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In any industry, good customer service is the sole determining factor for the client. You may have the most posh reception or the swankiest address in town. But if the service you render is below par, that alone can do detrimental damage to your brand.
 
Welcome to today’s customized training workshop for Drew & Napier LLC. One of Singapore’s leading and largest full service law firms, it’s good to be invited back for a training (following my last sharing). What made it even more memorable was a few participants in the audience could still remember me from my last grooming talk. 
 
Even though it was a Saturday, all the ladies in the room were in high spirits. It wasn’t difficult to see why. Offering a unique blend of topics, the workshop ran the gamut from communication training to telephone etiquette skills training. There was going to be fun from the moment it kickstarted.
 
The initial shy moments quickly melted away with the icebreaker games. Not one to follow the norm while training, I ensured there was a good mix of fun and sharing. The ladies bantered, joked and asked lots of questions. That certainly lifted the entire mood of the workshop.
 
I loved the energy of the group when we touched on topics like effective communication and telephone etiquette skills training. Getting them to know themselves better, I exposed them to personal profiling tools like the DISC and went to lengths to explain why knowing the personalities of others is the easiest way to building instant rapport. 

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In any organization, the essence of good customer service is establishing a close relationship with the clients – a relationship that moves beyond that of client and service provider. In the literature, this is called customer relationship management. If you are able to get others to like you, credit must go to you because you have taken pains to understand how to connect effectively with others. People like people to be like them. Birds of a feather flock together.
 
Much has been written about the dual aspects of communication – both verbal and non-verbal. I cannot not agree. And through my demonstrations, I showed the ladies why one aspect cannot do with the other. What’s most interesting is that even when it comes to telephone etiquette training, both aspects still play critical roles in projecting the right impression. Yes, you may not be able to see the other person on the line. But you can still hear her voice. From that voice alone, you are able to tell from the pitch, volume, intonation and speed if she’s happy to receive your call. More importantly, you can even tell from that voice if she’s smiling when conversing with you. To add on further, you can also accurately detect her body language – whether she’s slouching in the chair while talking or simply bored with you and can’t wait to cut the line off.

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First impressions matter. They matter even more for a business. Whether you call, email or simply walk in, all these customer touch-points cannot be neglected. And for each customer touch-point, a different approach is needed for your business to stay ahead of the competition. 

Remember, nobody appreciates bad service. And word of mouth advertising is the most powerful form of endorsement or condemnation. Your corporate image is dependent on each and every staff in the organization. Spare no effort to get everyone in the office to think, act and be the model service ambassador. 
 
Till the next training, have fun everyone!

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Singapore is a food paradise. Everywhere we turn, there’s a food place that’s within our reach. Many a times, we don’t dine alone. Instead, we dine with our friends, family members or clients. Whatever age you may be now, it’s also good to learn proper dining etiquette skills. Like it or not, people notice everything – from the way you dress to the way you talk. They also notice the way you handle your cutlery when you dine.
 
Good dining etiquette therefore helps to establish your reputation and boost your credibility. Think of it like another set of social skills that needs to be learnt and mastered.
 
From the arrangement of the cutlery and glassware to deciphering table manners to starting a good meal conversation, nothing is ever left to chance. There are rules governing each and every stage of dining etiquette. That was the message I shared with the Secondary Three students from North Vista Secondary School when I taught them dining etiquette training skills.
 
Arriving at Breeks City Square Mall, the students were all hyped up and ready to enjoy the three course dining experience. But first, they had to pick up a few handy tips on what to expect and what was expected of them.
 
Let me share the three simplest (and easiest) dining etiquette training tips with you now.
 

Dining Etiquette Tip No. 1: Eat Only When Everyone's Food Has Arrived
 
Wait until everyone is served before starting to eat. Good manners and etiquette cannot be overemphasized. Just because your dish arrives earlier than the others seated at the same table as you does not give you the right to start eating first. Remember, when you eat together, you create meaning together.

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Dining Etiquette Tip No. 2: Work Your Way From Outside In
 
Use your cutlery from outside in. Start with your knife or fork or spoon that is furthest away from your plate and work your way in for each course. If you follow this order, you will not be overwhelmed by the cutlery displayed and use the wrong ones. 
 

Dining Etiquette Tip No. 3: Talk While Eating
 
Do not just stare at your food and eat it. Instead, use this opportunity to get to know the people around you. Engage in small talk while eating. Remember, we don’t only eat at the dining table. We also form bonds and forge relationships. If you are in the business world, you also talk business and close deals.

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Most of the students struggled initially while learning to twirl their spaghetti. The trick is to twirl the spaghetti neatly into a small lump around the fork with the help of the spoon before putting it into the mouth. But with more practice, they all got it eventually. I'm so happy for them.

Dining etiquette is not only for the rich, famous or nobles. It is also for the masses. Leave a positive impression at the dining table and score extra brownie points in the hearts and minds of others. 
 
Bon appetite!

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