Public Sector making use of technology to improve customer service


The Public Sector Modernisation Division (PSMD) of the Cabinet Office is reporting that an increasing number of public sector entities are now utilising technology to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their services.
According to Acting Chief Standards and Monitoring Officer of the PSMD, Michele Gordon-Somers, the public sector has gone beyond looking at traditional concepts of customer service in which emphasis was placed mainly on how customers are treated on the frontline, “being greeted with a smile”, to adopting scientific approaches to assessing overall service delivery.
“As technology advances, as the needs and expectations of our customers change, as our social and economic environments advance, there will always be room for improvement and adjustments in the way in which we, as a public sector, deliver our services to our customers. The customer remains at the centre of every function that we perform, and we have the obligation to ensure that we are primarily focused on assessing how we are meeting their needs, with the aim of providing the most efficient and effective services possible,” she told JIS News.
Mrs. Gordon-Somers further stated that this emphasis on technology has resulted in significant improvements in several organisations including the National Land Agency (NLA), the Tax Administration Department and the Registrar General’s Department (RGD).
She informed that at the NLA, computerised systems have been introduced that enable customers to identify and track the status of their documents from the convenience of their homes and offices. Additionally, the E-Land Jamaica initiative allows customers to use credit cards to access online services thereby allowing customers both locally and overseas to more easily get information and conduct transactions.
The tax offices have also utilised technology to improve access and convenience to their customers. For example, there is online payment of property taxes and traffic fines, while tax returns can also be filed online. Some Inland Revenue offices have also established electronic drop boxes for the convenience of customers.
As it relates to creative thinking, Mrs. Gordon-Somers noted that, that has also been infused into the customer service programmes of many public sector entities, resulting in innovative services being developed.
“The Registrar General’s Department, for example, has established a best practice worldwide, by being the first entity of its kind internationally to offer bedside registration and a free birth certificate to every newborn born in Jamaica since January 2007. RGD staff is present on the maternity wards to register all births, and as a result, we are now in a situation where 98 per cent of all births are registered with a name, and a free birth certificate issued within three months,” she informed.
Meanwhile, the Chief Monitoring and Standards Officer is encouraging Jamaicans to bring their influence to bear on the 2010/11 Public Sector Customer Service Competition by nominating the entities from which they have received excellent service. Persons can make their nominations online at www.cabinet.gov.jm, call toll free 1-888-991-2752 or complete nomination forms at public sector agencies island-wide.
The main categories include ‘Best Customer Service Entity’, ‘Most Improved Customer Service Entity’ and ‘Most Creative/Innovative Agency’.

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