Health and beauty retailer AS Watson Group (ASW) has hosted an awards presentation to honour its best stores in Hong Kong and its 24 markets in Asia and Europe.
Managers of 47 AS Watson top stores were singled out from among its 13,300-outlet network for outstanding performance.
“As one of the largest retail employers based in Hong Kong, with more than 130,000 colleagues, AS Watson Group has been working tirelessly to develop talents in retail and offer career opportunities,” says group MD Dominic Lai. “The average age of staff members in our retail stores is between 26 and 38 years old. To attract younger talent to join us, we have created a fun, innovative and supportive working environment that enables young people to grow and succeed.”
He says all 47 winners had provided superior service to some of the group’s three billion customers served every year internationally. The award criteria include customer service, sales performance and employee development.
In Hong Kong, the group’s home city, there were winners from its four brands – Watsons, ParkNshop, Fortress and Watsons Wine.
Winner Li Yiu Fai, store manager for Cyberport who has worked for ParkNshop for 20 years, says he likes interacting with customers.
“I remember once finding a phone in the store, which I put in a safe place in case the customer returned. He did, and was frantic about the phone because it held lots of precious photos of his young son. He was delighted to get it back, and his little boy later drew a thank-you card for me. We actually stayed in touch and became friends.”
Another winner, Cityplaza store manager Fung Ka Lok, has worked for Fortress also for 20 years. He says one of his most rewarding experiences involved a deaf-mute customer who wanted to buy a camera. “We could communicate only by writing, and we patiently tried to understand his needs. It took about an hour and a half to finally choose the right camera for him. He was really happy with his purchase, saying he was touched by my patience.”
Watsons Wine Hopewell Centre manager Wong Wai Kwong, another winner, says he believes teamwork can help solve problems. “I have worked here for about seven years, and soon after I became store manager, a customer called to say he’d mistakenly ordered the wrong wines. This was a big, urgent problem as the wine was going to be a wedding gift, and the customer had a flight to catch that same night. All my store colleagues put their heads together to work out how to get the right wine to him in time for his flight. We did it. He was so relieved, and we felt like we’d really helped him.”
The AS Watson Global Store Team Award was established in 2011 to recognise the passion and achievements of the best-of-the-best store team in each of its markets. It is held once every three years, with winning store managers invited to come to Hong Kong to receive the award on behalf of their teams.
Alexander Skirving Watson was the first store manager of the Hong Kong dispensary that became AS Watson in 1841.