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Local News 01 May, 2023 Follow News

Dr. Basil Springer

While in Barbados over Easter I had a disappointing restaurant experience, where I was left wondering whether enough attention had been paid to exposing the supervisory and customer service representatives to the basic tenet of good customer service.

A week before the event, the restaurant was informed that a group of 20 would be dining and a site visit was paid to identify the location in the restaurant which would be reserved for the group.

On arrival at the restaurant on the day of the event, other guests with two to four persons at a table seemed reasonably content.

There was a cosmetic flurry of activity by the staff wanting to please their customers which would suggest that the restaurant staff had been exposed to some basic training, but that is where it ended.

At our two tables for the group of 20, a waiter announced that he will serve us this afternoon. When after 45 minutes my lime squash order had not arrived and I pointed it out to the waiter, there was another flurry of activity and the drink arrived in one minute.

There was no attempt by the supervisor to increase the number of servers at these two tables and get the food orders to the kitchen as soon as possible. The one redeeming feature for me was that my guests, after waiting for two to two-and-a-half hours to be served their main course, were in good spirits and enjoyed the fellowship.

A request to change the music to more appropriate dining selections was met by adamant resistance from the supervisor who argued that the absentee owner had left strict instructions not to vary his prescribed play lists.

Will our tourists put up with this standard? Only time will tell.

Tourism is a major contributor to the Caribbean economy, with millions of visitors flocking to our beautiful islands each year. For businesses in this sector, the quality of customer service is essential to attracting and retaining tourists. Visitors expect a warm welcome, friendly and attentive staff, and an experience that exceeds their expectations. This can only be achieved through a commitment to excellent customer service.

One example of a Caribbean business that understands the importance of customer service is Sandals Resorts. This all-inclusive resort chain has made customer service a cornerstone of its business model. From the moment guests arrive at the resort, they are greeted with warm smiles and personalized attention. Staff members go above and beyond to ensure that guests have a memorable experience, and this has helped to establish Sandals as a leading brand in the hospitality industry. I look forward to witnessing the impact of the Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart International School of Hospitality & Tourism on elevating service standards in the region.

Another example is the restaurant industry, which is highly competitive in the Caribbean. Restaurants must not only offer delicious food but also provide excellent customer service to stand out from the crowd. One restaurant that exemplifies this is Champers in Barbados. The restaurant is known for its stunning oceanfront location and tasty local cuisine, but it is the attentive and friendly service that keeps customers coming back. The staff at Champers go out of their way to ensure that diners have a memorable experience, and this has helped the restaurant to establish a loyal customer base.

Ultimately, businesses that prioritize customer service will be better positioned to succeed and thrive. However, it is crucial that we strive for 100 percent compliance in order to effectively compete with other destinations around the world.

Complacency can pose a significant hindrance to achieving our goal, and it’s crucial for businesses in the Caribbean to remain committed and dedicated. By doing so, we can attract contented local, regional, and international customers, and make a lasting contribution to the growth of the service sector and the tourism industry.

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