Customer service course launched

Customer service constantly is coming up as a needed training program in Rainy River District, and those looking for instruction in this area may now find their prayers answered.
The Fort Frances Chamber of Commerce, Confederation College, Rainy River Future Development Corp., and local Business Improvement Association have teamed up to offer “Service Excellence”—a customer service training course offered at the college here.
About two dozen local business owners got a chance to find out more about the new course during a meeting last Tuesday evening (Feb. 20) at La Flambée.
Cathy Emes, chair of the Chamber’s customer service committee, said there’s a definite need to develop customer service skills in the district and help strengthen the service industry, which has been identified as an area of job growth.
“A stronger workforce leads to stronger customer loyalty, more jobs, and a stronger economy,” Emes noted.
The purpose of “Service Excellence” is to help those who interact with customers to recognize their impact on building customer loyalty, as well as provide them with the tools and techniques to ensure customers are being served in a consistently exceptional manner, she explained.
The program—aimed at front-line and supervisory staff as well as management—will develop an employee’s service skills for consistent delivery to customers, echoed local Confederation College campus manager Anne Renaud, who also spoke at last Tuesday’s information session.
The “Service Excellence” program helps create a consistent service standard within the company, and provides employees with tools and techniques to build customer loyalty, she added.
The course has been developed by the Ontario Tourism Education Corp., but will be delivered at the Confederation College campus here by local instructors Krista Ballard and Kim Williamson.
There are seven core modules to the program, including customer loyalty, service commitments, teamwork, communication, connections, challenges,
and “WOW Them.”
Depending on what businesses want, these seven modules can be delivered either in a one-day, seven-hour session or two half-day sessions.
A two-evening course tentatively is slated to be offered March 21-22, with a one-day session to take place March 24. However, theses dates could change if enough businesses find them unsuitable.
A minimum of 12 people need to be signed up to make a session worthwhile to run.
The course will be offered for $75 for owners/managers and a discounted rate of $35 for the first 50 employees who register with their managers (the actual cost of the course is higher, but this has been brought down due to the partnership between the four parties).
Those who complete the course will get a participant manual to take back to their workplace, as well as a certificate of recognition and lapel pin from the OTEC.
An entire business can achieve a “Service Excellence-Organization” designation if 100 percent of its management and at least 60 percent of its employees complete the course, noted Renaud.
A business/organization that achieves this would get from the OTEC a plaque, window decal, and permission to use a special logo declaring this achievement.
Ideally, said Emes, the long-term goal of the program would be to get the entire town of Fort Frances, or even district, recognized for “Service Excellence.”
This would entail seeing at least 60 percent of local businesses individually achieve that designation.
For more information or to sign up for the course, contact Confederation College at 274-5395 or the Chamber of Commerce at 274-5773.

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