Workers learn importance of 'Aloha Spirit'

Theresa Koki
Theresa Koki
Beth Tokioka
Beth Tokioka

By Duane Shimogawa - bio | email

LIHUE (KHNL) - Great customer service is something most of us take for granted. But county leaders on the Garden Isle are making sure their employees are delivering it everyday.

It's all part of Mayor Bernard Carvalho's five initiatives he plans on focusing on while he's in office. Just recently, every county worker received training in customer service and now they're hoping this will translate into a more productive work environment for both employees and customers.

"Aloha, how may I help you?" County employee Theresa Koki asks.

She's Kauai's Anti-Drug coordinator. So she deals with many different personalities everyday. Customer service training for her was a no-brainer.

"I learned about being better at having the Aloha Spirit and also sometimes when things aren't going that great that you just gotta continue the Aloha because the person you encounter is not necessarily the reason why you're not having a great day, we owe it to our customers to have that Aloha Spirit," she said.

But she admits, it seemed a bit strange having to re-learn the "Aloha Spirit."

"How can you teach people Aloha? 'Cuz they should have it in their heart, especially living on this great island, but I think everyday you can learn something new, you can learn something new and there's always room for improvement," she said.

The Mayor's executive assistant Beth Tokioka is in charge of making this plan a success.

"We really wanted to help the employee themselves have better tools to deal with the difficult situations that they deal with every single day, it's not easy dealing with the public and we recognize that," she said. "It's a multi-step process which now we're asking the public to help us, we've got a survey card out on our counters and we're asking the public to fill that out and let us know what we're doing well, what we can improve on."

And so far, so good. In just a month, customers have returned 75 of these survey cards and Tokioka says the feedback has been positive.

"We're really hoping it will be a win-win, not only for those who come to access our services but for those on our side who are delivering it," she said.

Tokioka says it costs several thousand dollars a year to run this program. The bulk of the cost goes to training. They plan to continue the training to make sure employees never forget the importance of the Aloha Spirit.