The first rule of business is always customer service and a new program will help local business owners adapt their customer service practice to the pandemic’s new reality of increased online shopping.

“Many customers have changed their method of buying,” said Carole Muise, spokesperson for the Prescott-Russell Employment Services Centre (CESPR). “We are helping businesses adapt to this.”

The CESPR announced a new online workshop project to assist local businesses to better adapt themselves to the increasing preference of many people now for online shopping during the pandemic. The provincial government provided $49,202 in support funding for the project and CESPR has confirmed Professor Martin Savard, an internationally renowned expert in business affairs related to customer service and ecommerce, to lead the workshop.

The project involves offering four workshop sessions on e-commerce, each session being 12 hours long and spread over a two-day period. There are also four six-hour sessions on customer service as part of online business.

The c-commerce workshops are scheduled for January 6 and 13, February 24 and March 3, March 17 and 24, and April 14 and 21. The customer service workshops are scheduled for February 10 and 17, and March 10 and 31.

Business owners and their staff who take part in the online workshops do not have to attend all of the sessions. Each of the workshop sessions will cover the same points about e-commerce and customer service, so business owners can decide which session date best suits their own schedule.

The workshops are free but there is a limit of 25 participants for each of the scheduled sessions. Business owners are urged to register as soon as possible for one of the workshop sessions by going to the CESPR website at

The online workshop project has the support of the United Counties of Prescott-russell's economic development and tourism department, the Hawkesbury Chamber of Commerce, the Alliance des gens d'affaires de Prescott-Russell, Contak solutions de recrutement, and other agencies that represent local and regional business interest.