Lee Hsien Loong
"Ask any tourist, or even a Singaporean, which country has good service? I don't think Singapore will come immediately to mind.”
Speaking at the Singapore Service Excellence Medallion Awards Ceremony on Monday, Lee cited Hong Kong as a city that succeeded in the transformation of its service industry after the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997.
All Singaporeans have a role in creating a good service culture, Lee said.
And that includes HR professionals. Hiring is the first step in building a customer-friendly company.
Service is also essential to a company’s long term surivival, Dr Marcus Lee, academic director of the Institute of Service Excellence at Singapore Management University
, told the Straits Times.
Dr Lee warned against complacency, referring to the labour crunch.
"Before, if you had an inefficient process, you could throw more staff at the problem and get away with it. Now you can't."
Progress is being made. The overall Customer Satisfaction Index of Singapore rose from 67.2 points out of 100 in 2010 to 71.1 last year.
But the increase mainly came from areas such as finance and insurance. In contrast, customer satisfaction level slipped in retail, food and beverage (F&B) and tourism.
When it comes to service, Singapore may have made progress, but the city-state’s still got a long way to go, Prime Minister