditation
status and would then need to re-visit the training process for
employees and the management team.

To join the programme, contact Margaret Smith.

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