Service Excellence and GEMS in Bishan Depot


Last 2 days, I attended Service Excellence and GEMS – Going the Extra Mile Service at SMRT Institute; our training school in Bishan depot. According to a local survey, customer satisfaction towards SMRT is lower than our competitors. That is why every staff need to go thru this 2-day course.

It’s basically about providing excellent customer service. In line with our company’s “Vision, Mission and Core Values”, this course reinforces into our consciousness the need to keep improving our company image and services.

Our company’s vision is “Moving People, Enhancing Lives” and we promise to deliver our mission to be the customer’s choice by providing a safe, reliable and friendly travel experience that is enhanced through convenient and innovative services. Our core values are respect, responsibility & recognition, commitment to the public, shareholders and employees.

Our young energetic trainer Mr Najeeb Wahab relentlessly drilled into our heads until we got headache about the rewards & recognition to SMRT if we practice excellence customer services. It builds up our image, customer loyalty, grows our business and makes our competitors difficult to steal away our business.

The personal benefits are job satisfaction, purpose, happiness and recognition as an important part of our society. In short, we feel proud to be part of the organisation serving the community in our small little way.

On the first day, we were taught about dressing, personal groming, body language, body posture, facial expressions when dealing with our passengers (customers). We need not only show our interest in our customer’s demands but also actively get involved in whatever requests they may request. Even if the demands are excessive or nearly impossible, we still need to entertain them to the best of our ability. Sometimes, customers could be very unreasonable and over-bearing, but we still need to handle them with care. We should not get into unnecessary arguments with them. It’s an art that need to be learnt on the job. No matter how, we still have to face them with a cool, polite but firm temperament. That is our corporate culture and that is the kind of image we wish to project to the customers.

We ought to use the right words, actions and initiatives to creat more positive MOTs – Moment of Truth. We strive for more positive MOTs. So many real examples and cases which were not reported in the press were quoted and highlighted for us to emulate. There were also negative ones brought to our attention hopefully to learn from them.

On the second day of the course, the ever smiling and positive looking Najeeb spent the whole day coaching us on PA – public announcements on board train. As train drivers, we need to make frequent PA to keep customers updated and informed of the status in case of train delay or disruption of services.

Actually for only two days, no expert on verbal communication can do wonders for us. But, Najeeb gave us some useful pointers such as tone, pitch, timbre, speed, pause, flow, volume of speech when making PA. Try not to get too near to the mic and speak at a comfortable pace. Many practices and trial runs were made in the driving cab simulator which were recorded. The trainer and the other colleagues then gave their views and opinions on the play-back of the recorded announcements made by us. If the trainer is not satisfied with our performance, we got to do it all over again! We kept practicing PA on those sample messages over and over again until we got them right. Clear and easily understood messages to customers is the main objective of public announcements.

After 2-full day of “brainwashing”on customer services (GEMS) and PA exercises in the simulated driving cab at SMRT Training Institute in Bishan depot, I must say that there is marked improvement on our attitudes and confidence in making in-train anouncements!

We used to go back to Bishan depot for training and courses often. Few times in a year, we need to go back there for refresher courses such as classroom theory and trackside practical hands-on defects handling of train. We usually look forward to go back there taking a short break from driving. Many old friends and acquaintances from other depts could be found here especially in the huge comfortable air-conditioned staff canteen where the food is so cheap.

I understand that only nominal rent is collected from the stall holders. The stall operators only pay utility and conservancy charges. That is why a can drink costs only $0.80. Coffee is only $0.30. My breakfast of fried mee with an egg and a tofu costs only $1.50. You can’t get such prices elsewhere. Moreover, the variety of delicious food is impressive. It really stretches our dollar whenever we eat in the staff canteen. I’m already looking forward to my next training schedule in Bishan depot.

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“The opinions expressed here are my own and do not reflect the official policies, practices or opinions of SMRT or any organisation with which I may be affiliated.”







About Gintai_昇泰

I'm a Chinese Singaporean living in the Eastern part of Singapore. I tweet on current affairs & inspirational quotes. I blog on issues or events if they interest me. I write for pleasure. I also write mainly for my family and friends.
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37 Responses to Service Excellence and GEMS in Bishan Depot

  1. melbyfool says:

    “It builds up our image, customer loyalty, grows our business and makes our competitors difficult to steal away our business.”

    That last bit there had me laughing. As if there’s a choice?

    • I can’t blame you. It’s quite true in a way. What to do.

    • Competition hahaha says:

      “…..makes our competitors difficult to steal away our business….”

      I nearly choked myself from laughing so hard when I read the above. How does SBS Transit steals away SMRT’s business be it mrt service or bus service. There are absolutely no competition to speak off. Of course, this government has been telling us otherwise. I always wonder why do we keep allowing them to treat us like retarded kids.

      • Ok may be not now but soon it will be. Did you read about competing lines running almost parallel along existing lines? A good example will be the coming Thomson line. Next time, you could either travel on either Thomson Line or NS line from the north to the city. The Eastern regional line is another example. Don’t worry, there will be competition in terms of customer services and also poaching of staff in the railway industry. Hope that clarify your doubts.

      • Competition makes for efficency says:

        @competition – because one has a choice of sleeping in a tent at Jurong park or Ponggol park? Competition lowers cost to consumer mah

        • If you sleep in a tent in any park on a permanent basis, you will be booted out very soon by our super efficient bureaucrats. There is no more free space for you. Don’t forget we are highest population density in the world. Do you think they will leave you alone? Go give a try if you don’t believe what I say here.

  2. Competition hahaha says:

    “…poaching of staff in the railway industry…”
    I interpret this as getting cheaper, better and faster workers from oversea railway industry such as china.

    • The govt has officially announced pumping in $60 billion into new and existing railway lines. Job opportunities are aplenty. Yes, we may have to resort to foreigners if no locals want to join. We need lots of staff to maintain the assets, man the stns and run the trains. It’s another industry. As it is, we are seeing many experienced staff jumping over to our competitors. Previously, there was not much a choice for staff like us. Now there is a choice. Soon, pax will also have a choice to choose which line to travel run by different operators.

  3. agongkia says:

    Who are the competitors?Providing a public service had to be sincere and common sense will tell me that I have to give my best as a service provider to ensure my clients,the commuters a safe,secure and pleasant journey.
    Even 2 month course also no use if I have a mentality of working for money and not in the interest of the commuters.
    My small time kacheng puteh cum poor gian png towkay personally stand in and work 72 hours continuously very often and make me feel paiseh to chia chua and dun meet service excellence.Its much more effective than making me going for that kind of course.See EE O of big companies can operate train to meet service excellence if short of men?

    • Agongkia,
      Our new CEO is taking charge WEF: 1/10/12. There will be more changes expected. Just be patient for more improvements. I’m sure you will see the difference by year end.
      You shld know that in our local context, the in-coming boss is always measured against the previous one. That’s is how we run our affairs here. That’s why we are able to progress so fast within a generation with tons of reserves accumulated. The new bosses must always be better than the previous bosses is the secret success formula proven again and again! When I was in SPF whenever a new OC takes over, drastic changes are made to show that he is better than the previous OC. I’ve seen it many times. I know what I’m talking about here due to my 30 years of working experience! Langgar!

      • Competition hahaha says:

        aiya it is same same everywhere in the world lah. Every new boss die die will make some changes wan lah! To show that they are different. Even if there is really nothing to change they will find thing to change wan lah. For example, change the name of police academy to tracom (short for training command) even though it is just basically an institution for training the ma-da-kia.

      • WL says:

        This is “new brooms sweep clean” syndrome. I remember those scholars coming in to head the stat. board where I used worked. In their 2- to 3-year stint, they need to impress their political bosses who had appointed them and hopefully be able to move on to higher, better positions, with their stars still shining!

        • WL,
          You are correct. This is to justify their pay and promotions at the expense of those beneath them! We are ones getting the burnt of it.

    • Competition hahaha says:

      you cannot compare your towkay with those “kock kock kay” mah! You should know long ago that there are two systems in Singapore mah. One for the “kock kock kay” and one for the rest of us mah.

      • I would prefer to say one for “scholars” and one for “farmers” (Ppl like you and me) ! We are still farmers today tilling our own little plot of land from morning till dark ending with very little for ourselves. We can’t even retire but to till until we drop dead on our little piece of land! That’s our fate and our life here.

        • zack Ali says:

          Why let other people decide your fate….In Malaysia they call it “tukar lah” vote for change..

          • If you “tukar lah!”, do you think it will be better? What if it turns out to be a nightmare? Do you want to play with your future, your children’s future? If you think the risk is worth it, then go ahead and tukar lah.
            Oh BTW, Msia is different. They got lots of land and resources so they won’t perish even if tukar salah! Langgar!

          • reddotsg says:

            Sometimes we hav to take a risk, n giv others a chance, else we will neber noe if it could be better

          • If it’s small risk, no harm trying. But if involves big risk, then we better do our calculation. Some mistakes we can afford to make and learn whilst some can’t. It could just cost your life like that Ferari beating red lights. Is it an accident or collision? I say it’s langgar!

  4. so white so obvious says:

    Interesting! The responses from Gintai is so ……….. pap.
    “….What to do…”
    “….if no locals want to join….”
    “….I know what I’m talking about….”
    “….Do you want to play with your future….”

    • I’m forced to respond to your insinuation. I said many times I’m just an ordinary local Singaporean. I do not agree with the govt’s many policies esp un-moderated immigrant policy and housing policy. That doesn’t mean that this govt is ‘evil’.
      I also do not support a 100% dominance by this govt in parliament and in our everyday life. We are free to choose what sort of system we want for ourselves. Until such time, I will just say whatever is the truth and record my eye witness accounts of what I observe.
      In short, there is no black or white in the real world. Let’s not be naive and brand citizens as ‘white’ or otherwise. I never tell you to support which party and pls don’t come here to brand me also. I believe in freedom of choice and expressions. When I had harsh criticism on some of the posts here against the govt, where were you? Did you come out and say that I was anti- establishment? Taking pot shots like that don’t earn my respect esp if you hide behind anonymity to hit at others.
      BTW, are you aware that I’ve put on record on my blog three times previously I voted against this govt? Two times in Hougang and lastest one in Pasir Ris GRC! So what the fuck are you talking about? I suggest that you fuck off from here if you like to talk cock and sing your song here!

      • reddotsg says:

        Bro, dun be trolled, if u noe where yur heart is, the truth will not come back to bite u, only those with sumthing to hide hav the need for constant control. Remember we all wan to make sg a better place n i tink that is wat counts.

    • ape@kinjioleaf says:

      Rather than saying a common folk like gintai is so PAP with the quotes you provide. Why not say PAP is so ‘common folk’ if you have an axe to grind with PAP?

      We are common folks or deemed to be ‘lesser mortals’ by a PAP MP (not that I agree with the ‘lesser mortals’ term). It’s perfectly alright for us to state ‘what to do?’, ‘no locals want to join’, etc. If you have an issue, take it out with the establishment instead of taking cheap shots with bloggers thereby subscribing to establishment claims of ‘cowboy town’ in the internet.

  5. so white so obvious says:

    wow! Seems like you love using expletives on others whose comments is not to your liking – f here f there, cock here cock there.

    “….So what the fuck are you talking about? I suggest that you fuck off from here if you like to talk cock and sing your song here!” It sounds so aesthetic!

    Hope to learn more expletive words here. Thank you.

    • Yup. Treating ppl like you who got no balls hiding behind anonymity shld be like that. You don’t have the balls to show your coward face and talk cock here. At least I show you who am I and I openly declare who I voted for the past three elections. Unlike you fucking bastards like you got no fucking cock at all. You just fuck off loser! Go get a life elsewhere retarded fucker!

      • so white so obvious says:

        Seems like there is no other expletive that I can learn from here except fucking here and cocking there. What a let down really!

        To show you that I am a fast learner, I would like to use your expletive for your comment above. Hope it is up to your standard……………….I have also been telling the whole world that I have been voting for the opposition after World War II. Who knows for sure, really! So what the fuck are you talking about? I suggest that you stop talking cock and singing your song here!

        • Hey you mother fucker, you better fuck off from here. You want to vote for who is your fucking business. Got nothing to do with me. You are a cowardly bastard! No fucking balls yet come here under the guise of anonymity to fuck around around here. Go elsewhere idiot!

          • SLA Goh says:

            Gintai, I asked “so white so obvious” where the expletives are because I didn’t see them. I only saw them in his comments. Gintai, don’t stoop to his level lah. We know these douche bags and shit heads are pussies in real life hiding behind anonymity and using pseudonyms because basically they don’t have a life and are pathetic losers in real life. They are trolling for fights but in real life, they were born without scrotums and are hence lacking of testicles or balls. If they have any balls they would come out, use their real names, and engage in an intelligent manner, not troll and flame. And “so white so obvious” if you don’t know what a pseudonym is, it is a nom de plume just like “so white so obvious.” Sorry to tax your brains, must be difficult having to think like a real human being and not grunting like a subspecies of skunks.

          • NUSboy says:

            Eh Gintai, cool down leh. This kind of people always have one leh.

          • Roger! I’m already 49 yrs old and yet I could get agitated like a young Turk. What a regret. Thks.

          • john says:

            What that reader wrote is wrong but your response is also not right. Using the F words is fine with me as it is just like hello these days but calling someone “mother fucker” is just so low for me. I thought you were better than that. It is just so langgar!

          • Hi John,
            Thks for your counsel. But sometimes in life, we just have to langgar. If need be, I’ll have to bash his fucking head and I’m prepared to go to jail in order to teach him the mother of all lessons not to fuck around in my territory. No balls retards can fuck off from here.

    • SLA Goh says:

      Where are the expletives?

  6. Pingback: Daily SG: 5 Sep 2012 | The Singapore Daily

  7. patriot says:

    Singaporeans can have real competition at National Level by giving one Political Party 43% and to a coalition of 57%.
    Then, we will have genuine and real competition.

    Many a company nowadays sells their products under different brand/names handle by different teams and creates pseudo or false competitions. Any wonder if a particular brand or product is lousy yet the company is well known for a similar product with a different brand?

    There are also business people who own multiple companies with different names for purpose of creating so-called competitions. Just look at the chain of supermarkets and You will understand. They sell almost the same range of products.


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