A Star Is Born

Congratulations to all the winners of Excellent Service Award (EXSA) 2020! Here, we speak to Outstanding Star finalist Kevin Lim to learn more about his award.

By Sean Tan        29 April 2021

Providing excellent service is the goal of many in the service industry, from making sure your customers stay happy to having them come back to you again because your service makes them do so, it’s something which everyone in the industry strives for. But what constitutes excellent service and how do we reward those who’ve shown and demonstrated it within an organisation? One way is by conferring a prestigious award as a way to thank the employee and to inspire others in the organisation to do the same too.

Launched in 1994, EXSA is a national award that recognises individuals who have delivered quality service. It seeks to develop service models for others to emulate and to create service champions. SAFRA has taken part in this award for the past 9 years and have produced many employees who have garnered Silver, Gold and Star awards for the organisation.

Last year, for EXSA 2020, SAFRA achieved a total of 41 awards under the Hospitality (Non-hotel) sector with 12 Star, 6 Gold and 23 Silver winners. The 12 Star winners include Lee Yi Ping (from EnergyOne Gym at SAFRA Mount Faber); Leong Kah Foong Cecilia, Nurulhuda Binte Mustaffa and Sri Murni Binte Moonshi Nasiruddin (from SAFRA Jurong); G Pieris Somayasodara (from SAFRA Mount Faber); Hussein Bin Saini, Lim Chun Heng Kevin, Raja Siti Maria Binte Raja Mohammad Reza and Suppiah Banumathi (from SAFRA Yishun); Lim Cheow Hoe Mark and Mathinah Baham D/O Samsudeen (from SAFRA Tampines); and Ismail Bin Said (from SAFRA Toa Payoh).

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Kevin Lim receiving his award at the EXSA ceremony.

Among the 12 Star winners, one has been nominated for the Outstanding Star award, emerging as a finalist for the award is Kevin Lim from SAFRA Yishun. Kevin joined SAFRA in 2010 as a lifeguard and became a senior lifeguard in 2017, and he’s been with SAFRA for close to 11 years. For Kevin, being a lifeguard is a very rewarding job to ensure the safety of SAFRA’s members so that they have an enjoyable time here.

“Kevin is a person who never fails to go the extra mile to delight every customer that he faces. Whenever any help is required, Kevin will assist in creative ways and leave a wonderful impression with the customer,” says Jim Goh, Assistant Manager (Range & Events), SAFRA Yishun Country Club.

We sat down with Kevin to find out more about his feelings on being a finalist for the SHA Outstanding Star award, and also got his thoughts on what constitutes excellent service.

1. CONGRATULATIONS on being one of the top five finalists for the Singapore Hotel Association (SHA) Outstanding Star award under the Excellent Service Award (EXSA) 2020. Tell us how you feel?

I am grateful to SAFRA for the nomination and is certainly proud to be able to represent SAFRA at this platform on a national level.

2. Can you share with us how you got nominated in the EXSA 2020 awards?

The EXSA award is open for nomination at the start of every year. Frontline staff like us will be nominated based on our performance in the past year.

3. Share with us how you feel during the award ceremony? 

I am much honoured to be shortlisted as one of the SHA Outstanding Star award finalist. Being the only five (among all the EXSA winners under the hospitality sector) to be invited for the physical ceremony, there was a sense of anticipation and excitement on stage.

4. What do you feel constitutes excellent service? Please share with us some of your tips on achieving excellent service.

Excellent service to me is about treating your customers like distinguished guests at your home. To me, I always aim to create a homely feeling at SAFRA and giving the best welcome to my customers when they arrive at the swimming pool. Besides that, it is also important to always put yourself in the customer’s shoes. With that, we are able to understand them and serve them better.

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Senior Lifeguard Kevin Lim at his work place, the SAFRA pool.

5. Can you share a few stories with us where you showed excellent service to others?

I believe in giving my best to my customers in every interaction. Some of my more memorable experiences with my customers include: (1) Ensuring a pleasant swimming experience for my customers. For example, there were times when their swimming goggles were damaged before or during the swim. I will always attempt to fix it for them or offer them an alternative. (2) Taking care of children’s well-being at the pool. I recall there was a child who had a phobia of water and the father was trying very hard to help his son overcome it. When I noticed the challenges he faced, I decided to step in to help the child by making it fun in the form of a mission assignment. The boy took on the mission (of locating my lost pet fish) and managed to successfully overcome his phobia in the end.

6. Do you intend to inspire your other colleagues to try for EXSA in the future? How do you intend to do that?

I believe in continuous improvement and learning from each other. I will be honoured if I can inspire my colleagues in one way or another. What I would share with my colleagues is to always treat our customers as distinguished guests, giving your best every day and to show more empathy. Naturally, your efforts will be recognised by both your customers and colleagues.

7. How might SAFRA scale greater heights in service excellence?

I feel that there is always room for improvement to reach greater heights. My personal take is that we should always give our very best selflessly and again, to view every customer as a distinguished guest as well as a friend. Customers can see and feel the difference when we do that. Our overall service level will naturally be improved.

8. Is there anyone you would like to thank for helping you achieve this award?

Yes, I would like to thank SAFRA, my colleagues and my family. This would not be possible without their support and encouragement over the years. I will continue to do my best and I look forward to serving my customers in the many more years ahead.

Kevin Lim (1)
Senior Lifeguard Kevin Lim with his loving family.