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Speech by SCED at Customer Service Excellence Award Presentation Ceremony (English only)

     Following is the speech by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mrs Rita Lau, at the 10th anniversary and Customer Service Excellence Award Presentation Ceremony of the Hong Kong Association for Customer Service Excellence today (January 22):

Chairlady, Ladies and Gentlemen,

     It gives me great pleasure to be here tonight to join you for the 10th anniversary celebration of the Hong Kong Association for Customer Service Excellence and the award presentation.

     In the past decade, our services sector has continued to expand and diversify.  It plays an increasingly important role to our economy.

     Hong Kong's GDP rose to $1.654 trillion in 2008 from $1.159 trillion in 2000.  Within that, the services sector's contribution increased from 87% in 2000 to 92% in 2008. In terms of employment, the services sector engaged 3.1 million people, or 89% of our total workforce in 2008.

     Our robust services sector gives Hong Kong a significant competitive advantage in tapping the business opportunities presented by the rapidly growing market across Asia, particularly on the Mainland.  

     A quality service culture is essential in sustaining and driving the continuous growth of our economy which has become increasingly service-oriented.  The Hong Kong Association for Customer Service Excellence has made sustained efforts in the past decade to promote best practices in customer service. The association has been most proactive in putting forward programmes that match the evolving needs of the sector.  The new heights attained by our services sector in terms of service excellence bear testimony to their sterling contributions.

     Upon its inauguration in 2000, the association had 11 founding members.  Today, the association has developed into a very strong group with 36 member companies and corporations from both the private and public sectors, with a total workforce of around 220,000 employees. They include many of Hong Kong's best known brands.

     The valuable contributions that the association has made over the years in entrenching a quality customer service culture in Hong Kong are highly regarded in many quarters.

     Noteworthy examples include initiatives such as the "Quality Customer Service Programme for SMEs".  The association has launched and expanded this very popular programme with our support. It seeks to enhance the knowledge and skills of various levels of customer service practitioners, from top management to frontline staff.  

     The "Customer Service Excellence Awards" introduced by the association in 2002 worths special mentioning. It has been strengthened in recent years with our support.  By promoting good customer service, this award scheme has played an important role in motivating staff in the key service industries to maintain the high standards of service for which Hong Kong is renowned. It has now become a flagship programme of the association's activities each year.

     The association spares no efforts in developing new useful programmes. It launched its first "Young Service Star Programme" in 2009, jointly with the Tourism Commission and the Federation of Hong Kong Youth Groups, to spread customer service messages amongst our younger generation. The programme is very well received.

     In 2009, the association's activities attracted the participation of more than 20,000 practitioners and its publications reached out to about 250,000 readers.

     On its 10th anniversary, I congratulate the association for its past accomplishments. I also wish it many more fruitful and successful years to come.

     Last but not least, may I extend my warmest congratulations to the award winners of the Customer Service Excellence Awards for their outstanding performance in customer service. The wonderful examples they have set for Hong Kong's customer service practitioners at large deserve a big applause.  

     Well done!  

     Thank you.

Ends/Friday, January 22, 2010
Issued at HKT 21:10


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