CHOW Yee Wah

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This experience showed me how important it is to remain calm and collected and to be resilient in the face of negativity.

High-quality products alone are not always enough when it comes to retaining customers. A successful company also has to provide top-notch customer service, and that became clear to Chow Yee Wah during a six-week internship at Mainetti’s office in Ho Chi Minh. She came to appreciate how good customer service can be just as important as the actual product in winning clients and generating repeat business. Headquartered in Italy, Mainetti specializes in high-end garment packaging and display accessories, including clothes hangers and eco-friendly packaging products. Chow’s internship was part of the “YIC X OUHK Internship Programme in Newly Industralised Country – Vietnam” jointly organised by the Hong Kong Young Industrialists Council and OUHK.

Although assigned to the marketing department, she was involved in a diverse range of office duties from the outset. That gave her first-hand experience of what a service-oriented enterprise has to do to ensure customer satisfaction. She noted in particular that the office, located at the heart of Vietnam’s thriving commercial hub, was akin to a “one-stop-shop” service provider. Whenever customers raised product-related issues, Mainetti executives took a proactive approach and addressed things swiftly. There was also a clear mechanism for handling complaints, which involved sending formal written replies.

 

“I was fully immersed in the entire process,” Chow says. “I learned to draft letters that dealt with complaints. You have to be meticulous and use very exact wording. When I came across anything that needed internal clarification, I generally used Skype messaging to communicate with my supervisor. The messages were seen by all members of the team, so they could also chip in with advice.”

Sometimes these letters led to a face-to-face meeting with the customer. Chow was impressed by how well the Mainetti executives prepared prior to such meetings. “The meetings might be quite informal, but I could sense the executives were sincere in wanting to communicate openly and focus on solving problems,” she says. “This experience showed me how important it is to remain calm and collected and to be resilient in the face of negativity.”

Besides handling complaints, Chow was able to learn about the firm’s operations and how they managed a fast-growing e-commerce division. She also saw how things were coordinated with the material sourcing team for follow-up as well as for marketing and product promotion. “This was my first exposure to the administrative functions of a manufacturing company,” she says. “I now consider working for a manufacturer as a good career option.”