Staffs of the United Methodist University Business Department held a two-day retreat in Ganta, Nimba County, with the goal of brainstorming on best business practices that seek to provide good customer service in the University’s Business Department.
The retreat was designed to build the business office staff capacities by broadening their knowledge in some of the best business practices when dealing with customers, which include mainly students.
The retreat looked at some characteristics of customer service, some rules governing good customer service and ways of delivering good service to motivate customers.
An investigation has shown that customer service is a serious challenge in the business sector in Liberia. Many people making business do not talk to customers in an encouraging way to persuade them to buy or hire their services. In institutions such UMU, registrars, and finance officers have been noted to be very hostile in their approaches, thereby causing people with low tolerance for such behavior to go away from the institution.
The retreat also looked at some best business ethics, time management and work planning, among others.
Under the topic, “characteristics of good customer service”, facilitators outlined some factors that encouraged customers, including promptness, politeness, professionalism, and personalization.
Mr. Edmund Ford, one of the facilitators, explained that most business offices have contact numbers attached to their addresses, but they hardly answer or respond to calls, something he said is bad and urged those running businesses to desist from doing.
In his welcoming statement, the Dean of the College of Health Sciences Mr. Clinton Zeatoe described the business office as the “blood” of the noble university.
He said as the blood plays a major role in the body in terms of carrying nutrients to every part of the body, so does the business office.
“We as administrators sit somewhere and make a plan and want to see action taking place immediately, and we want to see new campuses or new facilities, and if you in business or finance office cannot give us what we need, it will be difficult,” he said.
“The President of the university serves as a brain and you serve as blood to get the university running,” he added.
The retreat brought together some senior staff of the university, including the Vice President Dr. Isaac Chukpue Padmore, the Chief Finance Officer Dennis V. Smith, and the Internal Auditor, Edmund Ford, among other senior staff of the Business Department.
This retreat is UMU’s second annual business retreat since its founding. The first annual retreat was held in the port city of Buchanan in 2019 according to the Chief Finance Officer and facilitator at the retreat, Dennis V. Smith.