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Speech by SCIT at anniversary of HK Association of Customer Service Excellence


The Following is a speech by the Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology, Mr John Tsang, at the Fifth Anniversary Celebration Ceremony of the Hong Kong Association of Customer Service Excellence today (January 20): (English only)

Allan, Selina, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I have great pleasure in attending today's anniversary celebration of the Hong Kong Association of Customer Service Excellence. I hope all of you have had a fruitful Year of the Monkey, and I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a happy and prosperous Year of the Rooster.

The further liberalisation of the Mainland market and deeper economic integration of Hong Kong with the Mainland will bring about vast business opportunities. The Government will intensify our efforts in attracting more Mainland enterprises to make use of Hong Kong's excellent business and logistics infrastructure to expand their businesses. We will also continue to provide financial and other support to our SMEs and the professional services sectors to enhance their competitiveness and to exploit new business opportunities.

While we would spare no effort in promoting the growth and market access of our services in order to bring in more customers and business opportunities, we must not forget the importance of maintaining and improving the already high quality of our services. Otherwise, Hong Kong's status as a prime service centre can easily slip away in favour of our competitors.

The key to this, I believe, is to instil a strong culture of customer service excellence in Hong Kong. Japan, for instance, is reputed for their courtesy and attentiveness in the delivery of their services, whereas western cultures usually symbolise friendliness. How about Hong Kong? I think most of us would regard Hong Kong's services as flexible and efficient. But should we be satisfied with this? And are there areas where we can do better?

I would defer these important questions to the experts here for your reflection. But I believe that the cultivation of a service quality culture is of fundamental importance to us. Surely to promote a culture is a long term process that takes many years to bear fruit. It is also clear that it will require not only the Government but also the community at large, particularly the practitioners themselves, to work together to succeed.

On the part of my bureau, we have been promoting the culture of quality service through the mass media for some years. I am proud to say that "ɤAݝAȺAםI" has become part of the Hong Kong culture. You may also have noticed that our media campaign has expanded from salespersons to taxi and minibus drivers.

The message in the campaign has also been expanded. Quality service is no longer only wearing a smile and greeting customers with courtesy, but providing professional advice to customers and helping customers solve problems. I am pleased to say that some 90 organisations have requested copies of our videos for their internal staff training. In fact the videos can be found on my bureau's website and you can download them without infringing any law. I can guarantee that no Customs Officers will knock on your doors. In fact, we welcome everyone to make use of them. Moreover, we welcome your suggestions on new themes for our future publicity campaigns.

Another major area my bureau has been working on is to instil the quality service culture in our future leaders while they are young. We have been organising a campaign called "D䥼" for four years. University and secondary school students are selected to participate in an exposure-cum-training programme. The programme includes visits to renowned service companies in Hong Kong, training of inter-personal and leadership skills, and visits to the Mainland. These programmes aim at broadening the students' understanding of the importance of the services sector to Hong Kong, and helping them understand what skills and knowledge they need to equip themselves in order to achieve excellence in their future careers. So far, 150 university students and 376 secondary students have participated in the programme.

Ladies and Gentlemen, when it comes to cultivating a quality service culture among enterprises, clearly no one is better placed than the business sector itself. Well-established enterprises are able to spare the resources to invest in this area through the use of dedicated staff or the hiring of outside services to provide training and implement quality assurance programmes. However, the majority of the enterprises in Hong Kong are small and medium size enterprises, and they may not have the requisite knowledge and resources.

I am, therefore, most supportive of your association's mission of promoting a quality service culture among all enterprises. I am also deeply impressed by the amount of work your association has so far accomplished, ranging from the conduct of studies to the drawing up of guidelines and the collection of best practices to promulgate a Service Charter today.

I am particularly glad that my bureau is associated with one aspect of your association's work in promoting experience sharing among enterprises. Particularly worth mentioning is the "Quality Customer Service Programme for SMEs" which was launched in 2003-04. This year's programme attracted 2,000 participants in two seminars on quality service held in August and November last year. A new feature in this year's programme is that workshops, in addition to the seminars, have been organised for the participating SMEs on practical customer service strategies and skills.

After a period of trial application, some participating SMEs will share their experience with other SMEs in a sharing session. I understand that over 100 SMEs have joined this programme and this illustrates that there is, indeed, a strong desire among our enterprises to upgrade themselves in service quality. I would like to thank your association and all your members for making these activities possible. I am sure that, before long, you will have built a sizeable alumni of enterprises who are devoted to promoting high quality service in Hong Kong.

Lastly, I would like to congratulate all the winners of this year's Customer Service Excellence Award for the excellent job you have done and the fine examples you have set for others, and I wish your association another fruitful and successful year ahead.

Thank you.

Ends/Thursday, January 20, 2005


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