Call to do much better to boost service

Technology can help achieve that, says Lee Yi Shyan at launch of customer-review software

Singapore must "do much better" with its customer service culture, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry and National Development Lee Yi Shyan said yesterday.

Speaking to the media at a services symposium, he explained how the service sector - which includes areas like retail and business services - makes up more than 70 per cent of the Republic's gross domestic product.

"We have to put in effort because service excellence does not come about by accident," said Mr Lee, suggesting that technology could be one way to help staff deliver good service.

He also announced yesterday that enterprise agency Spring Singapore and telco SingTel are developing data analytics software, called the Customer Review Dashboard, to help businesses evaluate customer feedback on social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram and food review portal HungryGoWhere.

More than 70 food and beverage establishments took part in the software's pilot development phase which began last October.

EFFORT NEEDED

"We have to put in effort because service excellence does not come about by accident."

MR LEE YI SHYAN, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry and National Development

SingTel is currently adding features to the data analysis tool, such as allowing food and beverage outlets to see how their service standards rank against those of their competitors.

Mr Matthew Whittingham, the chief executive of HungryGoWhere, which is run by SingTel Digital Media, said: "The vision is to make it super easy for food and beverage operators to understand at a glance their online reputation, drawing from all sources. It is quite difficult for busy restaurants to invest the time to go and analyse different social media platforms."

Mr Andrew Khoo, director of business development and operations at ABR Holdings, which runs restaurant chain Swensen's, said the large volume of chatter on social media often makes it tough for companies to sift through all the data.

Having better data analysis tools will help companies to respond quicker to customers who air their gripes on social media.

"Whenever there are issues, we would be able to tackle it as fast as possible," said Mr Khoo.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 23, 2015, with the headline 'Call to do much better to boost service'. Print Edition | Subscribe