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New luxury service masterclass launched to improve service standards

SINGAPORE — Amid intense competition for tourist dollars in the region, the authorities have launched a course to help frontline service professionals here raise their game by teaching them how to read customers better and increase their understanding of cultural quirks that distinguish tourists from different nations.

New luxury service masterclass launched to improve service standards

Carrie Academy International's Managing Director Linda Teo giving a speech about the new course, Delivering Luxurious Service Masterclass today (Jan 12). Photo: Emilia Tan

SINGAPORE — Amid intense competition for tourist dollars in the region, the authorities have launched a course to help frontline service professionals here raise their game by teaching them how to read customers better and increase their understanding of cultural quirks that distinguish tourists from different nations.

The two-day Delivering Luxurious Service Masterclass, launched by the Workforce Development Agency (WDA) and Spring Singapore today (Jan 12), will be delivered by service specialists from Carrie Academy International and Global Blue. It will cover areas such as personal grooming, service delivery through brand storytelling and understanding characteristics of shoppers of different nationalities — namely those from Indonesia, Russia and China.

For example, Indonesian tourists typically seek their peers’ opinion before making their purchases and have been observed to prefer shopping with suitcases in tow. This will enable them to discreetly stow away their luxury brand purchases.

The Singapore Tourism Board’s Tourism Sector Performance report for the second quarter last year showed tourism receipts fell by 3 per cent to S$5.6 billion. Expenditure on transportation, food, accommodation and shopping fell, with tourist spending on shopping registering the starkest drop of 19 per cent from the previous year.

Managing Director of Carrie Academy International Linda Teo said she has been served by service staff here who knew next to nothing about the products they were selling. Once, a sales assistant even referred her to a product catalogue when she asked to know more about its functions. In major cities such as Paris and London, frontline service is taken seriously and is of the highest standard, said Ms Teo.

“I think because of cultural differences, serving is not part of our culture. So, it needs to be built and created by making people believe that good service comes from passion and confidence of the product and brand knowledge,” she said.

The luxury service masterclass was piloted with 28 participants from local retailers, such as Reebonz and Cortina Watch, in April and September last year. Three masterclasses will be held, with the first starting on March 31. More classes will be held if there is demand.

The WDA will be incorporating the programme into its Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) System for the retail industry. It will fund up to 70 per cent of the course fees for all Singaporeans and Permanent Residents.

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