Approaches To Customer Service
“The Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) was established on June 1, 2007 as an Executive Agency to be a self-financing, performance-based and service-oriented institution. The Agency evolved from the former Immigration, Citizenship and Passport Services Division of the Ministry of National Security following a modernization programme which started in 2005. The aim of PICA is to provide efficient, quality service to its clients through a well-motivated and knowledgeable staff. PICA’s functions are integral to the nation’s border security system. The Agency accepts and process passport applications, manages the island’s immigration processes and handles matters in relation to application for and renunciation of Jamaican citizenship,” (Government of Jamaica, 2013).
This organization was chosen as it deals with customers of every kind and it will help me to improve my customer skills when I go out into the working world. This organization will also introduce me to how persons operate within the working industry. Problems will arise as every company faces issues, the way how they address these issues and what policies are implemented to prevent reoccurrence of these events are of importance. This will help to widen my knowledge of what I have learnt in class and I will be able to implementing what I’ve learnt within the practices of the organization.
- To analyze approaches in which a organization takes to adjust issues or problems and see how best I can add to the solution.
- To recommend ways in which communication within the organization can be improved among management and staff.
- To evaluate problems within the organization in order to make aims and objectives which will benefit the organization and myself.
- To assess how industry experience can support the development of skills and knowledge of work practices within the organization.
- To critically assess my own progress within the organization through my reflective journal which will show what i have gained from the experience
- To identify organizational skills I’ve gained during the work experience.
- To recommend to students on how to match their skills with appropriate organizations.
- To describe how skill development and behaviour within the organization improved own knowledge of work practices.
- To evaluate how the skills I have developed will benefit me for future work.
PICA operates within the public sector regime of the Government as an Executive Agency which delivers world class customer service to the public. “PICA plays a pivotal role in protecting the nation’s security and therefore, the transformation programme sets out to bolster security mechanisms already in place, ensure accountability and transparency in operations, and increase productivity while providing world-class customer service,” stated by (Ministry of National Security, 2010). Despite the companies effort to deliver quality efforts there are some issues which it needs to overcome.
In certain department there are shortage of staff and this causes chaos at times. According to (Smith, 2008) “When there is a staff shortage, the remaining staff must undertake more work responsibilities and therefore, carry a bigger workload. These overworked staff members are more susceptible to mistakes and inefficiencies occur.” There is also the issue of lack of instruction and communication among staff, supervisors and securities of the organization. No matter how minor or major the lack of communication is, poor communication will strain the productivity of the organization. Awareness of such problems in communication is the first step toward solving them. The productivity of the organization depends on the cooperation of staff and everyone within the organization.
It is the only organization which deliver the services of issuing passports so it is important to maintain its standard to meet the needs of the organization and the people. “To ensure successful communications within your organization, it is best to start with the very basics such as your knowledge of verbal and non-verbal communications. In the workplace, verbal and non-verbal communications are continually exchanged, often without much planning or even the thought that such communications are taking place,” states (Lewis, n.d.). The more effective communication is within the organization the less grapevine there is in the community as everyone understands their roles and productivity can increase as work flow progresses smoothly.
The type of research conducted was a qualitative research. This type of research is where data is collected from numerous sources by observation and analyzed or interpreted. This research consisted of observation while working within the organization. Secondary sources such as internet books or articles were used to collect data.
Secondary sources used were internet books and articles. The benefit of secondary data has stated by (Crossman, 2014) is that ” Someone else has already collected the data, so the researcher does not have to devote money, time, energy, and other resources to this phase of research.” Information is always available on a wide scale through internet, books etc so it’s a lot easier and accessible for the researcher.
Limitations were that at times observation within the organization was hectic as at times we would have to be moving from one department to another because of the shortage of staff and the lack of communication among supervisors and employees.
Working at the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency was a great experience. Things which I learnt in class was of great help as it shows how communication among the hierarchy level is distributed and what problems are faced when communications is being carried from the top down (downward communication) and how great vine is spread between different departments among employees (horizontal communication).
Throughout my experience I gained the knowledge of how to deal with different types of customers (there were times when persons would come in rage and want to fight you off or curse you out or maybe they got tired of the long wait and decide to take out their frustration on you) and how to file important documents. I also learned the importance of having a duplicate copy of an important document so just in case you can’t find the original you would have a copy of it which would help to save the company time and also the persons time of going over the process again. I gained new skills such as problem solving, analytical thinking, teamwork skills, organizational skills and listening skills.
Schedule of Activities for each day
DAY1: I got a tour of the different departments in PICA and what they were responsible for. I got the experience of going under the tent to check documents to ensure that they had all that was needed. I was also able to interact with customers and answer some of their questions.
DAY2: I went back under the tent where I helped with checking of documents. The day was crowded as there was a shortage of employees. The persons who were working were complaining that the supervisor wouldn’t even arrange to get someone to come and assist them under the tent, so they really lack with their communication. There was also grapevine (misguided information) spreading saying that they only deal with seamen on Friday, cause they had a batch of persons coming in for seamen application. Persons who came to take out a passport or renew didn’t have valuable information on the procedure and documents in which they would need so they had to end up paying extra fare to go back home t get certain documents.
DAY3: Today I went into the Issuing Department, this is where persons go to collect their passports at the front of the building. In this department I learned how to issue the passports. They place the passports in numerical order by their last four digits and they separate minor passports from adult passports. I also learned how to file receipts, when receipts are collected they are written up in specific books and side off by the agent who dealt with the specified customer and then placed in the correct file in the File Cabinet. Again because of the lack of communication between supervisors and employees the place was packed and the security was sending around the wrong set of persons (they are issued a ticket and is asked to wait until their number is called to come around and collect their passports) to collect their passports which led to a huge confusion, so because I catched on fast to the process I stayed back and helped out.
DAY 4: I stayed in the Customer Service Department to observe how they deal with each case of stolen, lost or damaged passports. I also checked each filing cabinet to see if each document that were filed are in the correct police reports and seamen forms (these are persons who work on cruise ships).
DAY 5: I went back under the tent to help out, at least this day wasn’t as crowded as other days, so the process spread smoothly throughout the day. After we finished checking documents I went back on the inside and just sat to observe for the remainder of the time I had left.
Analysis of problems Identified
PICA operates under several departments. Each department deals with different task of the organization. I worked in the Customer Service Department where the deal with customer complaints, process passports and issue passports. During my stay there, there was a lot of issues which I identified and they all have relationship to lack of communication.
1. Everyday someone calls in sick or say that they can’t make it to work. There are a certain amount of persons that should be working on that day and when someone is not there work progress is interrupted. The supervisors are not aware of these calls so no one was able to fill in for the absente.
2. Shortage of staff in the customer service department: Only two person works within the office where applicants go if they have lost, damaged or stolen passports to replace. A new recruit is there but because she don’t understand how to deal with certain cases she just have to sit and observe or she deals with the seamen and process their application.
3. Lack of instruction: The securities work along with the customer service representatives to keep things in order. At times they let in persons for free to process their passport ahead of others who are waiting and when its closing off time they still let in persons to come and process their application. The security around the area where the passports are issued often times don’t call persons by their number and allow others who are just coming to collect their passports while you have persons who have been waiting around the waiting area on their number to be called and this just causes one big confusion.
4. Grapevine (misguided information): On Fridays PICA is normally crowded with a lot of seamen applicants. This was due to information being spread that they only process seamen applicants on a Friday which was not so, they process any type of application every day.
The major problems which PICA faces is communication among supervisors and employees, misguided information to the public and lack of instruction as stated before. Recommendations I would give to PICA are:
- They should update their website more often with information that is needed for the public to know. If there should be a case where some policies have changed they should ensure that the public is updated by the website and advertisements on TV as social media is more effective when sending information.
- Provide staff with newsletter on necessary information about the organization (preferably new staff members to the organization).
- Put in place penalties for a staff who does not call in at least 2 days or 2 hours before work period to state that they can’t make it to work for some specific reason. Too regular staff don’t show up for work and cause confusion as the department wasn’t alerted in time to get someone to fill in for the absente.
- Have a suggestion box where persons can place their opinions on how to help the organization run more smoothly especially for the customer service department who has shortage of staff.
- Keep meetings regular to keep up to date with staff progression and have training sessions two days a week so that new members can get the hang of operations around the organization.
The organization has a lot of issues which needs to be resolved. Their communication level between both staff and management is very poor. They lack staff discipline and they also have a shortage of workers which leads to the explanation of why the organization is crowded on most days. The organization needs more disciplined people who can follow orders in order to make work flow progress more effectively.
The staff alone can’t help the organization to function without the instructions being passed down effectively. Problems has been voiced but are ignored by management and they themselves realise the many issues which the organization faces. The misleading information which is given to the public needs to be corrected as that has much to do with the huge crowd most days during the week.
The staffs overall are very welcoming and friendly and they made my experience a very worthwhile one. They ensure that I got all the information in which i needed and they made me very useful within the organization as i went from department to department. The staff members can do so much and no more to maintain order but the supervisors need to do their part and the securities at times add to the confusion as they do as they like most times.
A lot need to be done to correct these issues as they are the only organization which deals with passports they have no competitor so they have no need to slack up has the public has no choose to go to another organization.