11 November 2019
By Elaine Murphy
Cork City enjoyed fantastic success at the Retail Excellence Awards held in the Great Southern Hotel Killarney at the weekend, being named Ireland Friendliest City for 2020. Two city centre shops also picked up awards for their commitment to the customer.
The Friendliest Place competition is the central part of the Retail Excellence Annual Awards, which were established in 1997 to promote best practice and encourage the highest standards in the Irish retail industry. Since then the awards have grown to become the largest and most prestigious retail awards in Ireland.
Lord Mayor, Cllr. John Sheehan said ‘Here in Cork City, we decided to put the customer at the heart of everything we do and it is amazing to already see such recognition of our combined efforts as Cork is named as Ireland’s Friendliest City. Earlier this year we launched the Cork City Customer Service Charter, the first of its kind in Europe, and last week, almost 400 frontline staff from retail and hospitality businesses across the city attended an inspirational customer service training session in the Everyman Theatre”.
As part of the awards, local authorities across the country nominated local retail businesses who were independently assessed on their friendliness. Cork enjoyed triple success on the night with long-established independent book store, Vibe and Scribes, winning best national bookstore and Nano Nagle Place winning best visitor store.
Head of Local Enterprise office, Cork City, Paul Mc Guirk, said ‘ Cork City Council and the Local Enterprise Office has worked very closely with the City Centre Forum over the last few years to make the city a centre of customer service excellence. Together, we have run two training programs, developed a customer service charter with the support of CIT School of Business and held a number of other customer service events. Last week, we hosted international customer service expert, Alf Dunbar, for a hugely successful training session. We believe this award is the culmination of this collaborative work and the commitment of all involved. The national awards for Vibes and Scribes bookshop and Nano Nagle Place, are also richly deserved and I am particularly delighted for Joan Lucey of Vibes and Scribes who has been one of the main advocates of this overall initiative.’