Customer Service – Tourism Industry

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Last week, I wrote about customer service in the tourism industry in a story entitled “HATAB in Maun-Service”. I noted that the Hospitality and Tourism Association of Botswana of Botswana (HATAB) Conference 2024 held under the theme: “Advancing towards a world class tourism investment climate to create job” was at Maun Lodge. This week, I want to expand on this subject of customer service in the Tourism Industry which is hoped to advance a world class tourism investment climate and create jobs for the many citizens of Botswana.

As a country, Botswana has been reported to have a serious poor customer service challenge. I would like to note that poor customer service is the evidence of an organization that has ineffective operational systems and ineffective leadership. To address poor service, I am suggesting the following as measures to improve customer service in the tourism sector:

Conduct customer service training for workers – HATAB sectors and all tourism facility in Botswana or any sector associated tourism service providers should conduct customer service training for their workers either in-house or through short courses. Collaboration with HRDC is recommended in this regard.

Build leadership systems that are customer focused – to improve customer service in Botswana, all sectors of tourism service especially those associated with HATAB should build leadership systems that are customer focused. Every organization exists to serve certain types of customers and it is therefore critical that leadership and management should be committed to providing quality customer service to their clients. The purpose of leadership is to provide direction by being involved and engaged with the service providers.

manage performance – HATAB and stakeholders should master the service delivery processes by managing the performance of all the value stream processes. This will assist in identifying where the customer value is lost and close the gap before it is transferred to the customers as the final product.

Value and Accept Customer Feedback – HATAB and stakeholders should listen to the voice of the customer. This should be undertaken by collecting, analyzing, reporting, and acting on the customer feedback pertaining to the way they evaluate the business services and service delivery approaches used. The purpose of conducting a customer satisfaction survey therefore is to identify customer service performance gaps with the hope of closing those gaps. Small online questions after a service is provided is also critical for customer feedback.

Botswana and Southern Africa have a big market especially that of wildlife-based tourism. As a result, HATAB must exploit this market to its advantage by increasing SERVICE DELIVERY. Botswana has the richest and most diverse range of human, natural, cultural, religious, and historical attractions complemented by a warm tropical climate, warm people, great accommodations, and great food. Botswana is exceptional for mammal diversity and the main destination for wildlife watching tourism. The Botswana Government as a facilitation and enabling body, should be seen to be assisting the tourism industry and HATAB to meet its goals of service delivery and achieving its mandate. In this regard, dialogue between Government and HATAB should be encouraged to remove all the obstacles that hinders good service delivery in the HATAB area of operation. These obstacles and challenges include: delayed lease agreements, vegetable import ban, increased park fees, poor roads within parks, to complicated requirements of acquiring the permits and licenses. The Botswana Government should also address challenges faced by the entire tourism industry which include: the limited citizen participation in the industry, inadequate product range and diversity, limited brand equity, limited air access, inadequate marketing, and tourism economic leakages among others. This approach has the potential to contribute and improve Botswana’s competitive advantage in the global tourism space hence create jobs in Botswana. 

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