Nuffnang Add

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Recognition for outstanding customer service

Publication: NST
Date of publication: Dec 8, 2012
Section heading: Business Times
Page number: 010

FOR nine consecutive years, the Malaysia Retailers Association (MRA) has held the "Service & Courtesy" Excellence Awards for Retailers as a tribute to those who have excelled in the retail industry.

"It is the ultimate symbol of recognition for the recipients and the highest accolade for those individuals, outlets and companies whose outstanding services play a significant role in rendering friendly and excellent customer service," said MRA president Raymond Teo.

The 2012/2013 event also marks MRA's 30th anniversary and was graced by Datuk Rebecca Sta Maria, secretary-general of International Trade and Industry Ministry.

The "Service & Courtesy" Excellence Awards for Retailers is one of many initiatives undertaken by MRA to improve the service standards of its members.

MRA hopes that through the awards, retailers will devote serious efforts and resources into upgrading their service and courtesy standards and put them into practice regularly and consistently.

The awards are also aimed at raising the status and professionalism in the sector through increased awareness and the implementation of a standardised retail service and courtesy programme.

Ultimately, it hopes to raise the overall standard of retail outlets in the country.

MRA said the awards look to act a model for the retail outlets and promote the importance of having quality service among players in the industry.

Teo said another objective of the awards is to enhance and sustain Malaysia's competitiveness and helping it to achieve the status as the preferred shopping destination at international level.

This, he said, can be achieved by raising service standard within the retail industry, as well as improving the overall performance through learning the best practices and processes worldwide.

This year's Awards were divided into six sub-sectors, namely Best Department Store, Best Hypermarket, Best Fashion & Fashion Accessories, Best Specialty Store, Best Supermarket and Best Pharmacy.

Almost 250 retail outlets were shortlisted for the awards this year.

Royal Selangor One Utama won the Overall Best Retail Outlet as well as Best Specialty Store awards at the event.

The other winners are Parkson KLCC for Best Department Store; Habib Jewels Ampang Point for Best Fashion & Fashion Accessories; Giant Hypermarket Kota Damansara for Best Hypermarket; Guardian Mid Valley for Best Pharmacy; and Mercato Pavillion for Best Supermarket.

Formed 30 years ago, MRA has played a vital role in promoting the country's retail industry.

"MRA was formed with the sole aim of bringing together all retailers under one umbrella for the advancement and betterment of common interests," said Teo.

MRA has over the years notched up several milestones.

Among them were running a series of workshop on "Best Practices in Retailing" in 2003-2004; hosting the second Malaysian International Retail Conference and Exhibition in 2004 and retail conference on "Retailing Challenges and Opportunities in an Economic Downturn" in 2009; organising the Retail Loss Prevention Forum in 2009; and holding a breakfast talk on "Up Your Image Quotient" in 2010 and workshop on "Energy Efficiency and Power Quality for Customers" in 2011.

This year, it has organised a series of Info Sharing cum Retail Chatz' session and collaborated with Open University Malaysia (OUM) and People Skills Asia Pte Ltd (PSA) on retail tertiary educational programmes and workshop on the goods and services tax (GST).

MRA is also unique compared to most other retail associations worldwide in that its members include various types of retail businesses ranging from hypermarkets to department stores, supermarkets, convenience stores, drug stores, food, fashion and accessories, specialty store as well as suppliers, wholesalers and other service-related organisations.

The retail industry plays a very important role both economically as well as socially, said Teo.

The retail industry is a RM83 billion revenue industry, with the 330 shopping malls throughout the country providing direct and indirect employment to more than one million people.

The industry also has a positive impact on other related industries such as logistics, finance, the real estate, media advertising, manufacturing , design and more.