Grand recognition for caring company

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 19 January, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 19 January, 2010, 12:00am

A safe and reliable gas supply, together with friendly service delivered by frontline staff, is the motto of Hong Kong and China Gas (Towngas) - the grand award winner for Customer Service.

According to Peter Wong Lam-sang, general manager for customer service, Towngas provides a one-stop service solution to its customers - from the production of gas to installation of appliances to maintenance. 'We anticipate and strive to exceed the expectations of our customers whose requirements for quality services are becoming increasingly demanding.

'Customer service is of vital importance to us because there is fierce competition in the market. We believe high-quality service is instrumental in building customer loyalty,' Wong says.

Towngas upholds its service pledge, which covers a broad range of areas, including answering calls to its Customer Service Hotline within four rings, Wong says. The key performance indicators integrated in the service pledge are used to measure the quality of the company's customer service.

'We conduct monthly customer service satisfaction surveys on all major aspects and engage consultants to work on more extensive studies regularly,' he says. 'We also have Customer Focus Teams which organise safety talks for residents of large housing projects and collect their feedback and suggestions.'

Regular internal meetings are held to discuss the feedback and suggestions from customers and develop ways to tackle areas which have room for improvement.

Towngas provides round-the-clock, person-to-person customer service and enquiry hotline seven days a week. To properly handle the emergency calls placed by Filipino or Indonesian domestic helpers, the hotline service include native-speakers of Tagalog and Indonesian. In addition, the hotline's staff members are trained to communicate in English, Cantonese and Putonghua effectively.

'We promote the concept 'You Can Hear Our Smile' among the service hotline staff to ensure that they sound cheerful when answering the calls. Most calls to the hotline are requests for maintenance services or complaints. A positive attitude over the phone will help to calm the callers down and facilitate effective communication.'

Under its six-star service commitment to individual households, Towngas offers seven time slots on weekdays and weekends for residential maintenance and installation appointments. Upon request, these services can be provided within the same day when the orders are placed or within 24 hours, even on weekends.

Towngas also provides services tailored to the needs of various businesses and residential projects. The company has separate contract maintenance teams to provide round-the-clock emergency maintenance services for such organisations as hotels, restaurants and hospitals, Wong says. 'Regular safety inspection is carried out in residential blocks with gas supply every 18 months.'

Staff competence is essential in building customer confidence. All maintenance and installation technicians of Towngas are licensed by the government, Wong says.

The high-quality customer service of Towngas is built on its holistic approach to frontline staff training. For instance, assistants at its customer centres are equipped with updated and sound product and technical knowledge so that they are not only able to help customers with selection of products meeting their exact requirements, they can also help them arrange specific maintenance services.

Maintenance staff regularly attend courses which help them cultivate a friendly, customer-focused attitude. 'We have integrated the concept 'Service from The Heart' into all customer-oriented services which emphasise sincerity and friendliness. One of the objectives of the training programme is that our frontline staff will look after the needs of customers and help them find solutions in a caring manner, similar to the way they treat their family. Sincerity can be conveyed in simple body language, such as frequent eye contact.'

This caring attitude is also reflected in the additional services provided free of charge. Maintenance personnel visiting households of the elderly or disabled will volunteer to help them test their personal safety alarms for free, Wong says.

'It is part of our company's Corporate Social Responsibility programme.

'We feel honoured to win this award because the quality of our customer service is recognised by the community. Our staff are encouraged and become more motivated to continue upgrading their services.'