Interactions between customers and business owners have been ongoing since the world began and trading became a means of livelihood. However, the history of customer service can be traced to the invention of the telephone in 1876.
In West Africa, traditional customer service experiences involved unintentional activities in markets, stalls, offices, and so on; the degree of excellence associated with it varied from one institution or individual to another. However, it was not until the early 2000s that formalized customer service became a common and strategic profession, specifically when mobile phones trooped into the market and telecommunication moguls established their market dominance. The novel memories of calling customer care numbers and waiting for a cordial voice to answer still lingers in our minds till this day.
A popular belief at the time was that customer service professionals were primarily needed by telecommunications companies, but we all thought wrong.
According to Wikipedia, the provision of service to customers before, during, and after a purchase has proven to have serious impacts on all businesses and how they grow. The perception of such interactions is dependent on the customer service professional. Bad customer service can have adverse and longtime effects on the sales and overall performance of a company. Consequently, it is pertinent for businesses to have exceptional customer service that rivals that of their competitors, meets the demands of their customers, and also advances with the changing tides of technology. All these have become formal knowledge that is being implemented by any client-facing entity in West Africa, irrespective of its size.
The West Africa Association of Customer Service Professionals (WAACSP, as we love to be called) saw the need for the recognition and professional outlook of customer service professionals in the sub-region. Just as accountants have ICAN and HR Professionals have CIPM, customer professionals needed to have a professional body that ensures they are recognised and held in high esteem and regard. WAACSP believes in the revolutionary ability of customer service in improving businesses and the world economy at large. We stand as an umbrella body representing customer service professionals in West Africa. We intend to champion effective service delivery in West Africa and believe we can achieve this in conjunction with our country partners with constant and consistent training; certifying organizations, resource persons, and professionals as well as providing quality support services to West Africa’s business community.
The future of customer service in Africa and the world is a dynamic one filled with continuous changes as technology advances. Regardless, at WAACSP with 7+ member countries, 9 locations, 42 facilitators, and over 500 members, we look into the future and we see a community of next-generation customer service professionals who are dedicated and passionate to impact societies and develop new technologies that will usher in the new age of customer service in West Africa. We are capable of facilitating this vision and making it a reality; our vision embodies part of the future we see in the customer service profession and our mission is the blueprint that will take us there.
BY Olaoluwapo Babalola