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Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Sagicor Bank Limited, Chorvelle Johnson-Cunningham, is calling on businesses to use the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic as a catalyst for improving how their customers are served.

“COVID is our practice area. (We need to) use COVID to see how we can do things differently. During COVID, did we operate as chameleons? Did we pivot quickly enough? How many of our businesses pivoted? How many of us just lay down and died and the service was still needed? Did we find new ways to serve our clients?” she queried.

Mrs. Johnson-Cunningham was addressing the virtual staging of the Jamaica Customer Service Association (JaCSA)/Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) Excellence in Service Awards ceremony, held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, in New Kingston, on Thursday (October 8), where she was the guest speaker.

Over 140 nominations were received in the categories of micro/individual business, small company, public sector organisation, and large company.

The Jamaica Information Service (JIS) finished among the top three nominees in the public sector category, with the National Health Fund (NHF) emerging the winner. The other finalist was the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA).

Mrs. Johnson-Cunningham said that despite COVID, “we still have to do things in a manner that will invite people in,” questioning the approach businesses have utilised in maintaining the COVID-19 infection prevention and control protocols, where entities have placed signs at the entrance of establishments informing persons that they will be barred from entry without a mask.

“Is that the best way to do it? Could we have said, ‘you don’t have a mask, here is one for you’? Because it can happen that you run out of somewhere and forget your mask…So instead of running the persons out of your business, have an extra mask to give them and say ‘this is from us to you’ – (that) makes a huge difference,” she said.

The CEO argued that customer experience is supposed to be about fun, commitment and dedication, noting that business operators ought to “love the people you serve and you must be real with them. If you’re real with the people, you’ll talk their language…you’ll understand their pain.”

She also advised business operators to evaluate their level of service to determine how they can change, and what else they can do to serve their clients better.

“Sometimes it is just the smile and the understanding that people are asking for and the rest will automatically fall in line,” she said.

Mrs. Johnson Cunningham also told business owners to believe in their brand, work as a team, and be service champions.

The annual JaCSA/PSOJ Excellence in Service Awards programme is designed to recognise companies, small business operators, and entrepreneurs who have been consistently delivering excellent customer service.

This year’s staging is significant as it sought to award those business operators who are delivering innovate products and services in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nominees were assessed based on how they have employed new and creative ways of serving customers; level of cleanliness and safety protocols; timely, clear and concise communication in its public relations activities, among other things.

The JaCSA/PSOJ Excellence in Service Awards is part of activities to observe National Customer Service Week 2020 from October 4 to 9 under the theme: ‘Customer Service a Fi Wi Business, Big and Small Serving All’.

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