Setting new standards of customer service excellence
If two words sum up what Buston Chu Yat-chiu has learnt in his 20-year career with Hong Kong’s top car distributor, they must be “service matters”.
And the general manager of Dah Chong Hong (Motor Service Centre) knows that one thing – appreciation - will help propel Hong Kong to the next level of service excellence and efficiency.
“Who doesn’t want to be praised?” asks Chu, who also chairs the Hong Kong Association for Customer Service Excellence (HKACE). “But to praise someone, you need to be specific.”
Under his leadership, Hong Kong therefore marked its first service appreciation day on November 28th last year as part of HKACE’s two-year campaign to cultivate a culture where people express appreciation and give due recognition.
More than 30 companies, including founder members Cathay Pacific, CLP Holdings and PCCW have already pledged their support for the campaign
“Service is one of Hong Kong’s core values and is a never-ending pursuit,” says Chu.” “In the past Hong Kong focused on frontline delivery, and we are pretty well trained in terms of our skill sets and mindsets. But to excel, the most important thing is to convince top management that customer service really matters.”
By offering sharing sessions and seminars, learning tours and awards for competition winners, Chu hopes that Hong Kong companies of every size will benefit by learning from each other’s service experience.
He notes too that an “appreciation culture” is needed at a time when local service industries face increasing challenges. These are caused by rising operating costs, a shortage of skilled manpower, the high turnover of frontline staff, and the growing prevalence of a “complaint culture” among some sections of the community.
“Certainly, we need to give customers channels to complain if they are not happy,” Chu says. “But it is equally important to give positive feedback to customer service providers.”
The last decade has seen all aspects of customer service gaining in prominence around the world though Chu notes that, until recently, the subject received scant attention in business and marketing courses offered in Hong Kong.