Initially, it was the lure of the trendy cosmetics industry and the opportunity to mingle with people that led Crabtree & Evelyn (M) Sdn Bhd marketing manager Ng Su Ying into the business. Later, she discovered it was more than that.
Ng, who is also public relations manager of Crabtree & Evelyn said she wanted to see the business flourish before her eyes.
It is like growing a plant?the final outcome depends on how you nurture and mould it.
After a few years being a corporate financial consultant at Ernst & Young Malaysia, Ng realised that was not her calling.
Being a consultant, I don't deal directly with people. I started to realise I wanted to get closer with people, recalled the 30-year old lady who hails from Kuala Lumpur.
I always wanted to be in a business where I can grow the sales, be at the front line rather than being a consultant doing a back-end job, she said, adding that the fast-moving job at Crabtree & Evelyn had given her the opportunity to be out of the office.
Looking not a day older than 25, her fascination with beauty and cosmetics has reinforced her wish to seek employment in the cosmetics industry.
She had first gone to work for Redual Cosmetics (M) Sdn Bhd under the Estee Lauder brand. There, she learnt the ropes in the beauty industry before moving to Crabtree & Evelyn, a subsidiary of Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd, early this year.
Her efforts at Crabtree & Evelyn have not gone unnoticed. Last month, its KLCC outlet won the mall's Quality Customer Service special award under its Retail Awards of Excellence. It was also named the category winner for the General Retail segment.
The company was judged based on its standards of customer service excellence, demonstrated an intimate knowledge of the business and consistently displayed a high degree of care and personalised attention to the customer.
The mere fact that we got the award has boosted the morale and motivated my staff. They have managed to keep up the good work. The awards meant a lot to us in terms of recognition from other retailers. As we rely heavily on repeat and loyal customers, the award is another form of interaction with our customers. This ties in with our philosophy on customer service excellence. We have always stressed customer service because we believe this is how we can differentiate ourselves from others, Ng told StarBiz during an interview in Kuala Lumpur.
Instead of implementing specific rules and regulations on how to treat customers, she tries to encourage her sales staff to use their individuality, personality and charm to bring in the loyal customers.
When it comes to talking business, the strong-minded Ng is a natural businesswoman.
She sees Crabtree & Evelyn as a unique brand in the market. We do not really have any direct competitors.
Maintaining that its brand is luxurious yet affordable and of good quality, she believes that very few retailers today come close to supplying similar goods.
Also, the range of products that we carry is distinctive in that we do not only have toiletries, but also bath robes, fragrances and food, she said.
Although there would be overlapping of toiletry products in the market, she argued that the differentiation between Crabtree & Evelyn and the rest lay in the ingredients used.
Crabtree & Evelyn started the natural and wellness movement long before it came about. We don't position ourselves as an all-natural product and recycled brand. Having said that, our products are indeed based on natural ingredients. We spare no expense on what we put in our products yet we price our goods, given the quality, at a reasonable range, she explained.
Most significant of all, she said, was its attractive packaging, hence its tagline: Everyday luxury, beautiful gifts.
She sees that her challenge in the business would be to keep up and be able to meet customers' expectations at all time.
Consumers are becoming more informed by day. As we grow, we need to recruit more people and we must be able to ensure that all our sales associates can deliver the same kind of quality service we have been giving so far, said Ng.
Training is conducted formally and informally as practical sessions in a week at Crabtree & Evelyn stores and via classroom contacts.
The company has definitely kept Ng on her toes and she will be kept busy till the end of this year when two new outlets are expected to be opened at the Lot 10 shopping centre and One Utama II shopping mall, Bandar Utama, Petaling Jaya.
Ng looks forward to the challenge. When asked how she rejuvenates her energy, she said: I tend to my money plant, take care of my dog and catch up with friends.''
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