By Sylvia Gonzalez
ODESSA - The term "Odessa Friendly" is well known throughout the area but lately it seems that the level of customer service at some businesses is tarnishing that tradition. That's why local organizations are putting together a course to teach employees how to be a little more courteous to customers.
"We want everybody to realize Odessa is Odessa Friendly," Linda Sweatt, Director of the Odessa Convention & Visitors Bureau, said.
One way to maintain Odessa Friendly is to provide a customer service training program. This is joint effort between Odessa College, the Odessa Chamber of Commerce and the Permian Basin Workforce Development. The course of "Hospitality and Customer Service the Odessa Friendly Way" was first introduced back in 1994. After years of not offering the course, Sweatt tells NewsWest 9 why now is the right time to bring this course back.
"There's so many changes going on. People are losing their employees, new employees are coming in, so there is that constant change of employees so you want to provide the best service you can," Sweat said.
She says people have approached her with a lack of customer service in the area and she says this course will teach all types of customer service such as how to speak on the phone with customers and how interact with them. A course she knows will benefit the businesses of owners who send their employees.
"It's one that the businesses are gonna benefit from because once you have good customer service in your business you're going to bring back more customers. So it's a very big plus for that business to send employees to classes," Sweatt said.
The Barn Door Steakhouse is one local business that will be sending their employees to this course because they want to remain Odessa Friendly.
"Right now with as many extra people that we have coming into our community, we need to do everything that we can possibly think of to make sure that our customers are treated greatly to make sure they come back to our restaurant," Roy Gillean, Owner of The Barn Door Steakhouse, said.
Gillean will be sending all the front staff and managers to the course. He says they do stress customers service at all times and he says if his employees are happy, customers will be too.
"The bottom line is it's going to give us a more friendly employee that's going to take care of those customers and make those customers want to come back into our restaurant," Gillean said.