The course is presented by the Cook Islands Tertiary Training Institute (CITTI) at its campus in Ngatangiia.
Tutors Taa Pera and Rose Ringiia Akava will deliver the programme, concentrating on the information, interaction and engagement approach, and practising the technique.
“Customer service is so important, it is supposed to be fun and engaging; it’s not fun when the customer is not satisfied with the service,” says Pera.
“We can only teach, it’s important that the employers, managers or supervisors also come on board to implement it. They have to enforce and continually reinforce it.”
Students also evaluate the class, a good 30 per cent of the participants believe their managers should also attend the lessons. Pera says customer service on the island has improved over the years, but feels the pace needs to be stepped up more.
Aitutaki is far more advanced in customer service delivery than Rarotonga, says Pera.
The people in the hospitality industry in Aitutaki “have that uniqueness and simplicity, their own personalities shine through.”
“They know customer service in their own unique way.
“Each island has its own individuality, they keep it simple, let their own culture and character come through.” Pera and Akava will conduct these classes in Aitutaki on April 2-4 and Mangaia from April 9-11. In May they will visit the islands of Atiu and Mauke. The course has run for the past three years, the core values are: Kia Orana (may we live long and fulfilling lives), Meitaki (here everything is good and well), and Mana Tiaki (we are proud guardians of these islands). The Kia Orana service involves: active listening; telephone skills and techniques “learning not to say ‘No’ or ‘I don’t know’; listening to understand the different situations - we listen, we see, we do; effective communication; using Kia Orana values in practical situations; responding appropriately in customer service situations; and understanding and knowing how to handle a complaint.
The free one-day course is also promoted by Cook Islands Tourism. Government agencies and businesses are encouraged to send along their employees. Contact Pera or Akava on ph 21471 or visit the CITTI Facebook page to find out more.