Singapore Service Class (S-Class) certification recognises organisations that have achieved service excellence.
NTUC FairPrice (FairPrice) has been awarded the Singapore Service Class (S-Class) Certification by SPRING Singapore. Since the award was launched in 2003, only 135 organisations in Singapore, from a wide range of sectors such as banking, hospitality and F&B, have received the accolade. The S-Class certification is a national recognition for organisations that have achieved service excellence through an assessment of its management systems and processes.
In receiving the award, Mr Seah Kian Peng, CEO (Singapore) of FairPrice said, “We are humbled by this recognition and will continue to strive towards providing quality products at best value and service from the heart. This achievement is not just a result of initiatives undertaken to train and develop our staff but also a result of working closely with our partners and suppliers to create a positive customer experience.”
Ensuring customer satisfaction from the very start of the supply chain
FairPrice recognises that good customer service goes beyond service delivery and includes being able to provide quality products at best value. Product stock availability also plays a part in customer service. As such, FairPrice engages its partners so that customer satisfaction is assured throughout the supply chain; from manufacturing, to handling and delivery, and finally when it reaches customers on the shelves.
In 2010, FairPrice organised its first Partner’s Convention focusing on co-creating a delightful customer experience to get their buy-in to deliver service from the HEART together. The convention was attended by some 400 partners of FairPrice, comprising SME and MNC importers, manufacturers and distributors. Through these initiatives, FairPrice is able to work closely with its partners so that they can be aligned towards a mutual goal of delivering excellent customer service.
The “Service from the HEART” motto is the epitome of FairPrice’s service DNA. “HEART” stands for “being Helpful, Empathetic, Attentive to details and Reliable so as to win customers’ Trust”. The service motto is part of FairPrice’s promise to deliver quality products at best value and service from the heart. This is represented through the three ticks seen on FairPrice’s logo that represent “Quality”, “Value” and “Service”.
In-house staff training and long-term employability
In 2002, FairPrice set up the FairPrice Training Institute (FPTI) and became the first retailer to train its staff under the newly launched WSQ Retail Competency Framework in 2005. This covers customer service, retail operation and management.
In-house training enables FPTI to customise and constantly update training materials. It is also easier for staff to discuss issues and lessons with the trainers after the training sessions since they are readily available within the FairPrice network.
FairPrice staff also receive training that enhances their long-term employability like the Certified Service Professional. The programme inculcates a service mindset through experiential learning and also enhances their employability by providing them with accreditation as service professionals in the Singapore service industry.
Mr Seah added, “As a major employer in Singapore, our philosophy in HR is to enhance the long-term employability of our staff. We recognise the importance of training and capability development, and have ongoing programmes for our staff to constantly upgrade themselves in order to deliver our promise to our customers”.
Multi-retail formats and increased accessibility
Accessibility enhances customer satisfaction as well and FairPrice stores cater to the varying needs of customers through its extensive network of over 250 stores islandwide. FairPrice supermarkets are located in the heartlands and provide daily necessities at affordable prices. FairPrice Finest offers a wide range of cosmopolitan products, and FairPrice Xtra hypermarkets offer a one-stop shopping venue where customers can get everything they need from groceries to apparel and electronics. FairPrice Xpress, situated at Esso Petrol Stations, provide busy motorists with the option to shop on the go. Cheers convenience stores serve the youth market mainly and offer 24-hour convenience. FairPrice online offers customers the convenience of shopping from the comfort of their home.
Systems and programmes to enhance customer experience
FairPrice has a Mystery Shoppers’ Audit Programme in place where external audits are conducted at all stores every month to assess their performance in housekeeping, merchandising and display, and customer service. This enables the supermarket chain to constantly monitor its progress and quickly address issues.
FairPrice also reaches out to its customers through the Customer Experience Management (CEM) system. Implemented in 2008, the CEM system serves as a seamless contact point between customers and FairPrice. This ensures that all customer feedback is recorded and monitored closely and any service lapse is recovered quickly. Since the CEM system was put in place, the compliment to complaint ratio has improved tremendously from 2:1 in 2005 to 30:1 as of February 2011.
Recognition for good service
To encourage a culture of service internally, FairPrice has a number of awards that recognise individuals and stores that have excelled in customer service. These include the Model Retail Assistant Award and Model Team Leader Award, the FairPrice Service Champion Award for individual staff, and the Service Star Award for stores that consistently deliver an all-round excellent shopping experience.
In the past four years, the National Excellent Service Awards (EXSA) by SPRING Singapore has also recognised the efforts of service staff at FairPrice. Last year, the supermarket chain received the most number of awards with 319 staff receiving awards under the retail category.