Windhoek — Namibia needs to learn from tourism hubs such as Indonesia, where the service industry plays a crucial role in the success of that country's booming tourism sector.
The Inspector General of the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy of Indonesia, Gusti Putu Laksaguna, shared his country's experiences with Namibians during the high-level seminar on service delivery in the hospitality and tourism industry last week in Windhoek.
According to Laksaguna, excellent service means enjoying to give people a little more than they expect.
Service delivery and customer service in Namibia have been described as poor. Although Namibia has scooped many international awards and is highly rated for its tourism facilities and attractions, it still lags far behind when it comes to quality service delivery.
Laksaguna defined excellent service as the customer's perception of value, integration of quality as a foundation for winning the customer's heart, delivering on brand promises, going the extra mile and having proactive service recovery procedures.
"Be GLAD - Greet, Listen, Advise and Deliver [GLAD]," the Indonesian official advised, adding that customers' expectations are higher than ever before, while the service industry is growing and competition is becoming stiffer. He said there is a growing need to change management values from being reactive to a creative and proactive mode.
"Excellent service is profitable," he added.
Laksaguna further highlighted common clichés in the tourism sector, that of "a customer is king", "a customer is always right", "a customer has a choice", "customers are the reason you are in business", "the way to your customer's heart is through your employees".
"Customer service is the new marketing (tool) and good customer management is the core competency of a business and underlies sustainable performance," he added.
Laksaguna said to achieve the maximum benefit from excellent service, businesses have to invest in their people, listen to customers, ask the right questions, solicit feedback and act on it, guarantee quality, deliver on promises, go the extra mile, and make it personal. "Simplify, communicate, clarify and execute," he offered.
Countries like Indonesia have long past realised the importance of excellent service delivery and is rated among the world's top tourism destinations with a very high standard of service delivery. In 2011, Indonesia attracted more than seven million tourists and all thanks to its entrenched culture of excellent service delivery and customer service. The country managed to make US$8.5 billion through the arrival of the seven million tourists.
The Polytechnic of Namibia, in conjunction with the Ministry of Environment and Tourism and the Indonesian Embassy, organised the high-level seminar.