Thursday, 7 April 2016

Hong Kong's Service Staff Feeling Blue

Glum-faced customer service staff wondering when sales will boom again
Have you noticed customer service staff particularly sad-faced these days?

It's confirmed now with the latest "smiling index" and Hong Kong was listed dead last out of 37 countries in a survey by Mystery Shopper Service Association.

The poll collected data from 61 countries and regions, and this year Hong Kong got a score of 48 out of 100, well below the global average of 83.

In the last survey in 2014, Hong Kong was third last. What happened?

Not many young front line staff take their jobs seriously
For comparison, Ireland was first for the second time in a row, while Macau was only one spot better than Hong Kong with a score of 53. Interestingly China ranked 26th with a mark of 83.

The association's chairman Anders Wong believed the weak economy, sluggish stock market and high property prices made it hard to encourage people to consume goods and services.

As a result, he said it was inevitable for front line staff to be frustrated by fewer sales and smaller commissions. Wong added the high turnover rate in retail and services showed that they didn't take their jobs seriously, particularly younger people.

"Hong Kong doesn't have a happy culture," he said.

Hmmm gee I wonder why!

Hong Kong was last out of 37 countries in a smiling survey
But we have to look at it from a long term perspective. Many people are not keen on serving others; it is very rare they find this satisfying to do. But at the same time, these staff don't feel like they have a personal stake in their jobs so they don't care as much.

If companies wish to improve sales, they have to treat their staff well. And smiles do go a long way. It's about marketing in the long term and hope that results in sales later down the road. A good experience is a memorable one that people will want to repeat.

Or is that wishful thinking?

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