In line with its broad mandate to promote increased productivity in all sectors of the economy and thus bring about prosperity for all; the Botswana National Productivity Centre (BNPC) recently completed a customer care training for frontline staff for key institutions in the tourism and tourism related sectors.
The training, sponsored by the Department of Tourism (DOT) was aimed at empowering the participants to among other critical competencies; be able to demonstrate ability and skill to handle customers in a polite and helpful manner, deal with incidents such as enquiries, equipment faults and lost property.
Furthermore, the participants were empowered to demonstrate skill to attend to customer needs and enquiries without delay. They were also taught how to anticipate customer needs. At another level, the training was aimed at producing graduates who will demonstrate learning and competence through implementation of Action Plans at their different establishments.
Participants for the training were drawn from institutions such as Botswana Unified Revenue Service, Immigration, Botswana Police Service and the tourism industry personnel.The BNPC held capacity building sessions in Gaborone, Maun and Kasane as part of the rollout of the training.
Overall 460 participants were capacitated in Customer Care over a period of fourteen (14) months. After the capacity building, the participants demonstrated competence by under-taking projects such as development of a feedback system; where 88% of the participants sampled indicated successful implementation. Another project undertaken was development of service recovery guidelines, where 71% of the participants enjoyed success.
However, the project identified a number of issues / challenges such as, lack of willingness to release employees for training by employers, lack of overtime payment, and failure to transport workers to the training venues. Moreover, the level of education for participants also necessitated the use of Setswana.
Regarding efforts to mitigate the challenges to the industry, the report highlighted that remedial work, use of Setswana speaking consultants and partnership with DOT to mobilize establishments assisted in dealing with the problems.
Continuous training in tourism and service quality to reach more people and the mapping of cross-functional processes for tourist facilities such as Check In and Check Out processes were also emphasised. Furthermore, training of management in the tourism establishments and points of entry and the inclusion of other support agents such as petrol stations, restaurants, transport sector and veterinary services provide opportunities for training. Focused training for security guards and shorter awareness programmes for Points of Entry were also highlighted as unexplored opportunities.
The project as conducted by the BNPC aims to improve competitiveness in tourism through service excellence by providing among others training in Service Excellence as part of a larger approach that includes the development of a National Service Excellence Framework, and the National Customer Satisfaction Index. Moreover, the approaches are geared towards improving among other factors, the overall ranking of the country such as “Botswana’s degree of customer orientation in the Global Competitiveness Report.
As partners in the journey towards excellence, the BNPC and DOT have built an excellent relationship based on delivery to the programme and the improvement of personnel who man the trenches in service delivery. This programme will serve as a step for future expansion to the rest of the country.
Contact: STRYKER MOTLALOSO
Public Relations Executive