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From the Weavemaster...no wounds to stitch

Uplifting Customer Service Standards
By Artibal

The Philippines can still be the next shopping capital of Asia.
In a country where shopping is a favorite national pastime, emerging businessmen may follow good customer service strategies of leading stores to be globally competitive.

Maan Palabrica, a Mabuhay Host certified trainor said during an event in Baguio that customers nowadays are becoming more demanding and discriminating and that is why store retailers have to compete with improved products and services.

Customers today know that they are powerful and that they can make or unmake a business. As professionals, Palabrica stressed that businessmen should now come up with continuing innovations to improve products and services to create more expectations and higher demands.

The Philippine Retailers Association in cooperation with the Department of Trade and Industry conducted a half day forum on Creating Customer Service Standards for the Retail and Services Industries where Palabrica is the main resource speaker. About a hundred entrepreneurs from Ilocos Region and Pangasinan as well as retailers based in Baguio attended the forum.

Palabrica outlined the importance of UP FRONT SERVICE and BEHIND THE SCENES service package and this can be done by increasing value added, productivity and speed and with the businessman looking at itself as a customer.

A basic question that an entrepreneur should take into consideration is when a customer asks himself..what's in it for me? or why should I buy from your store and not from other stores? In answering this, Palabrica suggested pointers that can lead to the increased customer views and perception and these are; efficient delivery, reliability, responsiveness, competence, credibility, security and access among others.

Palabrica cautioned the forum participants that customer's feedback can be damaging to an enterprise and an example to this is when promises do not match the delivery or when a compromise is traded due to the unavailability of the stock ordered.
Customer feedback mechanisms are important for an enterprise to improve itself and so Palabrica reiterated the question which is often not given importance such as : are we serving the customers well in the first place? and what are the facts?
To identify problems and mitigate the possible decrease in sales, Palabrica suggested a constant morning meetings with store front liners who receives feedbacks from customers.

MOMENTS OF TRUTH must be looked at with considerable attention as this reflects the organization and projects an impression of its service. Therefore, a solution must be institutionalized by the businessman and take necessary steps to improve customer service strategies.

Impressions of customers on the store's window displays, product arrangement, the sales personels to the cashier makes an imprint to the buyer whether he or she is treated well or not.

Also during the forum, PRA Vice President for National Affairs Atty. Paul A. Santos gave an overview about the retailers association and he said that PRA is a world-class organization empowered to guide members to attain global competitiveness and make the retail industry a significant contributor in driving Philippine economic development.
PRA Secretary General Evelyn Balmeo Salire later encouraged the forum participants to be a member in order to avail of the benefits like the use of common services, trade information and other facilities that may be established through PRA's efforts.
Among the benefits that members can derive from the PRA are opportunities to become globally competitive where a member can effectively represent the organization's collective interests.
Considered a major sector in the country's recovery, Philippine retailers can still be part of the world's best in setting service standards. Artibal

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