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JIS News

Customers utilizing the services of the Land Titles Division of the National Land Agency (NLA), are pleased with the addition of the ‘express line’, which is complementing the range of services offered at the Titles Office in downtown, Kingston.
Through a complete customer service upgrade, the acquisition of Land Registration System (LRS) with Parcel Data Management System (PDMS) software, as well as mandatory customer service training for staff, the Land Titles Division has significantly improved turnaround times for title applications and other memorandum matters.
Customer Services Manager at the Land Titles Division, Lori-Ann Thompson, tells JIS News that she “has been getting many letters of commendation” from pleased customers, and this is testimony that efforts to “offer first-class service” is not only seen, but also felt.
Whilst a speedier service was a major concern for the agency, consistency and reliability have been major achievements. This concern for faster service arose out of several consultations with its customers through surveys and focus groups, so twinning this faster service with accuracy was a double measure. The division received an average score of 81 per cent for customer satisfaction in its most recent customer service survey, supervised by the Standards and Monitoring Unit at the Cabinet Office.
Indicating that turnaround times had been decreased before, but for several reasons, the measures were not sustained, Mrs. Thompson states that “since January this year, it has been very consistent in relation to our memorandum matters”.
In addition to faster service, she tells JIS News that the changes in service delivery have increased the agency’s capacity to deal with a greater volume of documents in less time.
“Waiting time has gone down from an average of 15-20 days for transfers and mortgages, to less than 10 days in most instances. On average, since February of this year, we have been doing over 90 per cent of our matters within this time frame, and we have been tracking them..we have realised that 80 per cent of our matters are completed within 7 days,” she points out.
Mrs. Thompson explains that amendments to land titles, such as a discharge of a mortgage, notation of death or marriage or change of name on a land title, that previously took several weeks, are now done within 48 hours and in some cases in one working day.
“This has been a big hit with our customers, because they are so happy to be able to come back the same day or within two days and get their completed transactions,” the Customer Services Manager tells JIS News.
Even more, she says, customers may be thrilled to know that they will not have to pay more for their express service, as “we are doing better things for the same price”.
Explaining how optimum service to the customer is ensured with minimal dent in the agency’s bottom-line, Mrs. Thompson explains that “internally, we have made changes in our business practices to facilitate the express desk and in terms of cost, what we have realised is that the quicker we are able to get your transactions out of the titles office, is the more that persons will come in, so the improvement in our efficiency, means that we will be able to generate more revenue”. She says that although 100 per cent customer satisfaction is not always attainable, the titles office, with its open door policy, welcomes all customers. “If they are dissatisfied with anything, we encourage them to come and talk to us and we try and see how best we can satisfy them,” she says. Outlining how the overhauled system reduces opportunity for fraud, Acting Registrar of Titles at the Titles Division, Sophia Williams, tells JIS New that in the past, underhanded individuals could have slipped through cracks and tender illegitimate documents and “beat the system”. However, with the PDMS and LRS software, in addition to unique numbers for customers which are entered into a database, fraudulent transactions can be spotted more readily. Through the PDMS and LRS systems, all documents related to land parcels are consolidated, with less room for fraud.
“Also, there are internal audit trails for investigation purposes and we do get fraudulent titles from time to time, especially when persons present these titles for bail or for documentary proof at embassies. We have several mechanisms which are geared at eliminating these cases and a significant part of this is our reduction in turnaround time, because we realise that the longer you take to deliver a service, the more people will try to get around it,” Miss Williams says. Meanwhile, Mrs. Thompson tells JIS News that despite the recent successes, they have not become complacent, and are constantly making improvements through internal business process reviews. “When you look at land and what it is used for in terms of securing capital and credit and how it boosts our economy, there will always be room for improvement in our service delivery,” she adds. She points out that there are plans in train at the Land Titles Division to implement more improvements, as “we try to introduce something new to our customers each quarter”. For this quarter (September to November), “we expect that we are going to be adding some more transactions to our express desk, still with no [additional] cost to our customers,” Mrs. Thompson tells JIS News. Furthermore, the Customer Services Manager says a further development, which is to be launched in January next year, is a facility where customers can track online and be kept up-to-date on the status of their transactions.
With this in place, she says all data related to a particular transaction will be merged and will be accessible by the input of their customer number, issued with their transaction receipts. Mrs. Thompson says customers will not need to call staff at the titles office, except in exigent circumstances.