Following is a speech by the Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology, Mr John Tsang, at the 4th Anniversary Celebration Ceremony of the Hong Kong Association for Customer Service Excellence this (March 4) evening (English only):
Allan [Chairman Chiang], Selina [Mrs Chow], Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to be here today to celebrate with you the fourth anniversary of the Hong Kong Association for Customer Service Excellence.
For any service sector enterprise, quality customer service is not only a means to improve its corporate image, but it is also the only reliable formula to ensure the survival and long-term profitability of the enterprise. In Hong Kong, where some 87 per cent of our GDP is derived from the service sector, a quality service culture in the community is absolutely essential in driving the growth of our economy.
At the corporate level, enterprises must constantly re-examine their business practice to ensure that all their functional parts operate in a customer-centred manner. They must promote this "customer-centred" culture at all levels, backed up by strong management with clear vision and determination as well as effective staff training and development programmes.
I am pleased to note that my Bureau has joined hands with your esteemed Association in launching a Quality Customer Service Programme for small and medium sized enterprises to enhance their awareness of the importance of quality customer service. I understand that over 1,800 participants have attended the three seminars held so far, and there are more activities to come.
Whilst a customer service culture is essential for private enterprises, we in Government also fully appreciate that quality customer services is equally important in the public sector. To meet the rising expectations of the community, quality service has now become an essential and integral part of the public service. Among the many initiatives the Government has undertaken, I would like to highlight two important developments - first, the provision of one-stop service and second, the promotion of e-Government.
The Government launched in July 2001 an integrated contact center, called "1823 Citizen's Easy Link", to provide a 24 hour one-stop service to handle all public enquiries and complaints relating to a wide range of government services. In 2003, the Centre handled over 1,100,000 calls and nearly 31,000 e-mails and faxes. I am pleased to say that some 90 per cent of the enquiries were resolved at the first time of call.
Another example of our one-stop service is the Support and Consultation Centre for SMEs or SUCCESS run by the Trade and Industry Department. SUCCESS is dedicated to supporting the development of local SMEs and the enhancement of their competitiveness. Through partnership with various government departments, licensing authorities, trade and support organizations and professional bodies, SUCCESS provides SMEs with a comprehensive range of information under one roof.
Another major direction of enhancing government services to the public is the promotion of e-Government. We are aiming to provide a seamless fabric of electronic services to the public and business in an efficient and customer-centred manner. About 1,200 public services are now available electronically.
You will be interested to note that we have injected the concept of customer relationship management or CRM into our e-Government initiatives. For example, the Trade and Industry Department's Business Licence Information Service is providing a customized business licence information search function. Whether you would like to start a business or expand your existing business, open a restaurant or a tutorial school, you can obtain the necessary licence information tailored to your needs with just a few clicks.
Another well-known example is our Electronic Service Delivery (ESD) Scheme which adopts various CRM features in its services. The Scheme also adopts the innovative public-private sector partnership model which enables the provision of e-Government and value-added e-commerce services in a one-stop and integrated manner.
In our second wave of e-Government initiatives, we are developing more customer-centred projects which are "joined-up Government" projects requiring the collaboration of a cluster of government departments. These include the "Property Information Hub", "Smart ID Card", "Business Entry Portal", "Easy Change of Address", etc.
I believe that there is a great deal the private and public sectors can learn from each other, and I envisage much scope for cooperation between the two in advancing quality customer service in Hong Kong. In this regard, I am delighted to note that members of the Hong Kong Association for Customer Service Excellence come from both the private and public sectors. I am also deeply impressed with the dedication of your Association in promoting customer service excellence in Hong Kong.
Once again, I congratulate your Association for the accomplishments you have achieved in the last four years in fostering service excellence. With the solid foundation you have laid so far, I am confident that you will continue to contribute positively to the promotion of Hong Kong's service economy. I wish the Association another fruitful and successful year ahead.
Thank you very much.
Ends/Thursday, March 4, 2004