Customer Service and Hospitality Expert, Caleb Coffie has pointed out that there needs to be a national attitudinal change from the highest level, in order to trickle down to the lowest level in organizations’ delivery of effective and quality customer service.
He said this in a panel discussion of tourism and customer service culture in Ghana on the Travel Pass on 3FM hosted by Francis Doku.
When reacting to the question of whose responsibility it is to make sure there is improvement in customer service within the tourism and hospitality industry, Mr Coffie said:
“The responsibility actually has to be from the public-private sector partnership to promote very excellent culture, you couldn’t leave everything on the hands of GTA(Ghana Tourism Authority) or Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture. I think the public sector and then the private sector must have a national discussion and to relook into all the challenges that they’ve had in the past and to also look at the best practices around the globe and to deliberately and intentionally create systems that will ensure that the hotels, restaurants can sensitize all the businesses within the value chain of tourism and hospitality with some level of improvement”.
“So it has to be a collaborative effort between the public and the private sector, especially GTA because they are more of the administrators and the supervisors to make sure that hospitality and tourism development in Ghana. But I must say that Professor Hinson and my good friend Hector have raised very good points, especially in the areas of, more or less having a look at motivating our staff and things like that. Let me tell you something, the difference between success and mediocrity is an attitude, it’s all about attitude”.
“We need a national attitudinal change on the highest level, there’s an adage here in Ghana that says: if the fish will walk, it starts with its head, so if the head is not seen to sit well to create systems and designs on how to manage the employees, to create clear expectations, definitive expectations for our external customers, then it’s not going to work as Professor said, we are going to sit and talk and talk but it’s never going to work” he emphasized.
He went on to say that “I’ll give a typical example, it took Paul Kagame the president, leadership will and political will to say that listen, whether I’m popular on this or unpopular on this, I don’t care we need to change our attitude, now Rwanda has been branded as the cleanest country in Africa, let me tell you the beauty about this, you see it has become a brand, sanitation in Rwanda has become a national brand.
Let me say this for your listeners to hear, sanitation has become a national brand in Rwanda, wherever Rwanda is associated, they don’t talk about agriculture, they don’t about retail, they don’t talk about the tea they produce, they talk about sanitation, it has become a national brand that they are using as a strategic tool to woo investor confidence”.
“Let me tell you the other thing that is going on, you see the COVID-19, even though in a way is a difficult challenge that we all face in the pandemic but it’s also a blessing in disguise. There’s a continental discussion ongoing at the moment, that should Africa continue to be dependent on European aid, World Bank and things like that?
In 2018, there was a formation of the Intercontinental Free Trade, I don’t know if you know anything about it, now this particular discussion started in 2018, which was the African Continental Free Trade Area and they are looking at removing major trade barriers so that there can be goods and services flowing through the continent among Africans, intracontinental trade.
What it means is that, probably within the next few years, the over-reliance on Europe, from tariffs going to Europe and Europeans coming to Ghana but we are looking and doing business among ourselves..
What it means is that we need to do our homework well, we need to reposition ourselves well”.
“If you ask for my recommendation, this will be my simple recommendation, we need to sit down as stakeholders, Professor Hinson has done a great job, I admire him so much, I know the work he has done, you know the issue of the South African thing you mentioned, I’ve also actually followed through and in fact, Ghana Hotels Association came up with a charter.
It was beautiful, it was launched I was there, I also did some fact training but unfortunately, the problem in Ghana is about Sustainability, we start something and we are not able to sustain it, so perhaps we also have to be looking within ourselves as consultants, trainers.
How we can also partner together and perhaps to set up an engagement to meet the public sector,” he added.