One of the behind the scenes happenings that you may not be aware of is the meeting between programming staff and our customer service representatives (CSRs) each time prior to the release of the leisure guide. While there is pretty constant communication between programming and front end staff every day, this summit is the platform to go over all programs and special events in the upcoming guide, in this case the winter leisure guide, to be released around the end of November. Being as we are open a pretty wide span of hours, we have to schedule the meeting for 6 a.m. to try and squeeze as much info and dialogue in before we have to open the front desk at 8 a.m. (I always tiptoe in, politely say good morning and scuttle off to my office as not to create a disturbance in the Force.)
The importance of our CSRs being well informed can’t be understated; they are our front line and their smiling faces are the first thing you see when you walk in the door. Typically they have a better idea on what is happening overall in the building than perhaps an individual department, and hopefully have most answers, or at least know how to get the answers, when a patron stops at the front. The small town advantage also plays a part as we may get to know you through your use of the facility as well as services, and sometimes can suggest a program or event that might pique your interest. Another advantage might be with a drop-in class where attendees are not documented and an instructor is suddenly sick or stuck at home, CSRs often remember who the regulars are and subsequently can do some last-minute phoning to save a trip to town for some folks.
There is a lot to know. For example, between general programming, aquatics and fitness, we had 176 programs offered this fall, which did not include any special events, child-minding services, birthday parties, public skating or swimming. You can see there is a lot to be aware of so if there is an error in a barcode or program location, CSRs are the first to hear about it and, depending on circumstances, are the first to have to solve it.
Customer service isn’t any different at any other business or restaurant; the customer service rep is usually the first point of contact, whether it is a waitress, dental receptionist, lumber store worker, gas station attendant or retail store clerk. They set the first impression, so having the knowledge to be able to answers questions or assist in some manner, in my opinion, is one of the main pillars of customer service. Which, if you Google pillars of customer service, you will find there are four or seven or 12 or six or five depending which website you visit. Suffice it to say, it is an important part of keeping a roof over the head of your business.
Neil Ostafichuk is the recreation supervisor at the Creston and District Community Complex.