By Omar Bah
The country’s leading GSM operator Africell, on Friday certified 69 of its Customer Care staff who underwent an intensive three-week in-house training programme at Africell HQ.
The recipients were trained on English Proficiency, Customer Relations, Communication Skills, Formal Reporting among others and Africell Values.
The staff who comprise of assistant managers, supervisors and Customer Care agents, were drawn from Africell Customer Care centres in and around the Greater Banjul Area and beyond.
Speaking at the ceremony, a former Speaker of the National Assembly, Mrs. Elizabeth Renner, said the most honourable and rewarding deed one can embark on is self-development.
Mrs. Renner said the three weeks of intensive in-house service-training programme for the 69 Africell Customer Care agents was geared towards availing them the opportunity to personally develop themselves.
This opportunity, she said, materialised from the general thought of the CEO who acknowledges the fact that to run a company one needs people, “and to run a company effectively you need efficient staff”.
“However, it is not always that someone can afford to achieve this profitable commodity, even though it will be his or her utmost desire,” she said.
She added: “Therefore, when the opportunity is offered, especially free of charge, it is important to grab it with both hands and make good use of it.”
Mrs. Renner said it is only the unwise who would turn a blind eye to such an offer, “and only a benefactor who really cares for the welfare of others who would make the offer in the first place.”
She thanked the Africell Chief Executive Officer Alhaji Alieu Badara Mbye for his brilliant idea to ensure all of his staff achieve professionalism in dealing with their customers, and also in the same process up-grade their proficiency in English language.
“He is a CEO who realises that there is no better way to maintain efficiency than to ensure that his staff are encouraged and given all possible opportunity to develop themselves,” she said.
The opportunity, she said will not only serve the Customer Care agents as Africell staff, “but it would be an asset to them in their personal lives, no matter what they decide to embark on in the near future.”
“So, the few weeks intensive training was meant for this purpose,” she said.
“At the end of the three weeks, a formal writing test was also conducted, consisting of multiple-choice questions with options to further dilate on answers in writing.
Rules governing Africell and the general Customer Care rules were discussed covering such areas as Conduct, Discipline, Diligence, Service Orientation, Comportment and Business et cetera,” she explained.
Also discussed in-depth was English Language in Communication, covering, understanding people and conducting effective and meaningful communication with clients.
“Acceptable language in direct communication, the use of telephone in communication, accurate reporting, oral and written reports, comprehension of available customer care products and services, their manuals, among others, were also discussed,” she said.
She said the course over the three-week period was linked with participants serving as customer care staff.
“The continuous assessment and final test therefore, were designed not to fail participants, but to help them refresh their memories of what they are supposed to have known before and what they have learnt during the course,” she alluded.
She said out of the 71-targeted participants, 69 actually attended the course. “All 69 obtained certificates of attendance, 30 participants out of the 69 scored 50% and over and therefore obtained certificate of merit and 13 other others obtained certificates of merit with distinction.
In conclusion, Mrs. Renner congratulated all the participants and called for their vigilance.
She also called on the Customer Care agents to remember that with education, the sky is the limit. “No one including myself, is ever too old to learn,” she exhorted.
The Africell Chief Executive Officer, Alhaji Alieu Badara Mbye said the three week training was just the beginning of many more opportunities to come in the future.
“Now we are trying to do this in-house, there will be other development trainings. Not only because we want efficient Africell staff, but this is also meant to help our staff to develop themselves,” he said.
He called on the staff to keep on seeking knowledge, saying Africell as the leading GSM operator in the country, is not only interested in making profit, “but also contributing to national development.”
“I encourage you to continue working for Africell as well as continuing to seek for knowledge, because you are never too old or too intelligent to learn. If you need any training or you want to go to school we will be more than willing to help you,” he said.
He added: “Not only because you are Africell staff, but we want to prepare you so much so that even if you leave Africell you would be able to work anywhere.”