Customer service key to business growth — MD, Labadi Beach
• David Eduaful — MD, Labadi Beach Hotel
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Customer service key to business growth — MD, Labadi Beach

Ghanaian businesses, particularly those within the hospitality industry value chain, have been urged to prioritise quality customer service that will help transform the country’s tourism sector.

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“We are deemed to be a hospitable country, but that is not all it takes to satisfy a customer. What we lack is the provision of quality customer service to make tourists, either internal or external, enjoy a service they have paid for,” the Managing Director (MD) of Labadi Beach Hotel, David Eduaful, said.

According to him, the quality of customer service delivery in the country was a major challenge which many tourists have complained about and noted that unless that changes, the country will continue to lose tourists to its competitors in the sub-region and other parts of the continent where the customer is always seen as a priority and deliver to standard.

Mr Eduaful was making his contribution as one of the three panellists assembled for the first quarterly series Graphic Business/Stanbic Bank Breakfast Meeting held in Accra on Tuesday.

On the theme “Tourism the Golden Egg, a Shared Responsibility”, the meeting attracted many players within the country’s tourism sector, academia and captains of industries, among others.

It was fashioned to elevate the discussions on tourism as a sector that can help to rapidly grow the economy and provide jobs for the masses of the people.

The contribution of the tourism sector is not only a direct reflection of tourist spending but also an indicator of how tourism stimulates the economy through job creation, infrastructure investment, and a boost to related industries.

Experts argue that considering the value of the sector to the economy, customer service must be prioritised to ensure the number of arrivals to the country does not diminish. This can only be done if, aside from the issues around the provision of basic infrastructure such as roads and utilities, the challenges of poor customer service are addressed more holistically.

Customer first

“Our business is meant for our customers and if the customers are not there, there is no business. We must, therefore, ensure that we serve the interests of the customer first, to enable them to continue to enjoy our service or products at all times,” Mr Eduaful said.

He said taking the customer for granted has the potential to affect business growth and sustainability because “what management and the workers need to accept is that without the customer, there is no business and that is the reason we must treat every customer with care to make them happy so they can always come back for more”.

Consequently, he called on businesses to train and retrain their staff on quality customer service to enable them to appreciate its value and deliver accordingly.

Local businesses and tourism

Referring to the provision of products and goods for the sector, he urged businesses to study the needs of the players within the hospitality industry and produce goods and products to meet their demands.

He referenced his hotel, indicating that many of the toiletries used in the hotel are acquired locally because they meet the standards the hotel wants.

However, we revealed that meat and other products have to be imported from South Africa because those in the country are not produced to meet the standards befitting a five-star hotel such as Labadi Beach Hotel.

“The meat is not to the standard of the hotel so we have to import from South Africa,” he said.

According to him, the hotel is forced to take that decision because locally, the hotel is not able to access “the quality meat we want. Where we even do, we are not guaranteed the quantities constantly, which is really problematic for us”.

He asked local meat producers to ensure that they stock meat in the right quantities and quality and ensure constant supply to players in the industry.

What they need to know is that the hotel is an international one which attracts visitors from all over the world with very sophisticated taste and demand, and we must ensure that we meet their needs and requirements,” he said.

Mr Eduaful said quality was one thing the hotel could not afford to toy with and noted that any local business having a deal with the hotel must ensure that standards are met without any compromises.

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