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.
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:
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.
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: