beauty products/cosmetics; Frontline staff at The Body Shop seek to understand their customers as well as they know the benefits of the beauty products on their shelves TWO YOUNG RETAIL executives working for The Body Shop won HKRMA awards in the beauty products/cosmetics category. Zelda Chan Ka-ying, winner of a junior frontline level award, works in the chain's Sheung Shui outlet. 'We just tried our best,' she said. 'We relaxed, tried not to be nervous and tried to forget about the competition.' Her managerial colleague Conny Man Ka-yee, who works at the IFC branch and won a supervisory level award, looked at the pragmatics behind the victory. 'To provide the best service, you must have lots of training. That includes product knowledge and understanding what good service means.' All Body Shop staff on the shop floor are given detailed briefings before a product arrives on the shelf. By the end of the briefing, they are able to tell a customer about the benefits of a cream, soap or lotion. Ms Man and Ms Chan have been with the company for two years, and are grateful to The Body Shop for its training and support. Training manager Peggy Cheng said the company saw excellent customer service as a vital ingredient in its business. 'We try to know our customers on a personal basis to give them the best service possible. Our staff are more like friends than salespeople. They enjoy this interaction with customers. We believe that doing our best to make a customer happy translates into sales.' The staff training covers appropriate attitude, service and selling methods, product knowledge, language, grooming and field coaching. To maintain high standards, The Body Shop has always tried to stay ahead of the game. The company tells its frontline staff to adopt a personalised approach to service. 'We encourage staff to introduce customers to the most suitable products [such as] skincare products that suit a particular skin type or makeup that matches skin tone. We also call up regular customers to tell them about updates and promotions of their favourite products,' Ms Cheng said. She said the HKRMA Service and Courtesy Award generated excitement and enhanced company morale. Getting public recognition also motivated staff. Ms Man said: 'We are really thankful to everyone we work with. Our big bosses are also very happy [with the nomination].' The Body Shop chief executive Peter Saunders and founder Anita Roddick are highly supportive of these initiatives.