Hong Kong's jewellery retail industry is restructuring its service standards to meet the changing needs of customers.
Chow Tai Fook, a jewellery maker, wholesaler and retailer for 79 years, has adopted a systematic service standard as a 'cross-border after-sales service' and it won the company the grand award in Customer Service at the Hong Kong Awards for Industries.
'I am delighted that our efforts in transforming customer service have been recognised,' Chow Tai Fook director Timothy Cheng Sek Hung said.
'We have set up a new department looking into new service strategies that move with the changing tastes of customers and market trends.'
The company's 'Passion in Service Campaign' aims to differentiate it from competitors by offering a tailored service. This can help build up loyalty.
A set of standard guidelines on 'welcoming customers', 'providing professional and unique service', 'providing after-sales and value-added service', 'managing payment producers' and 'handling complaints and phone calls', has been handed to frontline sales staff.
Mr Cheng said the guidelines were designed by the core management team and a consultant company which standardised workflow in customer service.
The judging panel, co-ordinated by the Hong Kong Retail Management Association (HKRMA), praised Chow Tai Fook's efforts in laying down a set of 'measurable criteria' to measure the quality of customer service.
HKRMA executive director Ruth Yu Lai-yiu said, 'The panel judges the companies on theoretical approach and their implementation. We are impressed by Chow Tai Fook's preference in setting standards in five key customer service areas, rather than using empty slogans.'
Frontline sales staff are trained to be 'jewellery fashion consultants'.
'Jewellery retailing goes beyond a mere transaction. It now has a lifestyle element and a salesperson needs to be more than being just good at selling or being polite,' Ms Yu said. She said Chow Tai Fook was a pioneer in introducing cross-border after-sales service which allowed it to outperform its competitors.
Chow Tai Fook has more than 700 retail outlets across Hong Kong, Macau, the mainland and Taiwan.
Mr Cheng said the company's strong network in the mainland allowed it to provide quality after-sales service to customers. 'We have retail outlets in every province in the mainland to provide after-sales service ... even in Tibet. This kind of convenience is a great attraction for mainland clients.'
The negative news about mainland visitors shopping in Hong Kong for jewellery and getting less than they bargained for did not affect Chow Tai Fook, Mr Cheng said.
'Our company has implemented a 'fixed price' policy for more than two decades, and we are not paying commission to tour guides. Therefore, the marked price is trustworthy.
'This is how our long history of credibility and honesty has built up,' Mr Cheng said.