SINGAPORE - Service here falls short of the expectations of it as a top shopping and tourist destination, and to bring the standards up, a new masterclass teaches service staff what it means to offer personalised attention worthy of a luxury brand.
The luxury service class, launched by the Workforce Development Agency (WDA) and Spring Singapore on Monday, aims to equip frontline service staff in the retail, F&B and hospitality sectors here with skills such as personal grooming, brand storytelling and understanding the cultural profiles of different tourist shoppers.
Two pilot classes were conducted in April and September last year for 28 participants by service specialists from Carrie Academy and Global Blue.
Participant Wendy Ng, 40, a members relations manager from high-end fashion online retailer Reebonz, found the class different from those she had previously attended because of its interactive components, such as hands-on grooming sessions and role-playing.
"One interesting thing we learnt is that selling tactics need to be modified for shoppers from different cultures," she said. For instance, she learnt that Indonesian shoppers tend to shop as families, and that it is more likely for every member of the family to get something from the store.
Masterclass trainer Linda Teo, managing director of etiquette school Carrie Academy, said the classes were not just targeted at employees of international luxury brands. "We have to raise the standard of service training not just for luxury shops but also for our own local brands," she said.
"Service is not part of our culture," said Ms Teo, 60. "Without training, staff here are lacking in confidence and passion. If you ask them about their brand they don't know much and will tell you to read the catalogue yourself. We need to empower them and make them believe in being passionate about service."
Mr Jan Moller, vice-president of sales at tourism shopping service provider Global Blue Asia Pacific, said: "Singapore is one of the best shopping destinations in the world, but it is lacking in service.
"Tourists are likely to purchase seven times more than a local customer. It's important to make sure shop staff are connecting with them, whether they're Chinese or Indonesian or Russian."
Three two-day classes will be conducted this year for up to 60 trainees, with the first sessions taking place on March 31 and April 7. WDA will be subsidising up to 70 per cent of the class fees for employers.