Have you heard of the Singapore Service Excellence Medallion?

The award honors organisations and individuals who have inspired a transformation in the local service industry and raised the bar in service excellence.

For the first time ever, you can show their support and vote for your favorite finalist organisation at www.makingexperiencescount.sg.

This year, a total of 17 organisations have been nominated for this prestigious accolade. One such organisation is EpiCentre Singapore.

I visited their store at Marina Bay Sands to experience their service for myself and to chat with their customer service staff.

The first EpiCentre store in Singapore opened 13 years ago at Wheelock Place. Back then, it was the first Apple Premium Reseller Store in Singapore and Asia. There were setbacks initially, but the brand persevered and pushed through with their high service standards, constant innovations and attention to detail.

Today, after several rebranding exercises, EpiCentre is a regional retail brand with 15 stores in Singapore, Malaysia and China, with a very healthy growth from the first year sales of S$7 million through a single store to its current highest-ever half-year results of S$120 million sales in 2011.

Competition has stiffened as there are now more appointed Apple Premium Reseller stores in Singapore and the region. Nonetheless, EpiCentre is able to stay ahead of competition by constantly innovating and coming up with new service offerings.

One such initiative is their EpiAcademy.

Priced from just S$20 to S$30 per lesson and free for registered EpiCentre members, the EpiAcademy offers workshops conducted by Mac experts to train customers and Mac newbies to ease their conversion journey and to enhance their full experience with Apple products.

EpiCentre Training Manager, Nelson Yabut, 32, shared that many of the workshop participants are from the silver-haired generation. A lot of patience is required to walk them through technology and impart simple, but useful skills like using Facetime so that they can communicate with their children or grandchildren who are overseas with their Apple products.

Nelson Yabut

Nelson Yabut

Yabut has been with EpiCentre in Singapore for six years. He loves Apple products and is passionate about his job.

“Once there was this 70 year old woman who came to our shop insisting on getting a refund on her Macbook even though she bought it in the United States. We can’t do that as we are a reseller and the Macbook wasn’t purchased with us.

We patiently explained the situation and found out she wanted a refund because she was not familiar with how to use a Macbook and had difficulties with it.

I was able to direct her to attend one of our basic courses at EpiAcademy and she walked away happy. At the end of the lesson, she was even able to create a simple website using her Macbook!”

“Three months later, the woman returned to the store after traveling around Asia to show us proudly, the travel website she had set up to document all her travels. I was really touched by the gesture and being able to convert an unhappy customer into a happy one. It is experiences like these that keep me going,” shared Yabut when quizzed on one memorable customer experience he had encountered at EpiCentre.

Other than EpiAcademy, another innovative service offered by EpiCentre is their iConcierge service which offers customers technical advice and support for their Apple products, regardless of whether they were purchased from EpiCentre. It is a courtesy service offered to wrap up a pleasant buying experience.

EpiCentre has also introduced the epiApp which brings a new mobile shopping expereince where customers can get the lowdown on the best deals, daily Flash sales, latest gadgets as well as be rewarded with EpiPoints!

Key TakeAway: EpiCentre is able to stay ahead of the game in the retail industry by constantly innovating with new service propositions like their EpiAcademy, iConcierge and epiApp. At the same time, the service staff are all trained to be customer-centric and to put their customers’ first, as illustrated in the example recounted by Yabut.

If you are impressed with EpiCentre, why not join in the online voting to determine the winners for 2015?

For the first time, the Medallion Judging Panel is inviting the public to weigh in, and vote for our favourite Organisations. The votes cast by the public will be taken into consideration by the Medallion Judging Panel and influence the final outcome of the selection.

Show your support and vote now for your favourite finalist organisations of the Singapore Service Excellence Medallion. Vote here: www.makingexperiencescount.sg