Slack service bad for business

Editorial, Normal

The National, Tuesday June 25th, 2013

 A LETTER writer on the facing page makes the following remarks: “I would like to remind all those who work with any organisation that deals with customer service to make sure that customers come first at all times.

“It is the customer who pays their salaries and it is the clients’ money that is important.”

It is so utterly true and yet, how many times have we wanted to scream such remarks at some offensive and poorly-trained employee of a service provider?

Four letters on the facing page talk about the work attitudes of Papua New Guineans and how they contribute to the way we do business in this country.

The lead letter from which the above remarks were taken details how a person in Mt Hagen, a modern shopper who had used eBay to purchase an item from Malaysia, ended up having it delivered almost two months later by Post PNG. 

And then to the wrong address. It took the honesty of the person who wrongly received the parcel to finally get it to the eBay shopper.

Electronic shopping is about convenience, reliability and speedy delivery. That is the way modern-day business is conducted. Any entity that cannot live up to the expectations of an enlightened customer such as eBay shopper of Mt Hagen falls far short of meeting expectations. 

Out there in the wide world of global competition, such an entity would fall by the wayside.

Then we have Wanbel Niapee who wrote in to talk about customer service at one of our better hospitals, St Mary’s in Port Moresby.

Niapee complains of having to wait for 30 minutes for a receipt even though there were just five patients waiting in line. Eventually, he is told to check next door where, lo and behold, he came upon a group of four staff members enjoying music. He had to prompt one to write out his receipt. 

Customer service was definitely lacking on the day and it is hoped that this was the exception rather than the rule.

Letters three and four point to the state of affairs at Morobe provincial administration. 

One writer complains of having provided consulting service and of having billed the administration for the services in November 2012 and February 2013. 

Four months later, Frustrated Service Provider is wondering whether he will ever be paid, having knocked on every conceivable door and receiving no straight answer. 

The fourth writer, Morobe Citizen, asks a pertinent question: “Anyone in at Morobe office?”. 

This citizen said: “Public servants walk around aimlessly without doing the duties that they are paid for. You can stand at the counter for hours waiting to be served but no one will attend to your queries.”

Needless  to say, he adds the obvious: “It is very frustrating.”

Our citizens are expressing their frustration and exasperation at a national malady that seems to afflict the entire workforce of the country in both private and public sectors.

Whether it is long lines at the banks, at the post office, or at hospitals, it is the inability of workers to work efficiently and serve with a smile that makes all the difference between productivity and lack of it.

In time, as more competition is introduced, workers of this ilk will disappear. 

Even the public sector will shrink as more responsibilities are farmed out to better-organised private firms able to provide far better service.

 This will inevitably mean job losses in the public sector.

Every organisation must strive to ensure that it is never painted in similar vein as Niapee’s description of the  Morobe administration – that its service is “typical public service slackness and incompetence”.