Friday, 5 February 2010

Friday Kudos

It's not every day we can talk about positive customer service experiences especially in the public sector, but I thought I should do so today.

So last night I was sitting watching the news and saw the Water and Sewerage Authority peeps making the rounds in neighbourhoods to enforce their water conservation programme in light of an apparent water shortage in the country. I thought to myself, wow...there is a job I would not like to have- walking around villages and towns to tell people to turn their hoses off and give them a $100 ticket, risking abuse and worse. But in any event, in typical Trini fashion, they have started off "hot and sweaty" with the thing.

As I was leaving my house this morning, I found the flow of water in the drain to be heavier than usual and as I drove up the street, there it was - a burst water main. I, being a good citizen (yes, I am) decided I would call the Authority and make a complaint, since you cannot be pushing water conservation on citizens, and telling me to shower in 3 minutes, while you have water leaking out of your mains across the country.

I got to their website and looked up the Hotline info and saw that the hotline was available from 6am - 10pm. Grumble grumble, cause I had very little confidence that anyone was actually going to be there to take my call at 6am. This is a public service authority and sadly, having worked in the public service, I know that customer service is not always the best, nor do employees respect time. Dial. 6.04am.

*ring ring* Generic message with American voice (please address this, WASA) comes on and tells me service attendants are all busy and asked me to be patient

Me: I wonder if this is a mamaguy to make people think they have all these calls, when in truth, the call centre is empty and will be empty until 8am.

But I am a positive thinker and I waited. Besides, it was toll free.

Two minutes later, at 6.06am, to my complete astonishment, a pleasant young lady took my call. I must say, I was surprised. I gave her the relevant information and she took mine. Very pleasant, very thorough. And at 6.06am - as communicated via their website. No mamaguy. Talk backed up by action. I loved it. With that tiny assurance, they have built my confidence in them just a little, and I can appreciate the effort made to ensure that they are doing what they are saying they will do. At least with the hotline.

Fifty percent down. The real test will come when I call home later this morning to see if anyone came to fix the burst main. But still, kudos WASA for getting the first part right.

EDIT: Just to be clear, this was the SOUTH office hotline. The North office rang and rang. You cannot win them all!


I am shocked... a response so quickly???!! wow...

My problem with WASA is that they estimate that THEY waste approximately of the water that goes through their network... 60%!!!

This is their estimate mind you... what are they doing about it? Why is it that when they fix a leak, within a short period of time it's leaking again?

In January, it was suddenly discovered that there was a water shortage... didn't we see this coming? Did they wake up one morning and discover half the water missing? It's like when KFC wait for chicken to finish before starting the next bath, so you have to wait 15 minutes (not that I'm bitter about that or anything)

There was no planing before... we had a really dry wet season (at least i thought we did) so i knew there would be water problems... couldn't the geniuses at WASA see that coming too?

I am not a fan of PR, but all we get from WASA is that we'll cut you off if you don't pay your bill, and lock you up if you use a hose.

We never see anything about how they are trying to alleviate those with water problems, or their plans for fixing their leaky system. Even in this latest episode, we hear nothing about what they plan to do to fix and maintain the system on a long term basis, so that water shortages are not so much of a problem.

I should say kudos for them for their quick response time on the phone... but to me it seems like lipstick on a pig...

And I do agree with you and so many others on all of the points above. And I do not wish to comment in this space on their communications or lack thereof, or on what they could be doing to better engage customers, who represent a huge chunk of the population. Yes, the quick response may be lipstick on a pig but I can appreciate a good lip colour. As I said, "I can appreciate the effort made to ensure that they are doing what they are saying they will do. At least with the hotline." I called again this morning for something else and got the same quick and efficient service so they are doing something right somewhere. So I repeat my kudos cause too often we don't highlight the areas that ARE working well, even if it's one small area. Trying to be positive today! :)

As soon as i finished posting the comment, i thought, "damn... I should say that I am impressed by the prompt response on the phone", because I was. And I agree with you that we are always quick to fight down, but not so quick to praise, and praise makes a lot of difference. For 7 years, I was a professional working among public servants. Essentially, I was their boss, even though I was younger than most of them. Working with them, I found that the general impression of the lazy public servant to be more myth than reality. These people were hard working, honest, loyal workers, and when I left, they told me, that because my colleagues and I treated them with respect and praised them, they would do anything for us... well more or less that's what they said. so I understand the need fro recognising good work and give praise when it's due.

So I had all these pleasant thoughts in my mind... and then I saw the three GUSHING fire-hydrants between Colville Street and Phillips Street...

I almost took back my kudos cause at 11am, the street was still boasting of a waterfall. But I came home tonight and we were all patched up with no signs of wastage.

Post a Comment

Thanks for your comments and questions!

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More