Haiti, CDB strengthening customer service delivery in tourism sector

The Government of Haiti plans to develop its tourism sector and, in this regard, is seeking to address the demand for training and technical assistance to improve service delivery capacity and operations within the hospitality sector.

To support this thrust, the Caribbean Development Bank’s Caribbean Technological Consultancy Services (CTCS) Network, through several workshops and training attachments, has provided training to 40 Haitian nationals in Customer Service Delivery, Front Desk Operations, Food and Beverage Management and Housekeeping.

As part of efforts to sustain ongoing training in Haiti, from October 27 to November 7, six Haitian nationals selected by the Association Touristique D’Haiti (ATH) participated in a two-week Train-the-Trainer Workshop/Training Attachment in Barbados at The Crane Resort.

The workshop’s aim was to develop a cadre of trained Haitian trainers to deliver training in the areas of Front Desk Operations (FDO), Food and Beverage Management (FBM) and Housekeeping (HK).   Two persons in each area of training were exposed to modern practices of hospitality services, as well as techniques to provide effective on the job training to workers in the sector. 

Subsequent to the training, CTCS, in collaboration with ATH, will contract the persons trained to provide training to existing and potential hotel employees in Haiti.  That training will be done over a two-year period and will benefit approximately 1,500 persons (60 per cent females and 40 per cent males).  During the two weeks subjects covered included:  case studies, guidelines, tips and activities related to FDO, FBM and HK to aid the trainees’ understanding of the skills needed to become successful trainers. 

The training covered a wide range of topics and covered areas such as: the purpose and benefits of training to the trainee, the organisation and the customer; cost of training/cost of not training; and measuring training.

The six participants were sensitised and exposed to operational aspects of FDO, FBM and HK and they also participated in activities and interacted with employees in areas including: training: telephone courtesy; processing of reservation confirmations; occupational health and safety; water and energy conservation practices in guest rooms and laundry area; and the relationship between front desk department and HK department among other relevant subject areas.

In a second workshop held November 12 to 16 this year CTCS, conducted a Train-the-Trainer Workshop on the topic: “Enhancing CS Delivery for MSMEs in Haiti” for a group of 15 Haitian nationals.  The workshop was conducted in collaboration with the Société Financière Haïtienne de Développement S.A. (SOFIHDES), CTCS’ main Cooperating Institution (CI) and one of the foremost development banks in Haiti.

CTCS’ experience has shown that some MSMEs, including hotels, operate without a structured approach to customer service and this has resulted in them not putting into practice various fundamental controls required for the consistent delivery and quality of excellent customer service. This affects customer satisfaction, the level of repeat business, the capacity to attract new business based on reputation and, ultimately, the sustainability of the business.

The workshop was facilitated by a Haitian national, Ms. Giliane Joubert, Small Business Consultant, who used a CTCS Participants’ Manual and Instructors’ Guide translated into French. The manual which was developed by a group of specialists from the region, covered topics including: Service delivery versus customer service; Developing a customer promise; Building a service culture for MSMEs; Building a service delivery strategy; Customer retention strategies; Methods of measuring service levels; Obtaining effective customer feedback; Staff development towards a service culture and, Development of a customer service action plan.

Workshop organisers are aiming to host follow on workshop over the next four months. “We plan to host, along with SOFIHDES and ATH six follow-on workshops, one in each of the six most developed departments  in Haiti, and targeted at various MSMEs, especially within the hospitability sector, inclusive of hotels,” said Mr. Michel Thomas, CDB’s CTCS Operations Officer.

He added that: “These follow-on workshops, which are expected to benefit some 120 persons (70 females and 50 males), will be facilitated by the persons who have successfully completed the Train-the-Trainer Workshops and have demonstrated the capacity to function as customer service trainers.”

This workshop is consistent with Caribbean Development Bank’s strategic objective of supporting inclusive growth and sustainable development and its corporate priority of promoting private sector development in Haiti.

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