ARE SMILING customers an endangered species in Hong Kong? A former colleague of Teresa Ko Mei-sze insisted they were, but the UPS Parcel Delivery Service major account manager has made it her business to prove the view wrong. Hongkongers were under huge pressure at work and lived in the 'busiest city on the planet' but still came up smiling when others shared their difficulties, said Ms Ko, who is one of three DSA award winners from UPS. 'Sometimes I pretend [I am] a psychologist in the logistics field. Patience, promise and understanding are my magic medicine to heal the customers ... I have seen more and more happy, smiling faces around me every day,' she said. She said it was important not to use 'hard sell' tactics on new customers. 'They prefer you to listen ... and then offer them creative solutions.' Customers' smiles and trust are important motivators for Ms Ko, in addition to her salary. UPS strategic account manager Rita Lau Mei-ching learnt vital lessons in customer service from a former colleague in the hotel industry who received more letters of appreciation than anyone else. She discovered the colleague used to provide additional services to clients, such as writing private notes telling them when the best time was to view the sunset in the hotel lobby. 'I realised that product quality was important but not enough. The key to securing and expanding a company's business is, in fact, the salesperson. With the comprehensive product knowledge, I act as a consultant and try to create a 'win-win-win situation' among the client, my employer and myself.' UPS major account manager Elaine Lam said her motto for keeping in touch with today's rapidly moving business environment was 'moving at the speed of thought'. 'The most challenging thing for being in the sales profession is not converting new business but retaining existing [clients],' she said. 'In this dynamic business market, people are not merely buying the products and services, they are purchasing the kind of satisfaction brought by using these products and services.' She compared sales to abstract fine art. 'Not everyone can understand it and not everyone can discover the enjoyment in it. The reason that I love being a salesperson is the challenge, while enjoying myself in the process.' UPS Hong Kong and Macau general manager Leung Kwok-kee said the awards provided staff with recognition and an incentive to improve, and encouraged them to learn from each other.