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AFS examines ways to enhance customer satisfaction
May '13
Elevating service and delivering superior consumer experience were key areas of focus on the opening day of this year’s Asia Fashion Summit (AFS). While retailers and fashion businesses are facing challenges across the globe, there is also ample opportunity for brands to enhance the consumer experience, speakers said. 
In particular, businesses could stand out by providing “differential disruptive service” and focus on Next Generation Staff, Destination Thinking, and the integration between Physical and Digital stores, said keynote speaker Ruth Marshall-Johnson, Head of Consultancy, WGSN. 
Held from 15 to 17 May as part of the Asia Fashion Exchange (AFX), AFS is organised by the Textile and Fashion Federation of Singapore (TaFf) and supported by SPRING Singapore. 
Speakers this year include senior executives from brands like LVMH, Abercrombie & Fitch, Galeries Lafayette, Giordano, Zalora, Bata, Front Row Group, Goods of Desire and many more. 
TaFf President, Mr. Benny Pua, said at the welcome address, “The foundations for success are built long before a customer even walks into the store. Whether you are a buyer, a marketer, designer, or the head of HR or supply chain, you need to be ahead of industry trends. You need to understand how to attract, train and retain good service staff. You need to know how to communicate and differentiate your brand, and build a compelling store experience.” 
This year’s AFS pays special attention to service. Today’s programme included results of a new piece of research commissioned for AFS 2013. Conducted by market research company GfK, the Service First study found that the Luxury retail segment offered the best service – and that service was generally better on weekdays than on weekends. 
Aimed at finding out the strengths and weaknesses in service staff among retailers in Singapore, GfK examined 40 stores. A “mystery shopper” visited each store twice; once on a weekday and once on a weekend, and scored the stores on several aspects of service. 
GfK recommends that stores strengthen training even for temporary staff, design protocols to manage “floating” staff on weekends, and schedule administrative tasks before or after opening hours. Soft skills should also be a key area of focus, said Nehal Medh, Managing Director, GfK Consumer Experiences.

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