Serving Customers With Pride
ION Orchard enhances the role of customer service staff, grooming them to be top-notch professionals that offer a customer-first service environment
Issue: May 2011
Ushers stationed at drop-off points ensure that customers are given the ION Orchard signature greeting from the moment they step into the mall
35-year old Musnorman Mustafa has been working as an ION Orchard officer since 2009. His job is to be a roving service ambassador for the mall, attending to shoppers' and tenants' enquiries and feedback on the go.
Roving service ambassador, Musnorman Mustafa who strives to leave a lasting impression of ION Orchard on its visitors
"It's an achievement to bring happiness to our shoppers through our services, allowing them to bring back good memories and always looking forward to coming back to ION Orchard!" he said.
Attitude like his amongst the customer service officers at ION Orchard has left a lasting impression on its visitors. Londoner, Paulina Simon wanted to do some last-minute shopping with her three daughters before catching a flight home. ION Orchard seemed the natural choice and she was certainly delighted with her decision.
“We got lost and were afraid we could not finish our shopping on time. I approached ION Officer, Mr. Fysh, and he was excellent! He answered all my questions flawlessly and highlighted the additional privileges I could get as a tourist,” raved Simon. “His patience was excellent. His knowledge, ingenuity and service were simply superb.”
ION Orchard's comfortable, approachable, knowledgeable and engaging Concierge
ION Officers - roving ambassadors that move around the mall to help customers
A study on customer satisfaction commissioned by Spring Singapore showed that Customer Centric Initiatives implemented at the mall level can more effectively raise the collective service level in the mall. Indeed, to date, ION Orchard has served over 80 million visitors and received high praise for its customer-focused staff and initiatives. As a nod to its customer-centric outlook, ION Orchard garnered the Best Shopping Experience award by the Singapore Tourism Board in 2010. The award recognises establishments that provide customers with memorable shopping experiences through their services, facilities, products and environment. ION Orchard will be participating in Spring Singapore's second study on customer satisfaction which will be completed this year end. The study will interview shoppers on whether they were getting good value for their money, the quality of the malls' service or product, and the service at the concierge, among other things. And ION Orchard has several customer-first programmes for its frontline staff that will enable it to score well in this study.
Starting Out Right
Behind it all is what ION Orchard calls its “Service DNA”, a standard operating procedure for dealing with customers drawn from studying shopper behaviour in detail. Called CAKE (Comfortable, Approachable, Knowledgeable, Engaging), this set of beliefs is the guiding principle behind how every customer is expected to be treated.
But none of it would be possible if the very people implementing did not buy into the vision.
When it comes to hiring frontline staff, candidates must have the X factor and an innate desire to excel in their role as customer service providers. Having the right service attitude is of utmost importance. Besides the prerequisite interview questions, the screening process involves role plays and scenario handling to ascertain their customer service skills and mindset.
Because of ION Orchard's international clientele, deliberate effort is made to recruit a wide variety of nationalities. Currently, ION Orchard's service staff come from eight different countries and speak a total of 10 different languages. This enhances the customer service provided to tourists who approach the Singapore Visitor Centre located at Level 1, which is manned by the mall's own concierges.
ION Orchard trains staff to cater to the needs of tourists beyond shopping
Trained in PRIDE
Once in, ION Orchard makes sure its staff undergoes a rigorous training programme. It is among the pioneers in Singapore to develop a customised service training programme for all staff. Called P.R.I.D.E (Personal Responsibility In Delivering Excellence), the two-day training programme is designed to induct recruits into the ION signature way of service. In addition, complementary skills training such as tourist information, SISTIC ticketing, gift-wrapping, telephone etiquette and First Aid is provided.
“I found the PRIDE training very fun. It is also very detailed and opened my eyes to see how much thought goes behind customer service at ION Orchard and how important it is. The course has definitely equipped me with the knowledge to go about my work with pride” said valet staff Song Pok Long.
Shopper and tourist, Samuel Rosen, is definitely glad ION Orchard employees take their training seriously.
“I came to the tourist information centre lost and looking for a hotel. Concierge Jacqueline Tan was informative, amazingly efficient and helpful. She is knowledgeable not only about the mall but about hotels and attractions. The help I got was above the call of duty and her attitude was exemplary,” he said.
To make learning continually accessible, an e-learning portal has also been set up for staff to refresh their skills and knowledge any time they need to, ensuring that they continue to work with PRIDE.
Housekeeping staff Gan Gi Kim receiving the service star award from Soon Su Lin, CEO of Orchard Turn Developments Pte. Ltd
Customer or Staff, It's Always People First
A well-groomed worker is a confident one. ION Orchard knows this well. To complement the skills training, it has a suite of uniforms catering to different categories of service staff. Hair and make-up grooming standards are also prescribed.
“We have a seasonal change of uniforms to project a fresh appearance and to reflect the image of ION Orchard as a fashion forward mall. The uniform looks smart and we feel trendy when we wear them,” said concierge Rafizza Adam.
To motivate staff towards service excellence, a monthly Service Star Championship prize is given to three employees who go the extra mile for the customer.
“I feel really proud and happy to receive the award. It's always nice to be recognised and rewarded for our efforts - for something as simple as making our shoppers happy and delighting them!” exclaimed Technical Crew Peter Wong.
ION Orchard has a suite of facilities and services oriented towards total customer satisfaction. These include unique services such as a 24-hour hotline for shoppers, exclusive VIP restrooms as well as hand phone charging service. But it is the people that make the mall a world-class mall. In treating its staff as its first customers, ION Orchard has set the perfect benchmark for exceptional service to the rest of its customers.