23 October 2018
Hong Kong's shop clerks are among the least likely to smile to their customers, the report said. Photo: CNSA
Hong Kong's shop clerks are among the least likely to smile to their customers, the report said. Photo: CNSA

Smile: HK service staff now 2nd to last in friendliness rankings

Hong Kong may be Asia’s shopping mecca, but don’t expect the city’s shop clerks to be the friendliest in the region.

In fact, workers in the city’s service industry are among those who are least likely to smile to their customers, according to a global report.

Hong Kong ranks second to the last in the 2017 Smiling Report on the service industry published by Better Business World Wide, which was based on the assessments of mystery shoppers in 41 countries and regions last year, Headline Daily reports.

The Hong Kong Mystery Shopper Service Association ran the Hong Kong leg of the study, sending 2,000 secret customers on 30,000 site visits across 30 industries.

If it’s any consolation, Hong Kong actually moved one notch higher in the latest ranking, but obviously the city has some catching up to do.

The smiling score for Hong Kong was 57, only slightly better than Macau’s 54, which was at the bottom of the list.

The city was significantly behind China, which scored 83 points and ranked 24th. The global average was 79.

Singapore had the highest score in Asia, placing 15th on the list, which was topped by Ireland for the third year in a row.

Wong Siu-leung, chairman of the the Mystery Shopping Providers Association (Hong Kong), said Hong Kong companies in general lack “the culture of happiness” as they focus too much on financial performances, and as a result employees tend to think that smiling is not necessary.

However, he pointed out that a higher smiling score for Hong Kong this year suggests that companies have been making adjustments.

Among various industries in Hong Kong, the telecommunications sector scored the highest, while the transport industry got the lowest score, especially for taxicabs and minibuses.

Meanwhile, India topped other countries and cities in the Asia-Pacific region in terms of people’s satisfaction and optimism with a score of 75 in the latest Mastercard Well-Being Index, Ming Pao Daily reported.

Hong Kong ranked No. 11 with a score of 58.6, behind China, which was in the fifth place, but ahead of Taiwan, which was No. 16, and Japan, which was at the bottom of the list, the report said.

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