Op-Ed: Service, please!
Ask anyone who has just returned from a trip how it went and, without fail, one of the first comments will be their impression of how they were treated in the country they visited. Likewise when you receive a daily service of any kind, or you spend money dining out in a restaurant. This quality of treatment and service to that client is key to the success of the tourism industry in any country, or the survival of any business for that matter.
For centuries, and as recent as decades ago, the concept of “service” was associated with a pejorative servile concept. Luckily, years after, especially during the 70s, business and behavioral experts strengthened the concept realizing that customer service is, in fact, an added value and a crucial factor that can make the difference in the perception and experience of the customer and, therefore, is intimately related to the thriving of any business.
In Puerto Rico, we now face the challenge to strengthen our economy fast and create 50,000 jobs. It is an undeniable fact that most of these jobs will be created in the service area of the economy. Therefore it is essential to promote in our country a new corporate culture focused on service excellence. That should be our new spirit of entrepreneurship and a much-needed ingredient to compete globally. Let’s take into account that customer service-wise, many countries are light years ahead of us.
We must internalize that a culture of excellence in service is essential for the economic development of any country. In Puerto Rico, we need to provide the kind of service that exceeds expectations and is memorable; this is what gives a solid foundation for growth to a company or a country in crucial sectors like tourism.
Businesses that have worked to construct this foundation in quality of service are constantly in search of improving their operations and processes to better serve their customers and prospects. Technology, business intelligence and a change in attitude are all key ingredients to achieve this.
Management of private companies and government alike must make service quality and feedback from the customer a basic part of everyone’s work experience. This must be understood by everyone, no matter their level in a company. The entire organization must become focused with what the customer wants.
Extrapolating that spirit in a wide vision of the country, we would definitely enjoy a better quality of life and a more stable economy if we strive to provide excellence in customer service. There is no point in creating jobs in the service sector while we lack this attitude, this desire to provide the best possible experience for a customer; lacking such service culture, they are doomed to failure.
Our business educational process must be enthroned in this concept. Only then will our entrepreneurs have the best resources to serve customers within and outside the island.
Make no mistake: this foundation is an urgent ingredient to take our economy to another level, stabilize it and make it grow.