Success comes from the heart, say retail staff

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 21 November, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 21 November, 2007, 12:00am

Listening to customers is the key to success, according to junior frontline winners at this year's Hong Kong Retail Management Association Service & Courtesy Award. In addition to offering quality service, frontline staff must strive to understand their customers.

Gigi Yu Pui-chi, a senior cashier at Pizza Hut, who won an award in the fast food and restaurant category, said she aimed to develop a good relationship between herself and the diners. Her job has taught her to see things from the customer's perspective.

'Having worked for Pizza Hut for four years, I believe that the most important things I've learned from my company are to perform well under pressure and to form a good connection with the customer,' she said.

'I always try to break down that conventional barrier between employee and customer and aim for a friendly relationship.'

According to another winner, retailers can build on customer satisfaction and this will improve service. 'I believe that the road to success in this industry is the ability to be natural in order to better connect with the customer,' said Watson's pharmacist Tammi Poon Shuk-mei, who won an award in the supermarket and convenience store category.

'We have been preparing for this competition for quite a while and this win proves that none of that hard work has gone to waste,' she said. 'My greatest reward comes from grateful customers who return to thank me for my services. The other week, a new mother, who had asked my advice, came back to thank me for her successful pregnancy and childbirth. That's the kind of reward that makes my work worth it.'

As the retail industry becomes more competitive, many frontline staff believe it is important to stay positive. Despite the increasing emphasis on customer service, it is down to individuals to turn theory into practice. With two winners from the department stores and high fashion category - Draco Lo Wing-hay, sales associate at Lane Crawford, and Emma Tsang Ying-tung, at fashion outlet Dunhill - it shows this sector requires frontline staff to have a high standard of customer service skills. Senior sales representative Ms Tsang said she aimed to achieve a high standard of service, but the biggest challenge was staying positive.

'One of the most important things to remember is that we must maintain a positive and earnest attitude at work, regardless of what may be going on in our personal lives,' she said. 'In my experience, optimism goes a long way ... where a smile can make all the difference.'

Mr Lo said the award was a recognition of his work. 'I've worked in the fashion industry for six years, I think my experience ... has pushed me to do better. Good service is just like the slogan of this year's award. You have to do it 'from the heart'.