Tourism Minister Rodney Sikumba says there is need to make service excellence as part of national agenda.
Mr Sikumba noted that most organizations including both from the private and public sectors need to up their game with regard to service excellence.
He said government is resolved that service excellence in Zambia should be a national agenda since this is exactly where business revolves and evolves.
Mr Sikumba was speaking in Livingstone on Thursday when he opened the 9th Annual Customer Experience Conference running under the theme “CX in the Digital Era” organized by the Chartered Institute of Customer Management (CICM).
As government, we take these issues seriously. As a country, our Tourism establishments are in charge of our Customer Experience. They are the interface between our customers – the tourists – and the country. We need to start offering digitized positive experiences for our tourists so that they not only continue coming but also bring their friends,” Mr Sikumba said.
He reiterated that Customer Experience is key to business success.
“Some of our neighbouring countries have mastered this, that’s why they can successfully market the Victoria Falls from miles away. Imagine the economic activity being brought directly through tourism to these countries. They benefit from a product that is primarily ours. We need to step up our game and ensure we offer the right experience to our customers so that they come directly here and spend with us,” he stated.
He added, “While this digital advancement has brought about great opportunities, it’s also made things inherently more complex on the business side, as well as raised customer expectations. So, in order to thrive in today’s digital environment, businesses must both understand the details of the digital customer experience and see how they can adopt the right technology to meet this challenge.”
Mr. SIkumba observed that digitally powered Customer Experiences emerge as not only a key differentiator between companies but are also fast becoming an invaluable tool to capture new markets and new customers.
And the Chartered Institute of Customer Management (CICM) Executive Director Dominic Manhundu said there is a need to inculcate a spurt of service excellence in the tourism sector.
“As a minister of Tourism, I hope you can agree with me that we do not only want to market Zambia as the world’s number one destination of choice but we also want to live up to the expectation by providing our visitors and tourists with the best experience,” Mr. Manhundu said.
“Honourable minister sir, we have companies and countries who are a few thousand kilometres from the Victoria Falls who are marketing the seventh wonder of the world as theirs. Tourists visit these countries and they fly them here daily for a week but they are spending in these countries not here. What Zambia gets is $10 entry fees and other negligible levies and taxes on tourism activities but the bulk of the money is retained in the domicile countries. They have marketed just like we do but they are beating us on the experience front sir. Its high time as a nation we look at service excellence and Experience carefully and work collectively towards improvement,” he said.
Mr. Manhundu said CICM is working on transforming the Institute into an Act of Parliament to regulate the practice of customer service in Zambia.
Just specific that country is South Africa. Yes they do market Victoria Falls as part of their selling points displaying a picture that The victoria falls is just next to Table Mountain. Also yes i have seen many of such adds and to some extent Some tourists go back home knowing that Vic Falls is in South Africa. If they do advertise it as non South African, they advertise solely as being in Zimbabwe,and again, these tourists go back knowing Vic Falls is in Zimbabwe. There hasnt been a convincing package or Zambia is yet to claim what is here, besides that the Vic Falls is very rich from the Zambian side(Its source-Zambezi river, Kololo people,David Livingstone, Mosi-Oa-Tunya,Knife Bridge, Devils pool, Boiling) all this purely being Zambian. So you can imagine just one good ad can do, it…
….It will wipe all these pretenders and fakers completely out of the true picture of Vic falls. This is all our money, they should be collecting cents and not us the legimate owners. Having the best view to the falls doesnt give you any single right to own it. You are simply that – a viewer. Infact you too a simply a mere tourist cos you can only view it but not touch it.
You will find that most of these guys who attended this event including Chartered Institute of Customer Management (CICM) organisers all live in Lusaka but all travelled to Livingstone to play around and read hollow speeches. You talk of service excellence yet there is no consumer watchdog to keep businesses in line …
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