2-min English 兩分鐘英語 

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Hi there, and welcome to Wall Street’s “Two-Minute English”.

How many of you guys work in customer service? When I first came back to Hong Kong in 2001, the first job that I did was working for Cathay Pacific as a flight attendant. Traditionally, people used to call someone working on an airline an “air steward”, “air stewardess” or “air hostess”, but these days the correct term is “flight attendant”. Even before that, I worked part-time as a supermarket clerk when I was studying university in Australia. So yes, I have many years of experience working in customer service.

I think it is great to experience working in customer service because you learn to serve people and control your emotions – for example, even when you’re having a bad day, you still need to smile and be professional towards your customers. You learn to eat humble pie, which means you have to deal with customers complaining, giving you attitude, and scolding you etc. for something that was probably not even your fault. Over time, you learn that they are venting out their frustrations at the company and not at you personally. But it isn’t always easy. However, I do believe that working in customer service helps to build your character.

One common pronunciation mistake that I hear many people working in customer service make in Hong Kong is the phrase: “How may I help you?” Many people, when they say this quickly, end up saying: “How may I HEP CHU?” To avoid this, practise saying “help” and “you” very quickly until you can get rid of the “ch” sound. It should sound something like “HEL-PIU” – so – “How may I help you?”

Well, that’s all for this week’s “Two-Minute English”. Bye-bye.