Customer Service Lessons From The Southern Caribbean

caribbean customer service“People does like it here, we move nice wid dem as we does wid each other ~ no corruptions or hatreds, all is like one.”

- Quote by a local Carriacou Island, Granada resident from”Cruising Guide to the Windward Islands” by Chris Doyle

While this unnamed resident is speaking about his island and his community, he could be talking about the culture and customer service of his country’s business, in this case, tourism. Such things are said about Carriacou often and by many. It is said to be the friendliest island in the Caribbean. Wouldn’t you want to spend your vacation and your money in a place with people like that?

It would be easy to read this man’s comments as innocence from a remote islander until you consider that these people compete fiercely for business on a beachfront, inter-island, and even global basis. Like all other customers, “yachters” and “resorters” have a myriad of choices of places to go and they communicate their experiences widely within their various communities. In these days of Facebook, Twitter, and all the rampant social networking, a small island can be knocked out of the competition, or popularized quickly.

Can you make such a bold statement about your organization or community? How many of the dimensions covered in his simple comment can you honestly claim?

Is your group’s internal culture one where mutual trust, respect, and safety are the foundation? Does everyone freely collaborate and encourage creativity and innovation on a regular basis?

If we check with your customers or clients, will we get the report that you “move nice wid dem?”

How about if we survey your vendors and suppliers? I have run into more than one company that filled their walls with inspiring quotes regarding customer importance, wonderfully worded vision, mission and values statements, and lots of great posters about team and goals and yet treated their vendors quite shabbily. If your people are engaged in that type of behavior, what do they know in their hearts to be the real truth about your company vs. what is posted on the walls? What are your suppliers and vendors saying about you to all the people in their lives?

If you wrote a statement like the islander’s above about your group, in your own way of saying it, how well would it match with current reality? How much would it be worth to you in increased sales, staff productivity, quality, performance and schedule issues to have your statement become absolutely true?

What’s currently missing in your company’s culture? How much and how long are you willing to invest to make the “highest and best” the truth of your team and organization? And here’s the really tough question – are you willing to start by investigating and exposing your own complicity in those aspects you are not happy with currently?

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