speciality stores; Two top performers at a leading jewellery outlet find lasting friendships a reward for good service STAFF WHO MAKE customers feel extra special are 'jewels' in the crown of any company. This quality is especially prized at TSL Jewellery. Alex Chan, TSL Jewellery executive director, said exceptional customer service was built into the company's brand value. 'It is part of the brand experience TSL is trying to create,' he said. Intensive training and participating in such initiatives as the HKRMA Awards programme were aspects of this high level of service, Mr Chan said. Two employees who have stood out in this respect are Alvin Liu Chi-shing and John Lam Kin-ip, winners of the Junior Frontline and Supervisory Level awards respectively in the speciality stores category. Mr Lui is senior salesman at TSL's branch in Central, and Mr Lam is sales supervisor in the company's Causeway Bay, Yee Wo Street branch. Both have worked for TSL for an impressive 10 years. The two men attributed their achievements to a positive attitude to work, support from colleagues and a company culture that encouraged staff to treat customers as friends. This element of friendship in service has brought the two winners many rewards over the past decade. Mr Liu recalled a tourist from the United States visiting the shop many years ago in search of a diamond ring. Mr Liu and his team gave the customer the 'full service treatment'. 'He was very impressed by our professional advice and excellent service,' he said. 'He was so grateful that he visits me every time he comes to Hong Kong. We keep in touch.' Mr Lam had his own happy tale to tell. 'One day, two sisters came in looking for a birthday gift for their mother. They chose a number of gold items, and then found that the box containing all the pieces was too large and conspicuous to be taken home without their mother noticing.' So Mr Lam offered to deliver the box himself during the birthday party. 'The women were so delighted they asked me to join their party! The whole family have been loyal customers ever since.' Customer service is not judged by one shining example of good service and a show of customer gratitude. It has to be demonstrated time and again, and at a consistently high level. And staff should be willing to learn as new retail trends emerged. Executive director Mr Chan said a wide range of customers visited the shop, and they all had different demands. 'Our customers range from local residents to mainland visitors and long-haul tourists. They all have different shopping expectations. 'Our staff have to be very accommodating to ensure all-round customer satisfaction.' The company introduced a flexibility training programme so staff would know how to handle each customer. TSL initiatives include setting up a 'committed management with service excellence culture', developing a service-oriented work environment, and introducing a 'mystery shopper' programme to measure staff performance.