Customer service in public sector woeful

Each year, the Institute of Customer Service Professionals (ICSP) runs the Ghana Customer Service Index (GCSI) – a customer satisfaction survey for the country. Launched in 2017, it provides a unique way of measuring the current customer satisfaction of Ghanaian customers, as well as trends over time.

The Institute of Customer Service Professionals runs an online and face to face survey of consumers once a year.

With the increasing awareness of customers’ rights and demands, it has become important now more than ever to pay particular attention to customer service culture as a nation – with the aim of attracting more foreign direct investment.

The public sector in Ghana has attracted concern and interest among politicians, citizens, public servants and development partners (DPs) during the past six decades of independence since 1957. In short, the public sector delivers services and produces goods to citizens, organisations, or other levels of government.

The recent Customer Service Report 2019 pointed out that the Public Sector is the worst performer for customer satisfaction in the country. This does not come as a major surprise, considering the fact that the public sector has been notorious for inefficiency and lack-lustre attitudes by employees who only seek to milk such institutions at every given opportunity.

The report analysed the public sector based on nine institutions – including the Driver and Vehicle Licencsing Authority (DVLA); Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA); Passport office; National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS); Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT); Ghana Police Service; Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC); Food and Drugs Authority (FDA); and the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC).

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Not too surprisingly, the top-three sectors are made up of mostly foreign-owned companies driven largely by technology, while the bottom-three are the reverse. What can be gleaned from the report is that Ghanaians do not value customer service; they treat their business or customers differently to how foreigners do.

The report recommends that businesses need to foster a service culture that will delight customers. The attitude of a customer needs to be positively influenced through each experience of and engagement with the company, the report noted.

This is very important, and the difference between customer care in our jurisdiction and what pertains in the developed economies is that clients are welcomed with a warm smile with courteous mannerism – while here service providers act in a manner to suggest they are doing the customer a favour and tend to be rude or unattached, expecting some form of monetary gratification before they perform their designated roles.

This attitude puts off would-be clients and customers and might even find drive them away, thereby causing the institution to lose out on crucial business. We need to change for the better, since most of them are professionals with the requisite training in customer care.

Digitising the Registrar-General’s Department will reduce cases of inducement

While the country is doing its utmost to ease the cost and time of doing business in the country, a survey conducted by the Private Enterprise Federation (PEF) finds that the majority of Ghanaians pay bribes to avoid delays while registering their business.

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Clara Kasar-Tee, the lead Consultant of the Survey, has expressed worry that if the situation is not reversed the country will lose significant revenue to corruption. According to a survey, the country lost about GH¢12billion to corruption at the Registrar-Generals Department and other relevant regulatory agencies of the country in 2018.

Naturally, the bribes are not accounted for or recorded – which means the state loses out big time under such circumstances while the individuals working in such institutions personally benefit. Therefore, tax returns are not made.

However, the undue delays are tantamount to the businesses losing revenue; and this culture is unfortunately becoming a huge cost to the nation, yet we expect the investor community to make Ghana a destination of choice.

If the country is able to cure this sub-culture, the state will realise much more revenue since it will mean more taxable income to benefit from. This is precisely why Vice President Dr. Bawumia is pushing the digitisation agenda so heavily, since it eliminates the human interface in many respects and the opportunity to demand and receive bribes is almost non-existent.

Administrative corruption tends to increase the cost of doing business in the country, and this must be tackled effectively if the country is serious about easing the cost and time of doing business in the country.

If it requires digitising all aspects of the economy to achieve optimal results, then so be it. Since the processes at the country’s ports have largely been digitised, their revenue mobilisation has been on the ascendency.

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