Responding quickly to client needs
Teamwork and client-care are key elements in charting a successful career in executive serviced business centres, and Tinny Wong, general manager at Regus Central Plaza, excels in both.
Our office opens at 8.30am, so we have to make sure it is up to the Regus standards in terms of set-up and facilities, and ensure everything at the centre is consistent. We check all the common areas and get the staff ready for clients to walk in.
As a general manager, I spend 80 per cent of my time taking care of sales. Clients come to us for different reasons. They might be looking for an office, a virtual office or meeting room facilities and we tailor all these packages according to their requirements.
On the operations side, we keep in touch with clients so they can tell us what they need in order to help run their businesses in our centres.
This industry is growing very quickly. When I joined the company 2 1/2 years ago, there were 750 centres globally.
Now there are more than 1,000. So there's great demand. How we deal with that demand and how we respond to clients' requests has to be very fast or they will go somewhere else.
Our clients are dynamic. They might be from Southeast Asia or Europe or, indeed, anywhere; if they find our solution is good for them, they will come to us.
They have different backgrounds and come from different industries, so we have to talk with them a great deal and understand what they need. To us, every client is unique.
We always have to be professional and act as consultants, even if, as general manager, we are looking after sales activities. When clients come in, we don't rush to show them what facilities we have or solutions we can offer. We sit down for 30 minutes to understand their requirements and then provide them with solutions - that's exciting. After understanding their needs, we have to think quickly about what services we can offer to meet or surpass their expectations.
The biggest event in my career took place last year. I was promoted from operations manager to general manager and, at the same time, relocated from Hong Kong to the mainland. It was very good for me. I'd never worked in Guangzhou before. The business environment there is quite different to Hong Kong but I was lucky as the team and management were very supportive. And I had gone through good training.
That year, I learned a lot about the China market and how people do business there. When I moved back to Hong Kong, when clients came to the centre and asked about setting up a business in China, I was able to give them answers straight away. They were impressed. I studied hotel management in Britain and have always worked in customer services, first starting with hospitality, then the travel industry and telecommunications. I do enjoy working with people and teamwork.
It's an advantage to have a certain level of educational background. But what is more important is your personality. You must enjoy working with people and working in a team. You need a service mentality, too. And there's exposure to different kinds of clients, so experience of exposure to different nationalities and cultures is a definite advantage. Finally, English is very important for communications.
Working for a business centre is similar to a hotel as you see people from different backgrounds. However, in a service centre the clients stay for a long time and we have more opportunities to speak to them, get to know more about what they are doing in Hong Kong and also in their own country.