Customers Service Tips

Today, I have joined the seminar organized by HKSTP entitled “How to win and keep customers coming back”. The presenter is Ms. Patricia Yip from Ace Business Consulting International Limited. I would like to share some key points I learnt from the seminar as below.

The only failure is the failure to Participate.

Some definitions of Customer Service are shown:
- Customer Service is any contact between a customer and a company that causes a negative or positive perception by a customer.
- Customer Service is the commitment to providing value added services to external and internal customers, including attitude, knowledge, technical support and quality of service in a timely manner.
- Customer service is a proactive attitude that can be summed up as: I care and I can do.

Why customers leave a business?

82% leave a business because of Customer Service Issues but most of these customers don’t bother to complain. They just leave and don’t come back.

Key Skills for Quality Customer Service:
· Know your company (e.g. vision, mission, culture, etc.)
· Know your service (e.g. service configuration, specification, etc.)
· Know your customer (e.g. need, concern, personality, etc.)

The Customer Loyalty Ladder:

Great Customer Service is the ability to “Constantly” and “Consistently” Exceed the Customer’s Expectations. (Create Raving Fans!!) I have modified the ladder as below.

What Customer Wants….4x Feel and 2x Be
· To Feel Welcome
· To Feel Important
· To Feel Appreciated
· To Feel Comfortable
· To Be Understood
· To Be Respected

Moment of Truths
· seeing your company through customer’s eyes
· pay attention to details

Quality Service’s RATER Factors:

Understand Customer’s Behavioral Styles

Great Customer Service is Pro-active and keeps on getting better Innovate.

Service is from the HEART.

Since the class has so much information, I have just summarized several important points to share.
Group photo with teacher and classmates.


From Peopleware to Human Sigma

“Peopleware Productive Projects and Teams” (Doret House, 1987) by Tom DeMarco and Tim Lister introduced topics: team gelling, group chemistry, corporate entropy, flow time, “teamicide” and workspace theory (for optimization). It is a popular book about project management of software development engineering and suggested that “sociology” matters more than technology or even money. The main message is to focus on people, not processes or products. How many organizations take the composition and freedom of the team seriously? Many large organizations still tend to treat technical staff as fungible, and small organizations often end up with critical product knowledge in the skull of a single individual!

Peopleware was a bit of a shock for many in the IT profession, for they had been so focused on tools and technology and process that lost sight of the human element of software development. However people are still a key factor in software development.

After “Peopleware”, John H. Fleming, Curt Coffman and James K. Harter (2005) introduced “Human Sigma”, which focuses on reducing variability and improving performance. They recognized employee-customer encounter is the factory floor of sales and services. Moreover, people base their decisions on a complicated mixture of emotion and reason, indicating that emotions may play a larger role than analysis. Using Six Sigma approach to measuring and managing the quality of the employee-customer interaction needs to take customers’ emotions into account.
The following dimensions assess the emotional nature of customers’ commitment.
Does this company always deliver on its promises?
Are its people competent?
Does this company treat me the way I deserve to be treated?
If something goes awry, can I count on the company to fix it fast?
It is a sense of positive identification with the company.
Is the company irreplaceable in my life and a perfect fit for me?

Every interaction between an employee and a customer represents an opportunity to build that customer’s emotional connection or to diminish it.

The relationship among employee attitudes, customer requirements, and financial performance are:
“Employee attitudes affect customer attitudes, and customer attitudes affect financial performance.”

The photo is taken in the first class of MTR today. If you are the staff of MTR, how do you treat this customer? (That’s employee-customer encounter.)

Fraser S., Boehm B., Boroks F. Jr. DeMarco T., Lister T., Rising L. & Yourdon E. (2007) “Retrospective on Peopleware” 29th International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE’07 Companion) IEEE.

Fleming J.H., Coffman C. & Harter J.K. (2005) “Manage your human sigma” Harvard Business Review, July-August 2005, pp107-115.


Visit Biotech Labs and its Safety Measures of different Universities in Hong Kong

I visited PCR Lab in CityU on 23 Nov 2006. I learnt the PCR process as follows:

Step 1: Cell Line (Incubation) & DNA preparation (Centrifuge)
Step 2: Extract DNA/RNA from Genome
Step 3: Run PCR Thermocycler (Magnify)
Step 4: Gel Electrophoresis (Quality & Quantity)
Step 5: DNA Sequencing
For DNA Clip, using Microarray Spotter

In CityU, there is an independent safety office to take care all laboratory safety affairs. When I was a research student in CityU, I needed to attend a “Program for Workshop on Laboratory Safety” (I attended the course on 29 May 1996 and the course was compulsory to all research students who were working in laboratory environment).
The program included the following topics:
· OSH Principles & Risk Assessment
· Emergency Procedures
· Safety Resources: Information; Preventive; Emergency & Training
· Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
· Chemical Safety
· Chemical Waste Disposal
· Laser Safety
· Compressed Gases & Cryogenic Liquids Handling
· Electrical Safety
· Mechanical Safety
· Non-ionizing Radiation Safety
· Ionizing Radiation Safety & Waste Disposal
· Biological Safety & Waste Disposal

Moreover, I visited HKBU’s Biotechnology laboratory and Dangerous Good Storage on 7 April 2008. They shared their emergency responses to handle chemical spill and their electronic chemical stock management system. A trolley for chemical delivery is designed to hold each container separately so as to avoid breakage and spillage.

On 25 April 2008, I visited Molecular Biology and Biotechnology Instrument Laboratory in CUHK. They briefed their laboratory safety practices to us and smart card was employed to identify and monitor each access in laboratories. It is for safety and security consideration. In addition, handling practices of chemical spillage / waste was shared.

Recently, I visited several laboratories in HKUST. They shared their experience in pharmaceutical research and biotechnology laboratory practices.

After visiting several laboratories in different universities in Hong Kong, I have discovered some common measures in safety aspects and summarized as follows:

1) Awareness training is very important
2) Individual discipline is the most important to avoid accident
3) Centralized safety / security office to align working practices in all laboratories of university
4) Facility management should be involved for safety aspect during laboratory design.
5) Any change of the use in laboratory should be discussed by three parties, namely facility office, safety office and user representative.


Staff Motivation Snapshot

I would like to share my team’s honor on earning the company’s performance award on 5th August 2008 for achieving ISO 27001 Information Security Management System in IC Design Centre and IP Servicing Centre in Feb 2008. The following statement in press release is summarized our contribution.

“Intellectual property in technological advances is the hallmark of innovation. Achieving this milestone of complying with the ISO 27001 standard, from infrastructure design to operation level at ICDC and IPSC, is the solid proof of our effective and robust security measures in place to protect customer’s IP. The increased protection of information and intellectual property demonstrated by compliance with this standard complements Hong Kong’s legal protection of intellectual property while reinforcing Hong Kong’s position as a leader in IP protection within Asia” said Ir. S.W. Cheung, Vice President of Business Development and Technology.

After obtained staff performance award, I would like to discuss about staff motivation.
It is obviously that unmotivated staff is more than just lazy staff. They are usually not proactive and are afraid to make decisions.
"The more you work, the more mistakes you make. So don't do anything unless you have to. And even then, do as little as possible."

The following items could be the reasons:
· Office politics
· Repetitive, simple tasks all the time
· Unclear instruction
· Organizational vision, mission and values not clearly communicated
· Vague and contradicting instructions
· Unnecessary rules
· Unproductive meetings
· Unfairness
· Lack of information
· Discouraging responses
· Tolerance of poor performance
· Over-control
· No recognition of achievements by the community

Sometime, people claimed: "That guy is dead wood. He is on maxi. Nothing we can do about him." But I believed: “Everybody can be motivated, the question is how.”

There are four common factors of motivation including “Worthwhile Work”, “The Power of Acknowledgement”, “Your Personal Credibility” and “Working Through People”.

Worthwhile Work:
People are motivated because they know that their work is worthwhile or when they experience their work as meaningful.
The Power of Acknowledgement:
Motivation comes from an act of recognition, a word of encouragement, or a sense of respect. It is the power of acknowledgement that brings enthusiasm to worthwhile work.
Your Personal Credibility:
Supervisors must provide a stimulating and open environment in which their employees feel comfortable to make suggestions. They should work with their employees to refine a rough idea or even draft a totally new suggestion for improvement.
Working Through People:
The basic principle underpinning motivation is that if staff are managed effectively, they will seek to give of their best voluntarily without the need for control through rules and sanctions - they will eventually be self-managing.

The staff performance award is one of staff recognition schemes. It covers two of the four motivation factors, which are Worthwhile Work and The Power of Acknowledgement. In my experience, as a supervisor, he must understand his staff’s ability and know his staff concerns. How does he link up such concerns into job objectives? Supervisor should fill the gap of his staff work performance and reduce the gap through effective training.

My certificate of performance recognition

For more information on staff motivation, please visit http://www.csb.gov.hk/hkgcsb/hrm/e-motivation/e-purpose.htm.


Seminar on ISO 9001:2000 UPGRADE to 2008 Version & Secure your information with ISO 27001

The seminar was co-organized by HKSQ and HKSTP with the support of TQM, HKQMA and HKIE MIE Division on 1st August 2008. There were 3 topics and an open discussion forum for exchanging ideas with different participants. The event was very successful with more than 100 participants and I would like to summarize the whole process for memory.

The agenda is attached for your reference.
In the beginning, Dr. Albert Tsang (The chairman of Hong Kong Society of Quality) introduced HKSQ background. Then I introduced services provided by Technology Support Centre (TSC) of Hong Kong Science and Technology Park, which has ISO 9001 certified. Moreover, IC Design Centre (ICDC) and IP Servicing Centre (IPSC) in TSC have got ISO 27001 certification.

The first speaker was Dr. Aaron Tong, who is an observer of the ISO/TC-176 Committee. He explained the differences of ISO 9001 requirements, between 2000 and 2008 (draft) version.

He summarized some main changes as follows:
1. To remove “Terms and definitions”
2. To add the importance on outsourced processes
3. To clarify record is a kind of documents
4. To affirm Management Representative shall be a member of the organization’s management
5. To consider the necessary competence of employees which affecting conformity to product requirements
6. To add Information System in the clause of Infrastructure
7. To consider the preservation of product during design and development status
8. To include personal data into customer property
9. To confirm the ability of computer software which satisfy the intended use
10. To define the controls and responsibilities for dealing with NC product

Dr. Aaron Tong also told us “What’s Next in Quality Management?” The following two points will be as part of quality management.
1. Work on time, speed and agility
2. Deal with innovation
The second speaker was Mr. William Wong, who is product manager in HKQAA. His topic was “Secure Your Information with ISO 27001”. He introduced the core elements of information security management, which assure the information asset’s confidentiality, integrity and availability.Then he emphasized the consequences of failures of information security.

After that, he introduced the family of ISO 27000:
· ISO/IEC 27000 Fundamentals and vocabulary
· ISO/IEC 27001 ISMS - Requirements
· ISO/IEC 27002 Code of practice for information security management
· ISO/IEC 27003 ISMS implementation guidance (under development)
· ISO/IEC 27004 Information security management measurement (under development)
· ISO/IEC 27005 Information security risk management
· ISO/IEC 27006 Requirements for bodies providing audit and certification of information security management systems

The following was several key points in risk assessment and risk treatment:
· To assess, within the scope of certification, the risk levels of various types of information assets are facing
· To device corresponding controls and measures, including cost considerations, to lower the levels of risk to acceptable levels
Two terms are important. They are “Threat” and “Vulnerability”.
Threat means “any event which could have an undesirable impact” or “a potential cause of an unwanted impact to a system or organization”.
Vulnerability means “absence or weakness of a risk-reducing safeguard, to allow a potential threat to occur with greater frequency, greater impact, or both” or “Any weakness, administrative process, or act or physical exposure that makes an information asset susceptible to exploit by a threat”.

He also introduced the cost of information security and Plan-Do-Check-Act approach for Information security management system.

The last speaker was myself and I shared experience for achieving ISO 27001 certification in this year. Our risk assessment is employed the tools “Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA)” in which risk is calculated: Risk Priority Number (RPN) = Severity (S) * Occurrence (O) * Detection (D). We have reviewed the risk on 133 Control Points (ISO 27001) and 9 findings from external audits, as well as, 95 risk assessment items from operations flow. Moreover, we also modify FMEA to combine with Information Asset Evaluation in which our information asset’s confidentiality, integrity and availability are considered. I also shared the experience on preparing Statement of Applicability (SOA), developing Supplementary ISMS Manual, establishing ISMS document system and integrating systems between ISO 9001 and ISO 27001. Lastly, I showed our future upgrade plan to extend ICDC and IPSC service to the worldwide.
After all speakers’ presentation, open discussion forum was modulated by Dr. Samson Tam. Precipitates raised the following questions:
· how to achieve the new ISO 9001 standard
· why many companies certified ISO 9001 but performed badly
· how popular of ISO 27001 in HK
· what is the initial steps for SME to start ISO 27001

Mr. Lotto Lai and Dr. Albert Tsang represented HKSTP and HKSQ respectively, to present souvenirs to all speakers.
To organizer Dr. Albert Tsang
To organizer Mr. Lotto Lai

To speaker Dr. Aaron Tong

To speaker Mr. William Wong

To modulator Dr. Samson Tam

Photos for all speakers and organizers

After the seminar, HKSQ ex-co member took photos in HKSTP.


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