Published 29th April 2019, 2:37pm
Nearly 200 senior leaders
attended the ‘Role of Leadership in Creating a Service Culture’ conference at
the Family Life Centre on Tuesday, 8 April.
The Management Support
Unit (MSU) of the Portfolio of the Civil Service (POCS) hosted the event.
It featured international speaker Richard Solomon, Managing Director of the
Development Consulting Center Limited (Trinidad); Cayman Islands Government E-Services Director Ian Tibbetts; Strategic Advisor in the MSU Peter Gough, and
MSU Director Winston Sutherland.
The conference focused on
the importance of creating a signature service for customers. Mr. Solomon
explained what such a service looks and feels like:
“It is the continuous
delivery of a predetermined VIP-level customer experience across all platforms,
at all service points, and flashpoints to all customers,” he said. “To create it, the organisation has to live its best life on many fronts. The payoffs are
multi-level and powerful: better leadership, employee engagement, attitudes,
processes, products, customer experience, quality, efficiency, sales, and
Mr Gough opened the
conference by urging participants to listen to their customers. He used the
event itself as an illustration, saying, “We listened to your complaints and changed the venue to provide better parking.”
Mr Sutherland reminded
the audience that they have to be in tip-top shape to take care of the needs
and exceed the expectations of the customer. To bring his point home, he read
the pre-flight instructions that flight attendants give passengers, reminding attendees that, as leaders, they had to put on their oxygen mask first before
they can assist the staff or customers.
Deputy Governor Hon Franz
Manderson, who was recently invested with the Most Excellent Order of the
British Empire (MBE), reminded senior leaders that “customers are at the heart
of everything we do.” He followed with a resounding question, “Are we putting
the customer at the heart of everything we do?”
He also stressed that
being first class isn’t just meeting the needs of our customers. “We have to
anticipate what our customers need.”
Mr Solomon connected to
the audience right away by asking two “simple” questions: “What are the most
important needs of the customer,” and “How do you know these are their needs?”
Deputy Director of the
Needs Assessment Unit Matthew Hyton responded that clients may come to the NAU
to request assistance to pay for their rent and electricity but, in the end,
their real need is to become self-reliant.
Mr Solomon reminded the
senior leaders that customers are “the Empires over the Kingdom. You may say
the customer doesn’t understand, but it is not the customer’s job to understand.
It is our job to figure it out.”
Empower staff to make
He stressed the need to
empower staff to make quick decisions, citing an experience he had when
returning a faulty phone from Amazon. The person who answered his phone call
was able to refund his credit card for the defective phone and, in addition,
suggested that he return it to Apple as well.
“Where do you think I am
going to purchase a phone from again?” Mr Solomon asked the audience. “Amazon?
Mr Solomon ended with an
age-old question, “How can the Civil Service have compliance and speed
Department of Education
Services Education Psychologist Team Lead Denise Casserly said, “We often
forget the value of excellent customer service, particularly for our internal
customers. As leaders, we also must remember to hold our teams accountable for
this delivery of service. Our good relationships with team members must foster relationships which engender commitment to the value of customer satisfaction.”
Department of Education
Services Behaviour Support Services Manager Wayne Roberts said he found the
conference motivational and a great way to network with other teams within the
Civil Service that attendees wouldn’t usually meet:
“It confirmed for me that
the way we interact with customers, our managers, and staff has a significant
impact upon how successful we will be as an organisation. ”
The one-day conference
set the stage for four half-day workshops attended by 117 civil servants. These
explored the “Hows” of creating a signature service that connects the specific
needs of customers with the delivery of an exceptional customer experience: how
to effectively listen to customers, how to improve processes and systems,
and how to develop customer service standards.
conference built on the ongoing series of customer service workshops for front line staff that Mr Gough started last year as
part of the 5-Year Strategic Plan to transform the
Cayman Islands Civil Service to deliver world-class service. To date,
over 40 one-day workshops have been conducted and over 450 customer service ambassadors trained.
Featured photo: Richard Solomon,
Managing Director of the Development Consulting Center Limited (Trinidad)