WOU aims for customer service excellence

(23-24 March 2016)

Twenty-three frontline employees of Wawasan Open University attended the inaugural hands-on customer service workshop held at the main campus.

The two-day workshop on “Prospecting Customers Through Excellent Customer Service” was organised by WOU’s human resources training unit, headed by Trinnie Triveny Chandran, and similar ones are planned in Kuala Lumpur and Johor in August.

The training session in progress.

The training session in progress.

Among the objectives are to encourage staff to think out of the box, enhance their communication skills, and to improve customer understanding so that they can provide the best help possible.

In opening the workshop, Deputy Vice Chancellor Dr Seah Soo Aun said that staff training and development are key features for a growing organisation like WOU and so these will be their focus for the next few years.

 “Customer service excellence is part of the university’s branding. Branding is not about marketing and advertisement but about providing a holistic experience to the customers,” he clarified. He also called for customer empathy and to see things from the customers’ perspective as “this will allow them to manage customers better”.

Dr Seah urged the WOU staff to “work as a team” and to share what they learn with their colleagues besides putting the knowledge into practice. 

Catherine Lourdes conducts the training.

Catherine Lourdes conducts the training.

Meanwhile trainer Catherine Lourdes elaborated on six modules during the workshop - introduction to customer service; prospecting sales successfully; building rapport with the customer; understanding the importance of closing your sales; service breakdowns and recovery; and ‘working as a team’.


She spoke on developing a customer-centric mindset and to focus on serving the customers. She pointed out that to prospect sales successfully, one has to build a customers profile and use this data to influence or draw their interest to a product.

On the topic of building rapport with the customer, Lourdes mentioned the importance of establishing trust and of simple gestures like handshakes, using names, sincerity and friendliness, affirmation and creating small talk to generate common grounds.

Role play on how to manage customers.

Role play on how to manage customers.

She said staff should be able to recognise an opportunity, create a perfect offering, develop customer loyalty, identify buying signals with closing questions, and use the ‘closing strategy’ of repeating things for the purpose of closing sales.

Lourdes, a certified customer service trainer, holds a qualification in Training and Development from the University of Leicester, United Kingdom.  She has 12 years of experience and has accumulated various certifications to further enhance her skills.

The workshop was attended by 14 regional office staff from Ipoh, Johor Bahru, Kota Bharu, Kuching and Penang including Penang Regional Office director K Manoharan and assistant manager Teh Kim Kow, and the rest were from General Services and Administration, and Marketing.

Part of the participants at the workshop.

Part of the participants at the workshop.