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20 July 2006

Fresh journey at FairPrice

A CUSTOMER-CENTRIC INITIATIVE LEARNING JOURNEY

"Delighting Customers - A Lifelong Commitment"

DELIGHTING CUSTOMERS

Delighting customers - a lifelong commitment that NTUC Fairprice Co-operative Limited (FairPrice) reaffirmed at the fourth Customer-Centric Initiative (CCI) Learning Journey held at the Tampines Mall FairPrice supermarket this morning.  To further enhance customers' shopping experience at its supermarkets, FairPrice revealed several key customer service initiatives it has developed to delight its customers.

KEY CUSTOMER SERVICE INITIATIVES

These key customer service initiatives include upgrading retail and customer service skills and professionalism; ensuring food quality and safety; improving visual communications and satisfying customers' needs and interests.  Please see ANNEX A for more details on FairPrice's key customer service initiatives.

Upgrading of Retail and Customer Service Skills and Professionalism

The service capability of retail workers is critical to the delivery of good customer service.  Thus, to enhance customers' retail experience at its supermarkets, FairPrice announced a $1.2 million investment to upgrade the retail and customer service skills of its entire frontline staff by 2007.  They will be trained and certified under the Retail Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) system developed by the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA).  The training will cover the importance of good customer service, listening skills, personal presentation and service standards.

At the same time, the frontline staff in FairPrice's chain of 78 supermarkets island-wide will be given a new and professional look through grooming classes, like make-up and hair styling courses for female service staff.

Ensuring Food Quality and Safety

Food quality and safety rank high in consumers' expectations.  As a supermarket chain, FairPrice invests heavily in its backend facilities to ensure that the food its customers purchase is fresh, safe and of good quality.  This is another way that it enhances customer experience.  A prime example is its $25 million Fresh Food Distribution Centre and cold chain management system that help to keep food fresh and safe for customers.

FairPrice has set such stringent parameters for itself that it is the first supermarket chain in Singapore to be Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP)-certified to international food safety standards.  Coupled with its Freshness Guarantee policy, FairPrice's HACCP certification gives customers more assurances on the quality of food that they buy from its supermarket.

Improving Visual Communications

To give its customers a more pleasant shopping ambience, FairPrice has also improved on its in-store visual communications by enhancing store design, raising product display standards and improving check-out efficiency.  Eye-catching, reader-friendly signage and price cards are some of the ways that FairPrice helps customers locate, identify and access products easily.  With wider aisles, improved store lighting, and tips on healthy eating and selection of fresh food, customers will benefit from its customer-oriented efforts.

Meeting Customers' Needs and Interests with Lifestyle Shopping

FairPrice's strong customer orientation helps it focus on customizing shopping concepts or dedicated areas that aim to satisfy different customers' needs and wants.  For example, a Baby Lane in the supermarket helps busy parents find and pick up items for their children quickly and conveniently.  For the health-conscious, there are special sections offering up to 40 different types of mushrooms and salads.

To help customers choose the right wine, FairPrice provides a Top 10 best selling wines chart to help them in their selection. In addition, an orange bottle neck tag also provides a short description of the wine and suggestions on the types of food that go down well with the wine.

Dedicating Attention to Service Excellence

The supermarket's customer-focused approach does not just stop at the stores.  FairPrice management dedicates much attention to service excellence by keeping their ears close to the ground through regular store visits and weekly reviews of customer feedback.  The management is also involved in training the service staff so that they understand the processes concerned and the challenges they face, in order to enhance service excellence at FairPrice.

CUSTOMER-CENTRIC INITIATIVE

Organised by SPRING Singapore, National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and partners, the CCI Learning Journey serves to provide participating CCI companies opportunities to learn from one another and to motivate others to embark on the journey towards service excellence at the national level.

"I am glad that FairPrice, as a union co-operative and a household name among Singaporeans, is committed to improving service standards at its extensive chain of supermarkets", said Mr Yeo Guat Kwang, Co-Chairman of CCI Working Committee.  "This translates to better service, enhanced customer satisfaction, higher sales and revenue and happier employees.  In turn, this will contribute to the raising of overall service standards in Singapore.  With FairPrice's service transformation, I hope that more companies will be encouraged to join us on this journey in achieving service excellence so that Singaporeans and visitors will have an even better retail experience here."

Mr Seah Kian Peng, Managing Director (Singapore), NTUC FairPrice Co-operative Ltd, agreed, "Since our participation in CCI in 2005, we have seen encouraging results.  We receive more compliments now, which make up about 75% of our total customer feedback.  Our efforts in investing considerably in both system and facility upgrading, as well as human capital training and development have paid off.  But this is certainly not the end of our journey.  Delighting our customers is our lifelong commitment and we will continue to introduce more customer-centric initiatives to address our customers' needs at our outlets."

Ms Choy Sauw Kook, Deputy Group Director, Enterprise Capabilities, SPRING Singapore, said, "Sometimes, in our efforts to enhance customers' experience at our stores, we concentrate only on the areas that are seen and interacted by our customers.  FairPrice recognises that it needs to go beyond just the touchpoints; it has done an excellent job in enhancing its backend facilities to support its efforts to provide a total customer experience.  For example, FairPrice understands that food freshness and safety rank high in customers' wants and hence, it has invested heavily in its Fresh Food Distribution Centre, cold chain management system and obtaining its HACCP certification."

The CCI Learning Journey is a key sharing and learning programme under the CCI, which is spearheaded by a multi-agency working committee headed by SPRING Singapore and NTUC.  In turn, CCI forms part of the Go-the-Extra-Mile for Service (GEMS) movement that aims to transform Singapore's service quality in the retail sector.  The CCI working committee also includes representatives from WDA, Singapore National Employers Federation, The Singapore Manual and Mercantile Workers' Union, Singapore Industrial and Services Employees' Union and Food, Drinks and Allied Workers' Union.  The CCI is also supported by Singapore Tourism Board and Singapore Retailers Association.

-End-

Jointly issued by:

SPRING Singapore, National Trades Union Congress, Singapore National Employers Federation and Singapore Workforce Development Agency

For media enquiries, please contact:

[For Customer-Centric Initiative]

Goy Kae Lip, Consultant, Corporate Communications Department, National Trades Union Congress

DID:6213 8184/ HP:9792 0650, Email:goykl@ntuc.org.sg

 

NTUC FAIRPRICE'S SERVICE INITIATIVES

One of FairPrice's core values is customer focus. It is not just a guiding principle for our people, it is also an attitude we adopt when we build on our product offerings and work processes. It is within this framework that our service initiatives are developed.

A) Service Improvements

Since joining the Customer-Centric Initiative, we have seen a 173% increase in the number of customer compliments and a 11% drop in the number of complaints received, for every million transactions, from August 2005 to June 2006.

This is a 209% improvement in our compliments to complaint ratio, which translates into an average of three compliments for every complaint.

Results from our Mystery Shopper Audit also show an average score of 85%, even during peak shopping hours.

B) Key Initiatives

Improving Visual Communications

Visual communications or touch points in the store create the right shopping ambience and make it easy for customers to navigate our FairPrice stores and select the products they need.

Among the visual communications enhancements are:

 1) Improved store lighting

 2) Clearer signage, including use of graphics and illustrations

 3) Tips on healthy eating and selecting fresh food

 4) Vertical product display to enable customers to see a more complete assortment from one spot, and reach for products more easily

 5) Improved price cards, considering the use of color and bigger-sized font for easy reading, as well as the use of Chinese language for selected items

 6) Wider aisles

Ensuring Food Quality and Safety

FairPrice spares no efforts in building up our competency in food quality. This is also why we invested S$25 million to build our own Fresh Food Distribution Centre. With this distribution centre, we are in a better position to ensure freshness and food safety by maintaining the optimum temperature for all our fresh food.

Such stringent parameters that we have set for ourselves has also led us to be the first supermarket chain in Singapore to be HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point)-certified to international food safety standards.

We aim for our customers to get the freshest and safest food. We do this through our cold chain management system, where we carefully monitor the temperature of the fresh produce from the time it is delivered to our warehouse till it reaches the customer's hand.

We also have a Freshness Guarantee. Our policy is to mark down fresh food items if they are not sold by the second day, and remove them from the shelves on the third day. Additionally, we even have live fishes in aquariums in selected stores. Service staff helps with gutting and scaling the fish.

Meeting Customers' Needs and Interests with Lifestyle Shopping

FairPrice customises its product offerings and shopping programmes, according to specific customers' interests, such as:

1)Wines Made Easier At FairPrice

   a) Dedicated wine corners

Our wine corners offer a wide range of good wines at great prices, ranging from as low as $16 to the Chateau Petrus at $1,280.

   b)Top 10 best selling wines

Selecting an ideal wine as a gift or for personal consumption can be time consuming. We assist customers on their wine selection with our Top 10 Best Selling Wine Chart. This chart serves as a guide for customers who have little knowledge of wine.

   c)Bottle neck tag

Our Just Wine Club (JWC) orange bottle neck tag not only provides customers with a short description of a particular wine, it also suggests the type of food that goes well with it.

   d) FairPrice Just Wine Club

With more than 2,700 members, the JWC just celebrated its second anniversary. Members receive discount off wine purchases, and exclusive invitations to wine tasting sessions, workshops, dinners and overseas winery visits.

2)Shopping for Baby

   a) Baby Lane

With all baby-related products available in one lane, shopping for busy and first-time parents for their babies is made easier at our outlets.

   b) FairPrice Baby Plus Club

Started in 2002, the Club has about 45,000 members to-date. When a baby is born, the hospital will offer parents a FairPrice Baby Plus Club registration form that they can bring to selected FairPrice outlets in exchange for a welcome gift. The "Birthright Bag" is filled with baby and mother care products and discount coupons. Every month, we receive about 500-1,000 new applications. The Club also organizes activities and programs for its members.

   c) Asia's First Milk Advisory Centre

Set up in collaboration with Dumex, we house Asia's first Milk Advisory Centre. With this initiative, we hope to help our customers make informed shopping choices. The Milk Advisory Centre is an interactive touch screen computer kiosk that will take consumers through various links where they can learn about the different types of milk, get parenting tips and experts' pointers on nutrition.

3)Simply Wellness

   a) Health & Beauty Sections

An AC Nielsen's annual Shopper trends study showed that FairPrice has the highest store equity index amongst all key retailers selling personal care products. This is a reflection of the effort that we have put in the past years to consciously drive the personal care business in our stores. We offer a wide range of personal care products for consumers of all ages and genders. There is even a special Men's Corner offering men's skincare products.

   b) Healthy Eating

For the health-conscious, a wide range of health and organic products are available. Our mushroom and salad corners stock more than 40 types of top selling mushrooms and salads. We also conduct sampling sessions to educate consumers on the benefits of eating mushrooms and salads.

   c) Moving Forward

With a dedicated management team and a committed staff team, FairPrice is ready to continue on our journey to delight our customers. We will strengthen our efforts to sustain the service improvements we have achieved and will look ahead with new plans to up the service level of our staff:

1)Grooming courses for our frontline staff, so that they look professional and presentable and are more confident when interacting with customers.

2)More than 2,500 frontline staff will be trained and certified under the WSQ customer service standards by 2007, with an investment of $1.2 million. The training will cover the importance of good customer service, listening skills, personal presentation and service standards.

 

TRANSLATION FOR COMMONLY USED TERMS

 

1)Customer-Centric Initiative

以客为先

 

2)NTUC Fairprice Co-operative Ltd

职总平价合作社

 

3)Mr Yeo Guat Kwang, Co-Chairman, 

Customer-Centric Initiative Working Committee

杨木光, 以客为先倡议, 联合主席, 工作委员会

 

4)Mr Loh Khum Yean, Chief Executive, SPRING Singapore

罗锦贤, 局长, 标准, 生产力与创新局

 

5)Mr Tan Kian Chew, Group Chief Executive Officer, 

NTUC Fairprice Co-operative Ltd

陈建秋, 集团总裁, 职总平价合作社

 

6)Mr Seah Kian Peng, Managing Director (Singapore), 

NTUC Fairprice Co-operative Ltd

谢健平, 执行董事(新加坡业务), 职总平价合作社

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