Thursday, January 13, 2011

Good and Bad Service Awards

Dear Mythical Minister of Good Service
          Do you mind if I assume you are male because I’m biased in that direction. Just because we can’t see you I’m sure that doesn’t mean you are not getting an above the poverty line salary of several millions. But that’s not what I’m really on about.
          I hope you won’t think I’m stealing (sorry if that’s a touchy word in Government circles) your thunder if I start my own GOOD SERVICE AWARDS.  I don’t mind if you join me if your Big Boss Zuma will finally allow you to appear in public.
          Unfortunately good service in South Africa seems to have become a dying art so that’s why it is such a huge surprise and a pleasure to find somebody who actually takes their job seriously enough to realise that without the customer they wouldn’t have bread on the table.
          Why is it that efficiency has come nowhere near the miraculous advances in technology? Not in South Africa at any rate. So many people, particularly in big business and of course in Government where the worst offenders are, have difficulty answering the phone or pressing send on their computer. Others can’t do anything now; it’s always tomorrow and a lot of managers have let their positions go to their head. They pass the buck so nothing every gets done.
          Sadly customers don’t really matter at all to those in Government service. They get paid for whatever they do and we often read that the real rotters get moth-balled for years on a full salary. So your Government’s entire system is geared to rewarding people who are incapably of doing their job. And that more or less accounts for everything.

Anyway here’s my list of
CHAMPIONS OF GOOD SERVICE in no particular order.

·       The girls, tellers, inquiry ladies etc, at the Long Beach Mall Absa Branch (That’s near Fish Hoek in Cape Town). They always have a smile and most importantly they always greet my wife and I by our Names, not our number (more about them later).

·       Then there is Michael Jordaan. Talk about Flash Michael! If you want efficiency he’s the man to contact. I’m not sure if he didn’t invent it. What a brilliant example he sets if only we could all follow it. And what makes his lightning efficiency even more impressive is that he has a lot more to think of than my piddling little problems. You see he just happens to be Michael Jordaan, Chief Executive of First National Bank. He answered the two emails I sent him instantly. I must emphasise that we are not related and he sorted out my problems quickly (more about the one later).
·       RSA Government Retail Savings Bonds. When investing in these I thought I was in another country. I just couldn’t believe how efficient they are. I phoned up and they answered quickly. I didn’t have to hang on for two days only to give up when nobody answered (Isn’t that what happens with Zuma’s gold plated, help line?). I told them how much I was going to invest. I paid the money in and a few hours later I had the confirmation on my computer. It’s brilliant. Why, oh why Mr Minister can't this RSA Bonds expertise be distributed to all other Government departments? But I suppose you guys are only good at spreading the bad stuff like Aids.
·       Alderman Felicity Purchase. A Great lady who has held the Cape Town City Council together for years. She always answers emails promptly and gets some action. If she’s an example of a typical Democratic Alliance councillor that’s the party to vote for in the next municipal elections. Sadly she’s about to retire after ….years of serving the citizens of the Mother City. Let’s hope the DA has a replacement, who can live up to her extraordinary standard.
Next comes the

·       My neighbour, Peter Cooper. Without him 40 old people living in Fishoek in Cape Town’s deep South would starve. He’s the driving force for Meals on Wheels that ensures that these people get a hearty meal delivered to their homes three times a week. Not only does he do most of the organising but he can be seen doing deliveries as well on a lot of days.
                                 The last ones are my

·       Kuseni Dlamini, Managing Director of Old Mutual. I sent him an email to his personal email address on 21 October about my wife’s policy. On 27 October another one went off saying, Could I please have a reply? After speaking to his PA on the phone she told me to send the enquiry to her and this I did on 1 November. She then got somebody well down the line to phone me. On 7 November I sent another email to Dlamini saying, I think it’s appalling that as head of Old Mutual you can’t even be bothered to answer an email sent directly to you. That got a response when he phoned me full of apologies, but the damage was done. He should attend the night classes Michael Jordaan gives on service excellence.
·       Martin Fillis, the manager of the inappropriately named Ubuntu Muncipality.  He was another person who did not answer repeated emails to his personal email address. And even when I got hold of his direct telephone number I could never contact the man. In fact I was never able to get a reaction from him over my efforts to stop Ubuntu from giving me final warnings to pay a traffic fine I had already paid. He’s another candidate for Jordaan’s classes if anybody can locate him (more about Ubuntu later).       
As you can see some of the categories are rather empty but I’m sure I will be able to fill them up as the idea takes off. If you know of any deserving cases please let me know.
          Yours faithfully,
          Jon, Service Watch Dog & Batchelor of Good Causes.
P.S. My wife has just reminded me that she should have been included here because she has spent almost a century of selfless, slavery looking after me.     

Buy my book 'Where have all the children gone?' on  It's a thriller with an underlying love story.

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