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By Graham Potter | Sunday, December 17, 2017

Graham Potter writes a weekly column for the Sunshine Coast daily. Due to demand from those having trouble accessing the paper these columns are now also published on HRO courtesy of the Sunshine Coast daily.

Observing racing in Hong Kong first hand during their International race-day at Sha Tin last Sunday for the first time was quite an experience.

I had arrived earlier in the week with three particular objectives in mind ...

To see how the likes of supreme trainers such as Aidan O’Brien and John Size went about their business of preparing and presenting their horses for action on the day

To see how several of the world’s best jockeys plied their trade and, last but not least ...

... to observe how the Hong Kong Jockey Club, with their famous reputation, handled their biggest race day which attracted 92 000 spectators with a race-day turnover of HK$1.6 billion.


The horses were great. Watching Group 1 winners from multiple countries around the world, in work and then racing, brings a certain edge to proceedings and the trainers were as courteous as they are capable.

But it is one aspect of the Jockey Club’s performance that I really want to talk about.

Yes, I know they have all of the money in the world to be able to do whatever they want to do. Yes, I know they have protected exclusivity on the gambling dollar ... but do you know what they also have?

They have an unwavering mission to serve their customers (read punters) in the most professional and positive way.

If you want to clarify that description, call it an ‘infectious attitude to perform to a superior standard of service’ ... one that encourages enjoyment and seamlessly draws customers into a satisfying racing experience.

That attitude cannot be faked. Punters are too clever for that.

So how do you achieve that genuine, natural, positive cheerfulness and service orientation in racing club staff?

I’ll tell you. You make them proud of what they do and who they represent ... and that critical psyche can only be established from the top down. It simply has to be a collaborative team effort based on mutual respect focussing on a common goal.

There is a core lesson to be learnt there ... and here’s the rub. While most of what the rich Hong Kong club does obviously cannot be duplicated by other racing precincts because of financial constraints, going about business with an ‘infectious attitude to perform to a superior customer service standard’ does not cost a cent.

Not a cent ... meaning there can be no excuse for not working at that level or at least trying to attain it.


Note to race clubs (1): Have you marked your ‘customer service’ performance paper recently?

Note to race clubs (2): After completing (1) get your customers to mark your customer service performance paper. (By customers here I mean the 'bread and butter' regulars, not the once a year marquee frequenting visitors).

Anybody taking any bets on how closely the two sets of marks will match up?

More articles

Customers at Sha Tin in Hong Kong ... happy as ...
Customers at Sha Tin in Hong Kong ... happy as ...
... because they are so well looked after by the club

Photos: Graham Potter
... because they are so well looked after by the club

Photos: Graham Potter
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