Department Stores A FRONTLINE SALESPERSON working in an airport department store is always going to experience some interesting challenges. Customers can be stressed or tired, in a hurry or unable to communicate in the same language. These reasons make the accomplishment of Stella Chan Sze-man all the more impressive. In her eight months as a sales associate working in the luxury department of The Atrium of Nuance-Watson, Ms Chan seems to have seen and heard it all. 'I try to provide a service that exceeds customers' expectations,' said the winner of a junior frontline level award. 'I think I won because I always try to wear a cheerful smile - a universal symbol without a language barrier. I'm devoted to the job and always maintain an eager and positive attitude.' Unlike other sales associates around town, she also has to be prepared for some unusual requests. 'I sometimes have to provide extra shopping bags when needed, remind customers of their boarding time, direct them to the boarding gate, or even take care of kids and the elderly.' At Hong Kong International Airport, passengers usually have higher expectations of the overall service level. Therefore, Nuance-Watson staff spend every minute promoting the image of their company as well as the image of Hong Kong. As a result, outstanding customer service is both crucial and essential. 'Nuance-Watson thrives on value, providing the best to our customers of all nationalities. Our management team is constantly striving for operational excellence,' said a company spokesman. 'We adopt a customer-led approach, proactively conducting market research, tracking various customers' buying behaviour, adjusting merchandising offers, implementing innovative and targeted marketing initiatives, bringing the greatest shopping experience to our customers.' Nuance-Watson also believes that keen competition in the industry will accelerate the importance of excellent services and differentiate the best from the ordinary. Therefore, retailers are required to dedicate more resources and efforts to upgrade the standards of staff service. It is for this reason that the company's management decided to enter Ms Chan into the HKRMA Awards. The Service & Courtesy Award not only helps them upgrade the standard of their customer service but is also a good opportunity to learn from other companies.