Empower staff to go beyond scope of duty

It is true that the human element is the bedrock of quality service (Employers must treat staff well for good customer service, by Mr Melvin Nicholas Tang; Aug 30).

Although customer-friendly facilities and caring bosses can motivate staff to provide good service, there is still room for improvement. There are other ways to help lift the level of customer satisfaction and service, and one of these is that companies should believe very strongly in the empowerment of their staff.

I know of elderly customers who are deprived of enjoying Pioneer Generation and senior citizen discounts on purchases of grocery items simply because they are unable to present the relevant entitlement cards at the check-out counters.

Some cashiers insist that senior citizens present their cards as they do not want any trouble from not following company policy.

Such a mindset will discourage employees from acting beyond the call of duty. Unless service staff are empowered to act beyond their scope of responsibility, they will find it difficult to do a good job, let alone go the extra mile for service.

Leading by example is a key management philosophy. If bosses do not greet customers, then their staff may take it to mean that such civility is unimportant when they come into contact with customers.

It is heartening to note that our Customer Satisfaction Index hit its highest level in a decade last year.

More can be achieved if our service providers continue to embrace the importance of merchandise quality and price, as well as being helpful and courteous.

Jeffrey Law Lee Beng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 03, 2018, with the headline 'Empower staff to go beyond scope of duty'. Print Edition | Subscribe