The Importance of Customer Service in a Changing Global Environment: Barbados Investment & Development Corporation

Not so long ago in the print edition of the Sunday Sun, an ad told of a FREE workshop on improving one’s interaction with customers thanks to BIDC. The host is no less than former broadcaster Marvo Manning, a regular tutor at BIMAP. I naturally leapt at it in view of my day job, and I sought to encourage as many of my colleagues in similar or above ranks… (As I was there in my job capacity I snapped no pictures but will use appropriate illustrations where applicable)

Sad to say, not only two of my co-workers attended the seminar, WHICH COST NOTHING EXCEPT BUS-FARE OR PETROL, but the class itself was about 48% full or a little under half-full! This led in part for much of Michael Bynoe’s opening remarks at the session…

In Mr Bynoe’s view, Barbados is gaining an increasing reputation for having surly floorwalkers and assistants at numerous establishments – no longer public but private sector as well!

The head of the Entrepreneurial Development Division believes that the National Initiative for Service Excellence (NISE) has an uphill task in making Bajans toe the line for providing a friendly and rewarding occasion for consumers.

When Marvo took over, she asked participants to adhere to the advice given at all times and not for the life of the class. Too many times she has seen ppl be “NISE” at class yet a brute at their job; or be “NISE” for customers and nasty to their co-workers – Marvo says everyone should be “NISE” at all times!

She asked the audience what they felt were essential components of successful customer events, here are most of the answers –

  • Understanding the personality you’re dealing with
  • Be competent in many aspects of your organisation
  • Making a client laugh or smile even when they’re facing difficulties
  • Follow-Up/After-Sales Service
  • Honesty – even if the competition must be suggested
  • Attentive 2 client’s needs/ Be a good listener
  • Enthusiasm
  • Respecting Clients’ time
  • Problem Solving / Results Oriented
  • Deportment
  • Positive Attitude
  • Good Manners
  • Pleasant Personality
  • Good Communications
  • Create (happy) Lasting Impression
  • Punctuality / Dependability
  • Commitment 2 what U do

Marvo also says when a colleague rattles your cage, you should always strive to leave it out of your duties – you can be at war privately, but while at the job, you are the epitome of etiquette… If you do not follow this, you can run the risk of customers picking up on this and this may adversely affect their view of where they may spend time and/or money the next time…

Then a guy put his hand in the air to ask why do we have to pay a service charge at a restaurant? In his view, you’re paying folk 2 be “NISE” and that’s ridiculous! Marvo agreed but added that if ppl are being paid 2 be “NISE” then they can face the opposite if penalties are accrued and proven. These types of rules need to be established from the start.

There’s a distinct difference to the BIMAP lecturer between offering “Can I help you….” as opposed to “HOW MAY I HELP YOU?

Another member of the audience also feels teens think Good Manners are a sign of weakness, so she recalled when she refused to let some do a tour of her workplace until they greeted her and asked how she’s doing!


The kicker was when ‘Eddie‘, an independent contractor related a racist experience which was one of many he claims happened mostly along the island’s West Coast!

Eddie‘ started relating how at some well-known villas, Sir ‘Whatever‘ was so pleased with his work that the gent recommended the contractor to Sir ‘So&So‘, but warning ‘Eddie‘ that So&So‘s wife is the ultimate B**ch, and very racial!

Eddie‘ felt it was an exaggeration until when the first thing that met him was not only Lady “So&So” but her Property Manager, since she spoke to ‘Eddie’ via the Mgr – never directly! She told the Mgr to let ‘Eddie’ know she did not want the product placed a certain way as this would obstruct her view during afternoon tea!

After watching her blister a maid for spilling water from a vase with a flower arrangement and calling her “YOU STUPID BLACK DOG!” (‘Eddieasked the girl later why she takes that abuse – she says she is paid $140 per day, double for Sat’s and triple on Sun’s) At that point, ‘Eddie’ kinda lost it and told her directly to her face that if she wants the product to work well then she has to let him place it where he knows best as it takes no ‘brain surgeon‘ to realise that that is why he was paid to do the job and she is stopping him from performing the task to the best of his ability!

She snarled do what you feel, and Sir ‘So&So‘ apologised for his wife and paid ‘Eddie‘ in full – by Christmas last year he got a Xmas card with $500 in it!

Marvo, quite understandably, was a bit shocked at the whole episode – from how Eddie handled things to what he endured… But she nevertheless stated that calling the woman a Brain Surgeon or an idiot is a no-no despite her piggishness. One should never take on problems as a personal assault, rise above the racism and do your job to the best of your ability, get paid and SPLIT!

If Lady ‘So&So‘ did not speak to ‘Eddie‘ directly then talk to the Property Mgr directly as if the woman did not exist! It is an ongoing process to improve one’s self, Marvo admitted, she feels she is only quarter way and still has more to go – she considers the consequences as her goading stick. Ignore the words and deal with the ISSUE – she urged, very much like Barack Obama!

Stay in touch with the conversation, subscribe to the RSS feed for comments on this post.


add a comment

Some HTML is OK

or, reply to this post via trackback.