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There are numerous ways in which ordinary citizens can help to improve service standards. Recently, I experienced the consequences of what may be best described as thoughtless and lazy actions on the part of a civil servant.
This civil servant had apparently received a request or instruction to disconnect a utility service. The request was not because of non-payment, but because a third party with no legal standing made the request to have the Barbados Water Authority suspend the water service.
One would presume that the civil servant would try to determine the authenticity of the request. A phone call could have been made, considering the seeming urgency of the request. This was not done.
Instead, the person unprofessionally and, most likely, illegally made the decision to terminate the water service.
No one contacted the customer who would be subjected to the harsh treatment to find out whether the person was vulnerable and depending on water for bare survival. Neither was it considered whether infants or other infirm people depended on the water service. How could such callous action be justified?
Make inquiries first
Is it beyond individuals working in areas that can negatively affect the life of another person to make some form of inquiry?
The net result of this wrong and unprofessional behaviour was to consume three hours of her time, three hours of the operatives’ time, three hours of my time as agent, one hour of the homeowner’s time and three hours of the tenants’ time.
Beyond the loss of time and money, the frustration left a sour taste in the mouths of those affected by the disconnection of the water supply.
Furthermore, a putative investor became visibly annoyed.
Individuals working and interacting with the public need to be better trained.
Much must be done to lift our service standards. We cannot talk responsibility and productivity and act in ways that are antithetical to good customer relations. Finally, and although difficult for some, we must attract people with a dutiful measure of empathy and compassion.
Let us strive to make Barbados a hospitable place for leisure and business.
– ANDREW GLASGOW