A group of trainees who participated in the Tourism Industry Customer Training Programme was organized and funded by the Tobago Tourism Agency Limited (TTAL).

Tobago Tourism helps train over 1500 persons in Customer Service

Posted Nov 03, 2023

In what is being hailed as one of the most significant and far-reaching developments for Tobago’s tourism sector in years, hundreds of industry stakeholders completed an intensive customer service training programme. The Tourism Industry Customer Training Programme was organized and funded by the Tobago Tourism Agency Limited (TTAL). The training was conducted by internationally renowned customer service experts, Uplifting Service.

It was the first time this type of internationally acclaimed customer service training was offered, free of charge to anyone working in the island’s tourism sector. The TTAL believes the benefits of the training will have a ripple effect in the sector given the enthusiastic response by participants. Almost thirty-six hundred training sessions were held, and as of September 30th, 1,598 participants were trained.

Participants of the Tourism Industry Customer Training Programme listen attentively to one of the trainers.
Participants of the Tourism Industry Customer Training Programme listen attentively to one of the trainers.

There are five modules in the course - Six Levels of Service, Four Categories of Value, Bounce with Service Recovery, Your Perceptions Points and Take Personal Responsibility. Thus far, a total of 3,636 certificates have been issued per individual per module.

Customer service has been targeted as the cornerstone for overhauling Tobago’s tourism sector, which has faced major setbacks due to the COVID-19 pandemic and continued fierce competition from other well-established Caribbean destinations. Through its research the TTAL found customer service was highlighted for improvement by visitors. The Agency is using this information to push new standards for customer service in tourism in Tobago and bring the sector on par with its regional rivals. The TTAL adopted “Tobago, Above and Beyond” as its motto and guiding principle for the rejuvenation of tourism.

The TTAL set about to show tourism workers not just how they can personally benefit from adopting international best practices in tourism customer service, but how every one of their interactions with tourists can shape the future of the island, given that Tobago’s economic growth and the island’s development are bound to the revenue tourism generates. To help Tobago achieve this and the prestigious status enjoyed by other tourism-driven economies, the TTAL is driving the establishment of overall tourism industry standards. This initiative aims to create communities and networks which are focused on soft skills and value generation and also develop a common service language, shared practices and aligned supporting activities to make a service culture more attractive, effective and uplifting.

TTAL’s Executive Chairman, Alicia Edwards, says the Agency was encouraged by the response to the training which exposed Tobagonians, through Uplifting Service’s teachings, to industry resources reserved for the biggest companies in the world such as Microsoft and Johnson and Johnson. Ms. Edwards said, “I am truly proud of the commitment of our participants. They are going back to their jobs empowered with knowledge on how to identify key categories where they can increase their service value through the product and services they offer, delivery systems, service mindset and ongoing relationships.”

Ms. Edwards added,

“Tobagonians are naturally warm and inviting people, but our laid-back approach may not always meet a visitor’s expectations or may be misinterpreted especially when things go wrong on their holiday. This training serves as a reminder to not only our tourism stakeholders, but also individuals beyond the tourism sector, to tap into our Tobagonian warmth and charm to make situations right for a visitor. Let us think and ask ourselves: how can we as Tobagonians go Above and Beyond to make things right for our guests?”

Ms. Alicia Edwards
Ms. Alicia Edwards, Chairman of the Board of Directors, TTAL

Wendell Walker, Director of Product Development & Destination Management, says this training will be a game-changer for Tobago and believes customer service in all sectors will improve. He said, “For the customer - facing employee, the training emphasizes the Platinum Rule - ‘Do unto others as they would have done unto themselves’. So, Observe. Listen. Provide exceeding service. For the organization, it treats with elements of service chain optimization and allows each worker to recognize his role in satisfying the final customer. For the destination, it creates service levels that would move a visitor to say - It’s a nice place to visit, and I would like to live there.’”