Hong Kong has one of the most sophisticated and successful telecommunications markets in the world. Naturally then, telecom companies want the best frontline sales team on board to offer existing and potential customers the best available services.
"New handset deals, tariff plans, roaming rates, mobile internet packages and multimedia services all factor into a customer's decision to sign up with a service provider," says Wilson Hon, director of human resources, Hong Kong CSL Limited.
It is therefore fundamentally important for frontline sales staff to have a sound knowledge of the products and services CSL has on offer, and a clear grasp of where competitors stand in the industry.
"As the telecoms sector becomes more complicated, recruitment and retention of quality people will remain a major challenge for employers," Mr Hon notes.
Staff turnover rate at CSL is considerably lower than the industry average because appropriate tools are deployed to retain quality staff. "We provide all staff with thorough training, listen to their feedback and offer our associates a supportive and appreciative working environment," Mr Hon explains. "These are the keys to retaining existing people and attracting potential talent because word travels fast within the industry when staff are respected as professionals."
Meanwhile, achieving sustainability for healthy business growth; and a commitment to valuing staff as the company's best asset remain a focal point in CSL's success.
Staff training, in particular, is vital. Mr Hon stresses, "Anyone starting in a frontline position is required to undergo a three-day induction programme. The aim is to equip fresh employees with product and service knowledge." Additionally, recruits normally spend half a day at a CSL shop to soak up the company's culture. In order to provide guidance for new frontline employees, senior staff members are assigned as mentors to assist in everyday situations.
CSL offers well-structured training programmes, with an emphasis on sales skills and language proficiency. Mr Hon explains, "We regularly provide sales staff with training programmes to impart the knowledge required to conduct business transactions in an informative way. We have also appointed a language school to develop a six-month language programme for our retail personnel."
To boost staff motivation, the company creates a harmonious and rewarding working environment. "We want recognition and appreciation for our employees. Therefore, we encourage and nominate outstanding staff to participate in internal or public competitions," Mr Hon reveals.
Recently, Derek Yeung, a CSL shop supervisor took home an Outstanding Young Salesperson Award by the Hong Kong Management Association. Launched in 1985, the award aims to recognise distinction in promising young salespeople.
"I was honoured to be nominated by the company to take part in the competition and I received ample training from CSL in my quest to reach the final," Mr Yeung says. "Our company places heavy emphasis on creating growth opportunities for staff. Various in-house training programmes covering personal grooming, sales techniques, product knowledge, market analysis and language proficiency are regularly organised. Junior sales team members can visualise their careers. Successful salespeople are invited to attend retail supervisor development programmes and after completion, they can then benefit from greater promotional opportunities."
Outgoing young people who enjoy facing challenges head on should consider a career in the fast-growing telecommunications field. Mr Yeung stresses that aspirants who come on board will not be disappointed by the long-term and rewarding career ahead of them.
Mr Hon agrees. "In order to attract quality young people to CSL, we have recently rolled out a graduate trainee programme. CSL is fully committed to providing staff with complete support and attractive career prospects," he concludes.