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PRIDE: Lifting Customer Service

Tourism Minister, the Hon. Charles Clifford and DoT's Deputy Director (Tourism Product Development), Mrs. Sharon Banfield-Bovell with trainers following the recent presentation of certificates at The Ritz-Carlton. From left are Katie Locke and Janet Holness of the DoT.

In the midst of an increasingly competitive global tourism market, the Cayman Islands continues to raise the bar on customer service.

Last Friday (1 May), the Minister of Tourism, Hon. Charles E. Clifford, handed out certificates to 11 trainers who were certified under its customer service standards programme PRIDE (Personal Responsibility for Delivering Excellence).

The trainers, part of a corps of instructors who have been delivering the PRIDE Promises programme to employees throughout the industry, were trained by the Freeman Group, a Texas-based organisation who collaborated with the Department of Tourism (DoT) to develop the programme more than one and a half years ago. Since its inception, PRIDE has facilitated the training of more than 1500 tourism employees.

Presenting the certificates, the Minister said that the PRIDE programme is an important element in a competitive business.

"We must maintain consistently excellent customer service if we are to hold our own in the global tourism marketplace," he said. "Each day there are new and emerging destinations and customer service must be paramount if we are to increase our market share."

The Minister congratulated departmental employees and others who have worked to deliver the training throughout the tourism industry, and he pledged the Ministry's continued commitment.

DoT's Deputy Director (Tourism Product Development) Mrs. Sharon Banfield-Bovell explained that PRIDE also seeks to address concerns raised in customer service surveys that suggest that while Cayman's customer service standards are high, they are inconsistent from season to season.

"The fully certified facilitators were hand-selected from the public and private sector. This reinforces how important cooperation between government and private sector partners remains if we are to improve our visitors' Cayman experience," she said.

Noting that the DoT was seeking to use PRIDE to encourage people who work both inside and outside of tourism to deliver excellent customer service at all times, Mrs. Banfield-Bovell said the hope is for PRIDE to become a philosophy and a way of life throughout the Cayman Islands.

Project Manager for Cayman PRIDE, Darren Zucker noted that the programme's workshops focus on three different components - PRIDE Promises, Leading the Promises, and Foundations.

He said that PRIDE mixes behavioural training with exposure to cultural and environmental aspects of Caymanian life, both aspects designed to elevate customer service performance.

"PRIDE Promises is based on our "Top Ten (behavioural) Promises" which go into creating excellent customer service, and target front line staff as well as other employees. Many of the these Top Ten Promises are basic courtesies your mother taught you, including making eye contact, calling someone by name and saying thanks, as well as handling requests and responding to telephone calls correctly," he said.

Mr Zucker added that Leading the Promises targets supervisors, training them how to maintain high standards and creating the proper work environment for staff to deliver high quality service. He said that the Foundations programme is a two-day intensive workshop that teaches managers to become effective trainers. This enables them to properly teach their new and existing team members to deliver excellence.

For further information contact: Prudence Barnes