A few days ago, Straits Times published an article “Service staff not going that extra mile: Survey”. Now, here is a video by local videoblogger, Sam Driscoll, to prove that Singapore service staff do go the extra mile (if they are requested appropriately).
Check out the video.
You see, Singapore service is still not bad (in some cases). I actually have the full report of the survey. In the report, it states that Singapore service staff not going that extra mile to serve the customer. The survey was carried out by market research group Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS) to get a better insight on the service debate in Singapore.
Here is a graph which shows the survey of service staff going beyond the call of duty. Note that Singaporeans are not very happy with it. I do agree sometimes.
Here is the Press Release
SERVICE IN SINGAPORE: ACCEPTABLE, BUT NOTHING MORE
New survey reveals quality of service in Singapore being driven down as customers, managers and service staff blame each other for failures
SINGAPORE, 10 June 2013 – Customer service in Singapore does not seem to be good enough, according to a new survey released today. The toughest on lacklustre service quality were local customers with 56 per cent of those interviewed indicating that service staff could ‘go beyond the call of duty’ to make their service experience more memorable.
About 60 per cent or more of local customers, service staff and managers surveyed considered service in Singapore to be just acceptable, and nothing more. These results could concern those working to position Singapore as one of the world’s leading global cities, where service plays an integral part of the overall experience.
A more positive picture was painted by tourists visiting the Lion City. Some 74 per cent of the tourists interviewed acknowledged that service in Singapore was ‘above average’, with almost half – 49 per cent – going as far as saying the service in Singapore was better than in their home country (in Asia, the UK and the United States).
This presents a slightly complex picture. What is the root cause for the apathetic attitude to one of Singapore’s more important industries?
The managers and service staff attribute this to demanding customers. Some 73 per cent of managers and 64 per cent of service staff said increasingly demanding clientele was the main barrier to delivering good service.
They also believe that the government has a role to play. Some 87 per cent of managers and 91 per cent of the service staff agreed that the government can help drive service quality by promoting service-sector businesses as an employer of choice, attracting more talent into the industry.
Reinforcing this point, 53 per cent of managers said finding the right staff was the main obstacle in providing quality service. As a result, even though almost all agreed that service quality is important to their business profitability and customer loyalty, more than half were reluctant to invest in training their existing talent pool as the return did not merit the extra effort.
The survey brings to light one of the biggest challenges facing the service industry, and highlights the gap in the understanding of the role that everyone (customers, service staff, managers and the public sector) plays in the overall service quality equation.
The survey was carried out by market research group Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS) to get a better insight on the service debate in Singapore. With a representative sample size of over 460 participants, the survey was conducted earlier this year over a period of one month. The survey is supported by the Go the Extra Mile for Service (GEMS) Up project, a joint movement involving SPRING Singapore, the Singapore Tourism Board, the Singapore Workforce Development Agency, the Institute of Service Excellence at the Singapore Management University, and the National Trades Union Congress.
“Service is a deep-seated topic in Singapore and is often at the core of many conversations and experiences,” said John Conceicao, Executive Director, Singapore Tourism Board and GEMS Up representative. “Businesses today are changing and owners are faced with multiple challenges such as manpower and evolving customer needs. The survey allows us to analyse the different perspectives and identify the missing link when it comes to elevating service standards in Singapore. It also presents a stark picture to the industry, and highlights a need for businesses to urgently improve their customer experience journeys so as to remain competitive.”
All in all, the survey suggests the need for an attitudinal change where customers, managers and service staff need to play their part towards understanding and acknowledging the importance of quality service as well as work towards building a culture of compliment.
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About GEMS Up
The Go the Extra Mile for Service (GEMS) movement was first launched in 2005, encouraging all Singaporeans to play their part and take the initiative to improve service levels, working towards achieving an excellent service culture in Singapore. The first phase of GEMS focused on raising service levels in key service sectors such as tourism, hospitality, food & beverage, retail and transport.
GEMS Up is the second phase of this national movement. Represented by five agencies – SPRING Singapore, the Singapore Tourism Board, the Singapore Workforce Development Agency, the Institute of Service Excellence at the Singapore Management University, and the National Trades Union Congress – GEMS Up aims to bring service excellence up to the next level via a three-pronged strategy:
- Promotion, Publicity & Recognition for Service
- Service Capability Development
- Research & Thought Leadership for Service
SPRING Singapore is an agency under the Ministry of Trade and Industry responsible for helping Singapore enterprises grow and building trust in Singapore products and services. As the enterprise development agency, SPRING works with partners to help enterprises in financing, capability and management development, technology and innovation, and access to markets. As the national standards and accreditation body, SPRING develops and promotes an internationally-recognised standards and quality assurance infrastructure. SPRING also oversees the safety of general consumer goods in Singapore. For more information, please visit www.spring.gov.sg.
Singapore Tourism Board
The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) is a leading economic development agency in tourism, one of Singapore’s key service sectors. Known for partnership, innovation and excellence, STB champions tourism, making it a key economic driver for Singapore. We aim to differentiate and market Singapore as a must-visit destination offering a concentration of user-centric and enriching experiences through the “YourSingapore” brand. For more information, please visit www.stb.gov.sg or www.yoursingapore.com
Singapore Workforce Development Agency
The Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) enhances the competitiveness of our workforce by encouraging workers to learn for life and advance with skills. In today’s economy, most jobs require not just knowledge, but also skills. WDA collaborates with employers, industry associations, the Union and training organisations, to develop and strengthen the Continuing Education and Training system that is skills-based, open and accessible, as a mainstream pathway for all workers – young and older, from rank and file to professionals and executives – to upgrade and advance in their careers and lives. For more information, please visithttp://www.wda.gov.sg
National Trades Union Congress
The National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) is a national confederation of trade unions in the industrial, service and public sectors in Singapore. NTUC’s objectives are to help Singapore stay competitive and workers remain employable for life; to enhance the social status and well-being of workers; and to build a strong, responsible and caring labour movement. NTUC’s vision is to be an inclusive labour movement for all collars, all ages and all nationalities. NTUC is at the heart of the Labour Movement, which comprises 60 affiliated unions, one affiliated taxi association, over 700,000 members, 14 social enterprises and four related organisations. For more details on NTUC, please visit www.ntuc.org.sg
Institute of Service Excellence
The Institute of Service Excellence at the Singapore Management University (ISES) is the cornerstone of an initiative to raise Singapore’s service standards and promote a culture of service excellence. Working in close collaboration with government agencies and business leaders, ISES champions service excellence through an integrated approach that encompasses benchmarking and analysis, research and thought leadership, and industry engagement. Through the Customer Satisfaction Index of Singapore (CSISG), ISES has developed an objective barometer of service competitiveness in the Singapore economy, covering nine key economic sectors. The annual study is a benchmark for customer satisfaction across countries, industry sectors, sub-sectors and companies. Companies can tap on detailed CSISG reports and its unique cross-industry comparison capability to make strategic business decisions. For more information, please visitises.smu.edu.sg.
Check out the results. Sometimes, I do feel that the service sector in Singapore only caters more to tourists or foreigners. In some instances, you can see that they treat the tourists better than locals.
However, it also boils down to how we approach these service staff. In some cases, maybe we are fellow citizens, we tend to be very blunt and straight in requesting for service. This might add on to the “frustration” of the service staff for treating them in such a manner.
These are purely my observation and opinion. Love to hear from all of you. What bad/good experiences have you encountered?
Annex – Survey Results
The survey aimed to get a better insight on the service debate in Singapore, by speaking to 4 key audience groups – Local Customers, Tourists, Service Staff and Managers.
How is service in Singapore?
Locals appear to be the toughest on the service quality, and seem to expect a lot more out of Service Staff, beyond “just doing their job”.
Local customers are more critical and appear to be less likely to compliment Service Staff, in contrast to Tourists, Managers and Service Staff themselves, who claim that service quality has improved over the last 12 months.
In comparison to their home country, Tourists are happier with the service they have experienced in Singapore.
Who is responsible for service?
Local consumers understand that they play a significant role in the overall service experience, yet feel they are already doing it. Service staff are still expected to drive the customer service experience.
Local consumers do not see themselves as being part of the issue, even while increasingly demanding customers are rated as the top challenges for both Managers and Service Staff. The latter also admit they do not always feel motivated to deliver good service.
Service Staff rank their most enjoyable service experiences as those where they received compliments and felt appreciated.
What is impacting service delivery?
Managers agree that finding and maintaining the right talent is the key challenge to maintaining service levels, while Service Staff identified the long hours and increasingly demanding customers as reasons.
Managers acknowledge the benefits of good customer service on the bottom-line, however just over half hesitate to invest in it.
Managers prefer non-monetary approaches to encourage good service performance, than to invest in training or rewarding actual performance.
Managers and Service Staff believe that the government has a key role to play in improving overall service quality.