Training for Sim Lim Square retailers to help them interact better with customers

SINGAPORE - Sim Lim Square business owners and their staff will soon be able to turn to training to help them interact better with customers.

As part of Sim Lim Square's new accreditation programme to recognise reliable stores at the electronics and IT mall, tenants will have to attend a subsidised training programme run by Nanyang Polytechnic's Singapore Institute of Retail Studies.

This latest announcement was made by the mall's management on Friday at a meeting with Minister for Trade and Industry, Mr Teo Ser Luck, Ms Denise Phua, the mayor for Central Singapore District, and Mr Lim Biow Chuan, president of the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case).

They also conducted a walkabout at the mall to find out how retailers have been doing over the last few months.

The training is in addition to new measures that aim to deter errant retailers at the shopping centre at Rochor Canal Road.

The Straits Times reported on Friday that the mall's management recently passed a by-law which gives it the authority to install CCTV cameras, an audio recording device and stickers in the common areas in front of shops that have had many complaints made against them.

The stickers would tell consumers to be wary of these stores.

A spokesman for the mall's management had told The Straits Times: "Our council members suggested this and it got unanimous approval during our annual general meeting last month."

He added that the new by-law is likely to apply to stores that have had at least three complaints lodged against them with Case and the Singapore Tourism Board.

Last November, the unfair sales tactics of several shops at Sim Lim Square - including the now-defunct Mobile Air and its owner Jover Chew - came under fire, after a video of a Vietnamese tourist begging for a refund at Mobile Air went viral in Singapore and abroad.

Since then, the Government has said it is reviewing laws to strengthen consumer protection. The mall's management has also been working on ways to rein in errant retailers.

On the whole, the situation at the mall has improved. From January to April, Case handled an estimated 12 customer complaints against electronics retailers. Case estimated that there were 32 complaints in the same period last year.