Smile at the customer

PUBLISHED : Monday, 10 November, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 10 November, 2003, 12:00am

I had some customers over recently. It was their first time in Asia.

First we went to the 'Canton fair' in Guangzhou where they were amazed at the possibilities in China.

They were also surprised by the friendliness and efficiency of the staff. Prices and delivery terms were quoted quickly and in a friendly way. If we wanted a catalogue, we got one. No one was pushy.

Then I took them to the fairs in Hong Kong - Hardware, Lighting and Asiana. It became evident that when we were in the booth of a mainland supplier we were treated in a friendly manner. When we were in a Hong Kong booth, staff were arrogant and rude and not very willing to give prices on the spot.

They would follow up by e-mail, they said, if we left a business card.

I recognised that attitude from real estate agents during past boom times. Considering that our industries are anything but booming, I would say to these exhibitors: smile, it is free and you may win over customers instead of scaring them away.

JEFFRY KUPERUS, Southern District