Zeroing in on the perfect performance

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 28 March, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 28 March, 1996, 12:00am

Hongkong Electric Company aims to reduce customer complaints to zero.

Managing director Ewan Yee hopes to achieve this goal within the next 'couple of years'.

He also hopes to see the need for technical maintenance reduced to zero and reach an accident level of zero.

The company has taken a giant step towards achieving the first goal.

It won a Chinese-language newspaper award concerning letters of complaint the first time it entered.

However, it has been unable to take part in subsequent years because it has lacked sufficient complaints to qualify.

Mr Yee scrutinises every letter of complaint.

'People in Hong Kong have become more vocal in recent years,' he said. 'Five years ago we, set up a customer services department to deal with complaints about interruption to supply and to assess attitudes to replacing supply: for example, by opening up the roads.' Mr Yee hopes that within two years the company will be receiving more complimentary letters than complaints.

Many may view this as an optimistic target given people's tendency to complain rather than offer praise.

However, Mr Yee is convinced the target can be achieved and points to recent statistics to bear him out. In 1995, complaints dropped to 40 from 70 the previous year and complimentary letters increased to 74 from only 30 the year before.

Mr Yee said that five years ago the company had an accident rate of three per cent per annum, with three out of every 100 staff involved in one accident a year.

However, three years ago, he had declared 'safety year' and the number now involved in accidents was down to 1.3 per cent.

'I want to get it below one per cent,' he said.

'And I am confident that with ISO certification and safety promotion we will get it below that particular level this year.

'Lamma Power Station recently went 189 days without an accident and a target of zero accidents, like zero maintenance, is achievable.

'We can eliminate accidents if people are prepared to invest, although a lot of education is also necessary.

'To ensure our contractors have a good safety record, we require them to have ISO 9000.

'ISO means the company must have a safety officer and it cannot cut corners.' Hongkong Electric Company is the first electricity supplier in Hong Kong to obtain ISO 9002 certification for its Electricity Meter Testing Service and Customer Installation Inspection Service.

The company was certified by the Hong Kong Quality Assurance Agency. It also received ISO 9002 certification for trench work in the Transmission and Distribution Division.