A Palengkera Perception of PH Government Service

Nah! This is not my first and may not be the last. I’m pretty sure many of us, in one way or another, have experienced these same old stories from our so called public servants. Almost always, we hear complaints about the rudeness and inefficiencies of our government employees and the government bureaucracy per se. I was once a government employee and there are some good people I know from where I was connected so I don’t generalize. But we all know that most complains we hear are valid.

I never intend to put a Rant category in this site as it may not be of value to the scanty readers of this blog’s niche. But I can’t let this pass. I wrote this piece just a way to voice out my sentiments and offer some ideal solutions –fancy and ideal solution because they may never be heard or realized soon.  You may now hear the tone of my words, there is a declining trust and confidence of how the government (rank and file up to the officials) works. For many, dealing with government offices tends to be an unpleasant experience, often perceived with inefficiency, incompetence and arrogance. As if they are doing a favor to us. Can you blame me or others if we have that notion? I have had experiences with rude immigration officer, inefficient to none existent system, red tape (imagine a countryside residential building permit that cost more than what a premier city will charge), and what have you. But the latest irked me to the extreme.

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Recently, I had to use my right (or maybe just a privilege and it doesn’t matter) as a PAGIBIG member to apply for a loan (for an irrelevant purpose). Let alone my time and effort in going though the unnecessary process to secure a skimpy loanable amount. First step was for me to  physically line up in their office to consolidate all the previous company I worked for. Imagine my stress in recalling the exact dates where I worked in each. Then the not so approachable staff (we initiated the rapport building as a client) told us to wait for another 2 weeks for the consolidation. As in, manual process-Hello 2014! This was in a satellite office along Ayala Avenue by the way, so I was expecting a level-up system (not that I underestimate other offices but I am expecting a little more). They didn’t give me a reference number but gave numerous phone numbers for you to make a follow-up after 2 weeks. Just so you know, not one phone were attended when we tried to reach them. I let that pass for I still had a profuse patience that time. So there, after 2 weeks of waiting, I filed for the load with all the requirements needed. That time, the staff was moody for lack of a better term. The client he talked to before me was asking about her ID processing and some documents needed and he rather gave sarcastic answers in a condescending tone. Yes, I understand that some clients can be so “makulit” in asking questions but knock- knock compassion and conscience. They just want to be assured of something from the public servant, isn’t it? And I gave my all-out smile when I was called though I just came from night shift work. And true, the staff was not easy to talk to. I got hollow answers like a yes/no, sigh, “I just told you” and some annoying comments from him. Again, I let that pass and just returned some more questions and smile. He cut me short by saying, “Wait for additional 5 days for the loan amount to credit in your prepaid ATM, Next Please”. And so I left.

This morning, I checked the prepaid card and I thought there was something wrong with the amount credited to it. So I went directly to their office again to check my statement as they did not issue a voucher for me to verify. Here goes the conversation with the same staff named Mark:

Mark: Yes?

Me: I checked my loan balance and I need to see my statement of account or a computation of how it has been derived. So he printed a copy of the statement and he saw that he made a mistake with the consolidation.

Mark: “Ay oo, mali computation dapat mas doble yung nakuha nyo”. “ I will ask about this to my supervisor and just wait for my text until Monday”. I gave my number to him.

Me: “Ay ganun ba?, anu kaya naging reason?” Anxious to know what caused the error.

Mark:”Basta sa system, di ko alam”. He was certainly “nakukulitan” na naman. Then he said “ ganito na lng, balik ka uit fully paid mo yan loan mo, pero re-apply ka ulit kuha ka ulit ng documents and IDs. Napasa na kasi sa warehouse yung application wala na ako magagawa”

Just like that, a staff that clearly made a mistake with no compassion and gave a very inconvenient resolution. What kind of service was that? Are true public servants a dying breed? Was it wrong for me to think that most government employees are like this incompetent person? Don’t get me wrong, but the bad eggs in our government tend to overshadow the good ones.

I know some organizations that have improvements in their system and customer service like GSIS, NSO and SSS. Why can’t PAGIBIG and other numerous government agencies? I believe that ordinary citizens deserve better government service than what they constantly perceive.

csc contact ng bayan

Contact Center ng Bayan

As my practice, I can’t blab complaints/challenges without offering (fancy) solutions. I don’t claim to be an expert but here are my thoughts:

Problem: Lacks Customer Service. People are not rained. Employees think more superiors than others.

Solution: Employees should be retrained about the mission/vision of the organization. Give trainings such as Customer Service that focus more on providing empathy, listening and responding to clients appropriately. Evaluate the current job selection process. Hire individuals with compassion and dedication. Employees should understand that their ultimate boss is the taxpayer (ordinary citizens). Create a client feedback form to understand challenges and create action plans.

Problem: Inefficient and lack of centralized system. Too much bureaucracy.

Solution: Invest in good ERP or CRM software. Streamline the process so much so that it will ease the client in going through all the unnecessary processes.

Problem: Burn out employees. Employees with personal problems reflected in their job.

Solution: Managers should talk to their employees about their personal issues. Constant communication process. Team building activities and employee engagements.

Problem: Incompetent Personnel. Inappropriate resolution given to citizens.

Solution: Define Company Standard procedures and cascade to employees. Retraining. Proper escalation procedures when a person cannot handle a case. Create a viable Key Performance Indicators to measure an employee performance. Give the front liners tools and authority to resolve problems.

Problem: Salary/Incentives not tied to results

Solution: Provide recognition and or incentives to those who get commendation from clients or those with high KPI scores.

Ultimately, one should remember that ordinary citizens provide the money that runs the operations of the government. Without the taxpayers, there could be no jobs for government offices. Yes, life is tough for everyone but basic services should NOT be a burden to the ordinary people, they deserve respect and compassion.

I was about to write a complaint to the Civil Service Commission, but I had to halt it for I need to let my emotion subside.

P: The staff called me in the afternoon to apologize and it was clearly his mistake. And that I should consider not reporting this. He also sent me this message “This is Mark of PAGIBIG, sorrp po tlga, sana po huag na lng ireport, irush ko na lang po pagbalik nyo”.  Clearly, I still have a conscience not to send the report to CSC. But I feel obliged to post this.

 If you need to submit a complaint or feedback, you may visit the CSC site below:

www.contactcenterngbayan.gov.ph

A Palengkera Guide: Getting Mall Freebies

As Jennifer Lopez sees love with her song “Even if you were broke, My Love don’t cost a thing”, so as with many things. They say, ‘the best things in life are free’. We don’t have to pay for the things that are really valuable like a nice compliment, smile, friendship, good health, cuddling with someone, a sincere appreciation, or a kiss from someone we love. We don’t need to pay for playing in the rain, a flower from the garden, a walk in the park, or to explore the beauty of nature. There are so many things free in this world – a plethora of wonderful things that cost us nothing. Maybe we just need to look around us and be resourceful.

UP park. #nature

UP park. #nature

Last Saturday, I attended a short class in Quezon City and it was gloomy and I didn’t realize that there was a storm approaching and I forgot to bring an umbrella. I was a little fortunate that the odds favored me whenever I had to walk in the open to get to my destination, the rain suddenly stops. After the class, it rain hard and I was in the mall and I had to wait a little for the rain to stop or settle at the very least. I had nothing to do and so my ingenious idea popped-up when I saw someone in a booth (CITI) offering to sign-up for a credit card and alas- a free umbrella. All I needed to do is to present my existing credit card and an ID which I had no qualms in doing so. I desperately needed an umbrella. At the other wiing of the mall, I saw another booth, this time BDO. Yes, I had an ID and you guessed it right, I signed-up for my 2nd umbrella.

CitiFreeUmbrella

#CitiFreeUmbrella

bdo_freeumbrella

#BDOfreeUmbrella

 

I was relieved that I got my weapon for the unrelenting weather but I was still stuck in the mall. I felt that I needed something to warm myself up so I headed to a fancy coffee shop which I am not usually a fan of. Again, a shining smile, I knew that I had a free coffee courtesy of my credit card. I just needed to present my last purchase receipt and my credit card to avail for any coffee flavor and cup size. Oh how handy.

hsbc free coffee

hsbc #freecoffee

So, I was warmed-up and I had to be at least smell a little nicer for I had to brave the so called #MRTchallenge. After a bathroom fix, I headed to the cosmetics/perfume section of the mall. I saw wide array of free perfume test but I needed to choose a lighter scent as I didn’t want to overwhelm passengers with inappropriate and strong scent. I chose The Body Shop. It’s free and the sales lady didn’t mind at all. I just had to gracefully say ‘thank you but I just wanted to try other perfume that goes well with my personality’- charot lang naman.

the body shop

the body shop #freeperfume

I was exhausted and I needed to go home. But here are some other things you can avail things for free in the mall:

  • If you have an SM prestige membership, you can access their SM Prestige Lounge for relaxation for free and exclusive freebies, services and what have you.
  • Use the mall wifi. I usually use ayala mall wifi as they are fast and reliable
  • Free taste at the grocery section. From noodles, milk, biscuits, sardines and all. But of course improper to dine there and consider it as your meal for the day. S&R is much more sosyal to sample every free morsel- but at least more sosyal. haha
free food sampe

#freeFoodMorsel #grocery

  • If tired of window-shopping, there are art galleries you can visit without fees.
art gallery

#artgalleriesSM

  • If you’re super “kapalmuks”, SM mega trade center has these events in the 5th floor wherein you just need to attend to a seminar, then they give sandwiches and sugary ice tea after. Just pretend you’re listening.
  • If you’re lucky, at times, some institutions that offer free movie screenings like Goethe Institut or Instituto Cervantes.
  • If you’re a book lover, you kill time in National Bookstore to browse your favorite magazines or new best-seller books.

Opportunity doesn’t favor the wealthy, it favors the resourceful. We can get free food, stuff and services by knowing about few simple tricks and techniques. I am a quintessential Ilocano- not that we are cheap or kuripot but we know how we spend our hard-earned cash for what we want. And if there are opportunities to get things for free, we take advantage. Those might not be totally free since we still have to take some kind of work (filling the form, presenting receipts, graceful exits, kapal ng mukha, etc), in most cases they require minimal effort and time. Yes, there are unforeseen costs, but getting something free can be a wonderful thing under the right circumstances.

I went home with a naughty grin on my face and two umbrellas.

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#citiAndBDO #FreeUmbrella