2nd Annual Customer Service Excellence Awards set for Next Week

Leading service providers, nationally, organisations and individuals are to be awarded for service excellence once again this year at the service excellence awards under the theme “Service Excellence for Sustained National Economic Growth.” The 2nd Service Excellence Awards for Malawi are scheduled for the Friday, 25th November 2016 at Sunbird Capital Hotel in Lilongwe in a red carpet dinner event to be held from 6.00pm-9.00pm and will be graced by the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

The Service Excellence Awards are organised and managed by Chartered Institute of Customer Management (CICM) which is a customer service professional board with presence in three continents and over 14 African countries. Similar awards are held annually in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia, Kenya, to mention but a few. This year in Malawi, CICM in collaboration with the Center for Development Management (CDM), our local partner, will be organising this blissful red carpet event to honour the kings and queens of the customer service and service delivery across 28 sectors based on random survey feedback from customers selected across the country.

There are growing calls for more focus on customer service across all sectors in Malawi. The 2016 Forrester Global research on customer service clearly point out that Service delivery and customer experience is now the key competitive battleground for all players globally. Customer service is one of the most important ingredient of the marketing mix. High quality customer service helps to create customer loyalty. Customers today are not only interested in the product they are being offered but all the additional elements of service that they receive from the greeting they receive when they enter a retail outlet, to the refund and help that they receive when they have a complaint about a faulty product that they have paid for.

Last year the event was graced by the Hon. Minister of Industry and Trade, Joseph Mwanamvekha who was represented by the Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Industry and Trade Mr Cliff Chiunda. Also at this event was Dr Ricky Harris who is the Chief Executive Officer for the Chartered Institute of Customer Management based in South Africa.

This year the same royalty is expected to grace this event, mainly the captains of industry and government officials who want to join hands with CICM in making customer service a priority. Customer service has been seen as a catalyst for economic and social growth not only in Malawi but in Africa and the world at large. “It is our hope that our local partner will forge more alliances with government not only in promoting good and prudent customer management practices but to also assist in developing the call centre industry which is vital for job creation and economic development,” said Harris last year when she was delivering her speech during the awards.

According to the Forrester research, globally in 2015, 66% of consumers switched brands or business due to poor customer service, a 4% increase on the previous year. Some 82% of those who switched said the brand could have done something to stop them. Excellent service deliveries is not a subject that is only advocated for in Africa  or Malawi as it is seen to be a global outcry so as to keep and safe guard customers and in turn organisations making profits and excelling at the end of the day.

According to New Voice Media, an estimated $41 billion is lost by leading companies alone each year due to poor customer service and also 60% of the consumers prefer a balance of price and service and will not accept low service levels in exchange for a lower priced product and this is according to UKCSI Customer Satisfaction Index.

In this respect, downplaying the importance of customer service and customer experience is no longer an option because just a single poor customer experience can easily break customer relationship and has a negative impact on brand reputation.

The awards is also helping to promote call centre industry development which is key in job creation in Africa.  It is no secret that lately many African countries have been struggling economically and in turn this has affected many individuals especially in respect of finding employment. The call centre industry has created over thousands of jobs globally. For example, in South Africa and Kenya, millions of dollars have been contributed to these economies annually and in Zimbabwe, according to the 2015 Call centre industry report done by Chartered Institute of Customer Management (CICM) we now have 38 call centres in Zimbabwe and over 3500 people working in call centres. This industry alone is poised to creating over 30 000 jobs in the next five years hence it is of paramount importance to be supporting call centres and client service delivery initiatives.

Hence, CICM and the local partner have seen the hosting of awards and honouring the captains of industry as a stepping stone to creating better call centres and in turn promoting good customer service delivery thus, creating employment in the process. According to Rinos Mautsa a customer service expert and CICM board member, the awards selection process is rigorous and it includes online voting through survey monkey involving 10 000 clients, a questionnaire is also distributed in major towns across Malawi, mystery shopping and local experts comprising of academics, auditors and researchers will then sit down to adjudicate the research results before announcement of the winners.

This year’s categories includes, Hospitality Sector which was won by Protea Hotels last year, Telecommunications which was won by TNM Limited last year, Banking sector which was won by Ecobank last year,  Local Authorities sector which was won by Blantyre City Council last year,  Health Insurance Sector which was won by Metropolitan Health last year,  Transport Sector – Road which was won by Premier Bus Company last year, Transport Sector – Air which was won by Malawian Airlines last year, Grocery Retail Sector which was won by Shoprite last year, Fast Food Sector which was won by Kips last year, Education Sector which was won by the University of Malawi last year, Funeral Assurance which was won by Smile Life last year , Security Sector which was won by Alpha last year, Automobile Sector (Vehicle Service, Sales, Assembling) which was won by CFAO Malawi last year, Postal And Courier Services Sector which was won by DHL last year, Service Stations Sector which was won by Puma Energy last year, Hospitals Sector which was won by Blantyre Adventist Hospital last year, Special Awards Presentation, Excellence In Corporate Social Responsibility which was won by Shayona Cement last year, Customer Focused Executive Of The Year – Public Sector which was won by Professor Address Malata – Kamuzu College of Nursing last year, Customer Focused Executive Of The Year – Private Sector which was won by Mr. Felix Mlusu – CEO – NICO Limited last year , Best Call Centre Sector which was won by TNM last year. ~END~