Elscia Chung had a simple response when asked about why loves her career in retail.
“It’s the satisfaction,” she told the Retail Gazette.
“It all boils down to what I would like from retail service, and also what I would expect – I like to be treated in a way that makes me leave satisfied and makes me want to come back.
“I think that’s the service I should give to every customer… To have [them] leave satisfied, leave happy… it keeps them coming back and it keeps them spreading the word.”
She paused momentarily before adding with a chuckle: “And it keeps me employed.”
Elscia’s career in retail began in her home country of Jamaica in 1995. She moved to the London in 2002 and she not looked back since.
“I came here because I was prompted by my neighbour that the educational standard for my daughter would be phenomenal,” she recalled.
However, it was not an easy ride at first.
“It was an absolute cultural shock,” Elscia said.
“In my first job… I had stumbling blocks and obstacles – immense amounts of stumbling blocks.
”She said the difference in the retail sectors between Jamaica and the UK formed part of her experience of culture shock.
“In Jamaica, it’s not as structured. It’s more of a free-flow situation where you’re thrown to into every aspect and it’s your job as manager and as a supervisor to make sure the customer is satisfied, however you get the job done,” she said.
“Laws and regulations surrounding certain aspects of retail are non-existent, so you need to operate within reason, using your discretion and initiative to get the job done and send the customer away satisfied.”
Elscia Chung (front) with her Doddle colleagues (Supplied image)
Elscia also recalled an incident in her first UK job when a common mispronunciation of the Thames – many non-English people pronounce it phonetically – made a customer belittle her.
“I remember the customer, thinking he put me on mute, putting me on speakerphone in his office and saying to everyone ‘listen to this fool’,” Elscia said.
“But what you don’t know, you don’t know, do you?”
Despite this, it didn’t stop her from rising through the ranks to becoming a staff trainer.
However, most of her career in the UK has been with the retail side of Krispy Kreme, and counts working at the Westfield Stratford City store during the time of the London 2012 Olympics as one of her career highlights.
“It was full on intense,” she recalled.
But after seven years with the American chain, she was looking for a new challenge and moved to Doddle in November last year.
It was here that she would experience what she believes her proudest career moment – when, in April, she was promoted to her current Assistant Manager Retail position at Doddle’s Chancery Lane store.
Not bad for someone who only started with the business five months prior.
“[My proudest moment] would be the day when my manager at Kings Cross called me and said, ‘Elscia, would you like the bad news first or the good news?’” Elscia recalled.
“I said, ‘just give me the bad news first, let’s get it over with’.
“And he said, ‘well, the bad news is you’ll have to leave Kings Cross’.”
Sensing this was rather unusual to be classified as “bad news”, Elscia probed her manager further.
“And then he said: ‘The good news is you’re being promoted to (Assistant Manager) and moving to Chancery Lane’,” she said, beaming.
“That was my fulfilling point on the job. It was a really good feeling.”
Outside of work, Elscia continues to enjoy her life in the UK, and spends time with her daughter and nine-and-a-half month old granddaughter as much as possible.
“She’s the love of my life,” she said.
Do you know of someone who works in retail and deserves recognition for their hard work? Email your Unsung Hero pitch to Retail Gazette editor Elias Jahshan: firstname.lastname@example.org