Friday, 26 April 2019
E leitioa foi OLP a folasia i malae ma faatino tusitusiga e faailoa mai ai uiga punipuni’olo ma le fa’ailoga tagata o nisi o Ofisa o le Malo.
Service quality and customer service delivery standards within some of the government Ministries still lack a lot of ‘finesse’. It’s no wonder why some of the anti-government platforms such as OLP are attacking a number of public servants and government agencies mercilessly.
Today, I got to experience first-hand the reasons behind some of their (anti-government) frustrations. I walked into the Ministry for Revenue office today bang on opening hours at 9am. All I was after was to obtain a business licence to operate one of our vehicles for public transporation. Simple ? Not so!
I walked in carrying vehicle ownership and consignee documents as well as the fee of $266SAT, requirements that I was told during a prior visit, I would need to bring with me to process my request.
Na amata la’u mataupu o serve a’u e si teine mata ataata ma loto fesoasoani, o le a ou le ta’ua lona suafa. E lei atoa se 5 minute na ma talanoa ai ma si teine i totonu ole isi a latou tama’i ofisa, ae alu ese loa si teine ae savali atu i totonu le isi alii ofisa. I found out later on that his name is Leala (I’m sure he has a surname however I will reserve that for several reasons).
One of the first ‘disappointments’ I did notice with this chap, Leala, was his obvious lack of punctuality. He walked in way after 9am, while I was still awaiting my turn to be served. His desk is right on public visibility, by the service counter.
E iai le va-ogagana fai mai, e muliga ni oli i lo ni foli. Essentially, this can be translated as ‘your body language speaks volume’.
E fai o le leai o si na mata ‘ataata ae na ole fia paū, ae augapiu foi ma se loto fesoasoani o lenei alii ofisa. E le i iu lelei le faatalanoaina o la’u mataupu. Na ou iloa ai foi ii le leai o se tofa mamao i lenei alii aemaise ai o le lipi ona ilafia ona fetuutuunai (negotiate). E tiga ona ou faatalosaga atu iai mo se fesoasoani, ae le mafai lava ona tafa le fa’aali mai o ni ona paoa o iai (i la’u a’u lea maitau iai i la ma finauga na fai), ma fai mai e le mafai ona maua mai i le taimi lea le tali o la’u mataupu.
Disgruntled after a lengthy conversation that was going nowhere, I got up and gathered my documents and insisted on being told the name of their CEO. His response? “Even our CEO will not re-consider nor overturn any of the frontline decisions made at the office”.
Really ? We’ll see! “I don’t think you understand that the reason I’m asking for your CEO’s details is because I’m going to lodge a complaint about your obvious absence of service capability”, was what I said. He appeared apathetic about my remarks.
Still silently fuming and back at the service counter, I assertively conveyed to the next officer on duty at the counter that I refuse to leave the office until I have been heard out by a senior officer in their Team.
Needless to say, the senior officer that subsequently served me listened attentively and was able to grant and complete my request in a fraction of the time that it took an obvious cadet like Leala, to irritate the heck out of me!
My point? I shouldn’t have to take to our public online portal to express this service improvement suggestion . However, the treatment and disappointing experience and appalling attitude I encountered did not give me confidence that my suggestion will be dealt with approapriately without the risk of being swept under the carpet and eternally overlooked.
Time to raise the bar. Leadership and effective management of frontline personnel ought to be regularly reviewed in our beloved Samoa. It begins with a simple welcoming smile!
First impressions can leave an indelible reaction to a prospective client and can also define the difference between delivering outstanding customer relations capable of building a bridge and ultimately result in great revenue acquisition and more raving fans of any institution, whether it be private or government enterprise. This can also be reflective of superb salesmanship.
In contrast, greeting prospective clients with a cold , inhospitable and ‘higher than thou’ attitude will soon harbor and provoke the establishment of a long-term brick wall of resentment, vexation and bitterness that can be difficult to mend let alone reverse.
In essence, frontline staff are critical to determining how an organisation is perceived. Bigotry (faailoga-tagata) thwarts entrepreneurship and must not be tolerated within a Ministry tasked with gathering public revenue.
Ua na o se tu’ualalo. Manuia!
By : Hannah Sila
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