INTERNATIONAL. We present the latest highlights from The Front Line, our regular e-Zine column that champions customer service excellence in travel retail.

The column explores how the airport retail experience is brought to life by individuals representing the leading industry companies.

Elcy Abrego

Employee: Elcy Abrego

Role: Store supervisor

Employer: Dufry Santa Cruz (Bolivia)

Time in job: Five years

Employer’s comments: Elcy joined Dufry five years ago as a cashier. Back then she did not have much experience and had never worked in that area, but in just a few weeks she acquired the necessary knowledge and skills and became the best cashier in the Santa Cruz operation. In 2012, thanks to her operational skills, she began training to be a head cashier. But she had a major challenge – to develop leadership and coaching skills. She had no previous experience in these, and was not sure if she could acquire them.

After much dedication and taking part in training programmes she managed not only to develop these skills, but today is supervising an entire store. Her team is the top-performer in the entire operation. These excellent sales results were achieved through the support and motivation that Elcy gives her staff every day.

Elcy’s comments: “I think the best way to describe my attitude towards Dufry is that I feel in love with the company. I love the work we do, and I am very grateful for the opportunities and experiences I’ve had these past five years.

“I remember when I started I was a person who was very afraid to change, partly because I did not trust in myself. But thanks to the training and support I received at Dufry, today I love new challenges – and I realise that I still have much more to learn. My professional growth has been wonderful, but I think the personal growth I have achieved has been even better.”

Eva Nafeesa Aceron

Employee: Eva Nafeesa Aceron

Role: Sales assistant

Employer: Dubai Duty Free

Time in job: 16 years

Employer’s comments: Eva started working for Dubai Duty Free in April 2000. She has done it all, from active selling to maintaining good visual merchandise in display, working in the back-up store, and facilitating on-thejob-coaching to her peers. One thing that makes Eva such a valuable employee is her constant belief that our customers are very important, and they always come first.

She makes sure that no passenger is left ignored at any time in her area. Her main goal as a sales assistant is to practise integrity selling, and good team rapport and professionalism. She always puts her full energy into achieving her sales target. She is the epitome of what a dedicated employee is all about. Eva is currently assigned to the luxury watches area, but she has also experienced working in other shops. She consistently takes complete ownership of her shop.

Eva always strives to improve her selling skills and ensure that she is knowledgeable about all her products. She has been an excellent example to all of our staff, and never hesitates to lend a helping hand to colleagues and newly joined staff. Eva has been the recipient of numerous service commendations from our customers, and was awarded no less than four ‘Gotcha’ stars in 2014. She has completed 16 years of service in the company and still stands strong in her commitment to her responsibilities.

Eva’s comments: “My personal motto is ‘To deliver world class customer service with integrity and honesty’.

“I love coming to work because I treasure my job. No matter how demanding it is, working with Dubai Duty Free had made me realise my dreams not only for myself but for my family back home.”

Sadie Coulter

Employee: Sadie Coulter

Role: Beauty ambassador, The Loop Cork Airport

Employer: ARI Ireland

Time in job: 16 years

Employer’s comments: Sadie has worked at Cork Airport since 2000. She is a valued and popular member of our beauty team at The Loop, and enjoys a great rapport with her colleagues and customers. Sadie excels at selling, and recently attended an ARI advanced selling skills course to learn some new techniques and share some tips with colleagues from across the wider ARI estate.

It didn’t take long for Sadie to put into practice what she learned on the course. Within a couple of weeks she had made a sale of €4,500 worth of perfume & cosmetics to one female customer. This was an exceptional achievement considering Sadie managed to upsell the customer on a number of products, as well as adding some additional items to her basket.

Upselling and add-ons are a key part of the advanced selling skills programme, so it was pleasing to see it being put into practice with spectacular results. The intensive training course is part of ARI’s commitment to invest in its existing talent to help build their capability in the delivery of outstanding customer service. Every staff member and manager at The Loop will have the opportunity to complete the training in the coming months – and it is hoped they will all be as successful as Sadie.

Sadie’s comments: “I love all aspects of retailing and in particular the great buzz around the airport at this time of year. But my real passion is dealing with people and making that sale. I really enjoy advising them on the best perfume, make-up brand or skincare product to meet their needs.

“I’ve made a lot of good friends here at The Loop over the years, and there’s a great sense of camaraderie among the entire team. Even though our store opens long hours to meet the demands of a busy airport, the varied shift patterns fit around my lifestyle and have allowed me to spend a lot of valuable time with my children.”

María Angélica Herrera Valdivia

Employee: María Angélica Herrera Valdivia

Role: Sales associate

Employer: Dufry Nicaragua (Plisa)

Time in job: 12 years

Employer’s comments: María Angélica has been working with Dufry Nicaragua (Plisa) since 2004. She joined as a sales associate, working in the departure & arrival stores at Managua International Airport, and has held this position ever since.

These 12 years of experience have helped her grow as a person and also resulted in her becoming a favourite among the store’s customers, as they frequently come looking for her when they are travelling. We love what we do here at Dufry Nicaragua, and María Angélica has contributed to our success through keeping our customers satisfied.

María Angélica’s comments: “Dufry has given me the opportunity to grow professionally. I have experienced many emotions and I am very happy doing this job. Also I have been rewarded because I have been able to accomplish my life goals.

“I have learned great things about the leaders of this company, and about my workmates as well. My greatest gratification has been seeing each customer who comes into our store leave it satisfied with my customer service.

“I am very proud to belong to this team and this fine company, and to give the best of myself with each passing day.”

Rongrong Zhou

Employee: Rongrong Zhou (Zoe)

Role: Beauty advisor

Employer: Dubai Duty Free

Time in job: Five years

Employer’s comments: Rongrong Zhou (Zoe) hails from Hunan Province in Southern China. She joined Dubai Duty Free at the young age of 19 in January 2012. As a member of the sales staff Zoe has shown a keen interest in learning and developing her selling and interpersonal skills.

Nine months after joining Dubai Duty Free (in October 2012) she was selected as a beauty advisor for La Prairie. She is target-focused and always ensures her daily target is reached through practising integrity selling. Zoe broadens her communication skills by learning the basics of foreign languages such as Russian, Arabic and Korean. She clearly understands her role within the team and is determined to accomplish her daily tasks.

Zoe provides excellent customer service and is courteous and approachable at all times. She received a ‘Gotcha Star’ in 2015 and two more in August 2016 for her outstanding customer service. She was also awarded the ‘Employee of the Month’ accolade in March 2015.

Zoe’s comments: “I find working in the airport quite a challenging job. Every day I encounter different nationalities with different languages. Language is a barrier; however education is the key. I learned the basics of a number of languages to help me communicate and to continuously make my customers happy and satisfied. I sincerely thank Dubai Duty Free for giving me the opportunity to prove myself.”

Clemente Chan Poot

Employee: Clemente Chan Poot

Role: Sales

Employer: Dufry

Employer’s comments: Clemente Chan Poot works in Cancún, Mexico and joined Dufry as part of the World Duty Free Group acquisition in 2015.

We are recognising Clemente here because of his excellent performance.

He has become one of our best sales people. Clemente knows our products very well and our customers love the way they are waited on by him.

Clemente’s comments: “I do enjoy working at Dufry, because I love assisting the customers and being able to help them to buy what they are looking for.

“I also like the working environment – as well as the way the company recognises employees’ hard work by offering an excellent remuneration package.”

Asmaa Mzily

Employee: Asmaa Mzily

Role: Sales

Employer: Dubai Duty Free

Time in Job: Ten years

Employer’s comments: Asmaa is a good example of a career-oriented employee; she joined Dubai Duty Free in June 2006. Her charming smile and professional approach are her key characteristics in giving first class service. Asmaa’s dedication at work and desire to elevate the quality of her job is revealed through continuously learning and exerting extra effort towards every customer.

For a decade, she has been able to gain more confidence in dealing with customers and not limiting herself as an Arabic/French translator. Her vast working experiences in different areas in Dubai Duty Free have harnessed her skills and capabilities, making her one of the most trustworthy staff members in the company.

She possesses the characteristics of willingness, assertiveness and hard work. Asmaa believes that having a genuine heart towards customers is the key to understanding them well. Her long-time commitment to Dubai Duty Free has earned her several commendations from customers. She was awarded an Employee of the Month award in June 2016.

Asmaa’s comments: “My motto is that ‘every customer should leave my area satisfied and with a smile on their face’. My first class service and winning smile is used to my advantage to keep my customers happy. I believe that when I walk into any shop or mall, I would want to be treated in the same manner.

“It is my privilege and honour to be a part of the Dubai Duty Free family, and to also be an ambassador for such a reputed company.”

Ali Attia Ali Elsayed

Employee: Ali Attia Ali Elsayed

Role: Meet and greet team

Employer: Dubai Duty Free

Time in job: Six and a half years

Employer’s comments: Since joining Dubai Duty Free in June 2010, Ali’s dedication towards his job has been remarkable, and is evident through no less than 36 commendation letters that he has received from satisfied customers. In October 2012 Dubai Airports sent him a Letter of Appreciation for his participation in the Customer Service Week initiative. He also received a letter from Dubai Police General HQ for his honesty in handing over valuable items mislaid by a passenger.

In November 2014 Ali was recognised for his outstanding customer service as a Gotcha! Customer Service Superstar. His hard work and perseverance has been acknowledged, and he has twice been hailed as Employee of the Month – in December 2011 and May 2016.

Ali is currently assigned to the arriving passengers meet and greet team. His role is to welcome passengers and assist them by guiding them towards the arrivals shops. During less busy times of day he proves his versatility and unfaltering dedication by helping to replenish shelves in the stores. His engaging personality cheers up every customer he deals with.

Ali’s comments: “As a member of staff with Dubai Duty Free, hard work, perseverance, sacrifice and most of all ‘Love’ for what I am doing is my primary motivation in achieving my goals. I consider myself fortunate being employed at the number one travel retail company, and believe that a genuine smile can never be misunderstood.

“Giving our customers the best smile and service is what I do every day, so that they have a truly memorable experience at Dubai Duty Free.”