The number of passengers from China and other Far East countries at Helsinki Airport has been on the increase for a while. This customer group appreciates good service and expects to be treated with respect.
Finnair flights bring passengers from Hong Kong and Singapore every morning, while afternoon flights come from Beijing and Shanghai. The passengers are often met by service advisor Wei Cui, along with a Taiwanese colleague.
‘The Chinese travellers need the help of translators, as most of them don’t speak much English. They are always happy to find out they can use Chinese’, Cui says.
Respect is deeply ingrained in the culture
The Chinese appreciate good customer service, and a respectful manner toward people of all ages is one of the most important aspects of Chinese culture.
‘Respectfulness is still an essential part of the culture, and I can see it clearly every time I go back to China’, explains Cui.
‘I believe it will remain just as important, even as the English skills of the Chinese passengers continue to grow. I would advise everyone working in customer service tasks to pay attention to this’.
Respect can also be shown indirectly; the provision of customer service and airport signage in Chinese is one way we do this at Helsinki Airport.
Serving customers in four languages
How can we get to the city centre in Helsinki? Where can I get a Helsinki Card? And hot water for tea?
Service advisors respond to all sorts of passenger queries at the airport. When needed, they direct passengers around the terminals and man Finavia’s airport information & parking service desk.
‘I like the versatility of my work and the opportunity to use my two mother tongues, Cantonese and Mandarin Chinese, in addition to Finnish and English’, says Cui, who has worked at Helsinki Airport since last autumn.
After studying international economy and commerce at Beijing Technology and Business University, Cui arrived to Finland eight years ago and has since been involved in introducing Finnish bands to China’s biggest rock festivals.
‘Chinese passengers usually know a few things about Finland: sauna, Santa, Nokia, and the northern lights. However, Finland’s pure nature and quietness could also do with more attention in marketing the country’s brand in China’, Cui ponders.