Yukon funds service training

The Yukon government plans to improve customer service in the territory. Tourism Minister Mike Nixon announced $60,000 yesterday to subsidize workshops that will be delivered by the Yukon Tourism Education Council.

The Yukon government plans to improve customer service in the territory.

Tourism Minister Mike Nixon announced $60,000 yesterday to subsidize workshops that will be delivered by the Yukon Tourism Education Council.

“In order to continue to grow our tourism sector, we need to look at the complete visitor experience,” said Nixon. “By providing exceptional service to our clients, our guests, we help make their holiday experience memorable, while at the same time improving on the bottom line for Yukon businesses.”

The money will pay for 300 people to go through a 3.5-hour Welcome Yukon training program. It will also go towards “train the trainer” workshops, so that the program can be moved into the communities.

The service training workshops are not new, said Frank Curlew, chair of the council.

He has been with Westmark Hotels of Canada for 25 years, and went through his first training about 15 years ago, he said.

Now, most of the Westmark staff go through training with the tourism education council, and the results show in the customer comment cards and satisfaction surveys, he said.

The unsubsidized price of the workshop is $75, said Curlew. Under the new partnership, the government will pay $50 while the employer will cover the rest.

The workshops will begin this month and run through September 2014. However, if interest is high the program could be expanded, said Nixon.

“Quite frankly, if it fills up in two weeks, then we need to sit back down to the table and look at providing further funding for this program.”

The success of the program will be reviewed and, if it meets the needs of the business community, may continue, said Nixon.

Yukon businesses support the initiative, said Rick Karp, president of the Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce.

“We all know that Yukon in general needs to upgrade, shall we say, our service. This announcement is being well received, especially by the chamber, because there can’t be too much service and customer satisfaction training and development that goes on.”

The problem is that we don’t teach the values of customer service in schools in this part of the world, he said.

“When kids come out from school and get a job, they really don’t understand. They don’t know the basics. They don’t know how to give of one’s self to make someone else happy. We’re basically selfish.”

Other countries are getting it right, he said.

“There are a couple of local businesses, franchises, that several years ago had low ratings by their franchise in service and customer satisfaction. And then the nominee program was introduced and now these same franchises, instead of being in the bottom 10 per cent are in the top 10 per cent.

“Because the nominees coming from other countries have this ingrained in them. It’s just a different culture. And this is what we have to implement in our culture.”

Contact Jacqueline Ronson at

jronson@yukon-news.com