Customer Service Advice For Public Officers

Deirdre Gittens Ministry News

Some of the participants at today’s Customer Service Training Workshop at the IDB’s offices in Welches, Christ Church. (A.Miller/BGIS)

Public officers should never use their authority as agents of the State to harass, belittle or humiliate people, but instead should show respect and exercise proper judgement.

Acting Permanent Secretary in the Division of Defence and Security, Timothy Maynard, shared this view this morning at the opening ceremony of the Customer Service Workshop Training for Immigration and Customs Officers and Frontline Personnel. It was hosted by Compete Caribbean at the Inter-American Development Bank’s office in Welches, Christ Church.

“As public officers, we are agents of the State, whose primary role is to serve, protect, support and generally look after the welfare of its people. As such, we should always discharge our duties with humility, fairness and empathy, in the full knowledge that, we too, are customers,” Mr. Maynard contended.

He reminded the officers that the island’s economic and social survival relied heavily on providing top quality service to customers, particularly in the tourism industry, and therefore their level of customer service delivery could not deteriorate.

The Acting Permanent Secretary added that their sole reward as public officers should be to know that they have delivered a quality service to a customer, and urged them to stay clear of gifts, bribes and inducements to bend the rules and “look the other way”.

Mr. Maynard explained that in 2014, the Division of Defence and Security initiated a study with the help of Compete Caribbean aimed at “determining the main obstacles to facilitating business and to develop solutions to strengthen the Immigration Department”.

The project culminates this week with this training workshop, designed to deliver a significant impact on the overall delivery of service within the Immigration Department.

“We anticipate that the next few days of training will go a very long way towards enhancing the way that we do business within the Department, and I don’t think any of us would dispute the value of such an initiative and its potential to transform the customer experience,” he stated.

On behalf of Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, who holds responsibility for Immigration, Mr. Maynard commended the management and staff of that department for their “steady improvement”, and also thanked Compete Caribbean for their insight and continued partnership.

deirdre.gittens@barbados.gov.bb

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