By Prof Umar Danbatta-- The quality of service delivery in the Public sector plays an increasingly important role in the economy of many countries. In today’s global competitive environment, delivering quality service in all sectors is considered as an essential strategy for success and survival.
Public sector organizations have come under increasing pressure in the last few decades to deliver quality services and improve efficiencies. Customer needs and expectations are changing when it comes to government services and their quality requirements.
Customer service excellence is about customer satisfaction and this applies to both Internal and External customers, as the two are connected in achievingService Compact – better known as Servicom – objectives.
Putting it simply, Customer service excellence is how well an organization is able to constantly and consistently exceed the needs of the customer.
Excellent customer service is evidenced when an organization is honest, gives value for money, has a high reputation, meetsdeadlines, has quality products and services, has user-friendlyprocesses, responds to criticism, encourages complaints and handles them properly as well as demonstrates that it is passionate about the customer.
In transforming the Public Service to meet the expectations of the citizens, innovation and responsiveness in service delivery are very vital and they are indeed taking place around the world as governments recognize the value that can be achieved by these – both in terms of desired policy outcomes and increased citizen trust in government. Evidence shows that there are strong links between Service and the Trust and Confidence that citizens have in government. By the way, governments have often been perceived to lag behind the private sector in quality service delivery. Sincerely, service quality practices in many public sector organizations in Nigeria is slow and is further exacerbated by difficulties in measuring outcomes, greater scrutiny from the public and media, a lack of freedom to act quickly without authorization and a requirement for decisions to be based on extant law.
Currently the quality of service delivery in the Public Sector in the country is beset with the following four (4) major problems:
i. Lack of monitoring of outcomes and failure to hold anyone to account for specific service delivery.
ii. Shortages of service capacity and inaccessibility for most citizens.
iii. Poor service quality and customer care.
iiii. Lack of support services such as Finance, Technology, Procurement and Personnel that are required for qualityservice delivery.
At the Nigerian Communications Commission we have always made the consumer the focus of our actions because in reality, without the telecom consumer, there is no network.
Upon the assumption of office at NCC as Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer in 2015, I categorically stated the place of the consumer in my vision, in fact the focal point of my 8-point agenda is the consumer. We buoyed our philosophy on the tripod of Availability, Affordability and Accessibility of telecom services to the consumer. To give force of action to our message, we declared 2017 as the year of the telecom consumer. The dedication of this year (2017) to telecom consumer once again underscores the commitment of the commission to consumer protection.
Best practices we have since institutionalized in the Commission which constitute a framework for ensuring quality service delivery to our stakeholders include but not limited to the following:
*Consultative regulation of the Communications industry.
*Transparent Licensing processes.
*Consumer outreach programmes.
*Toll-free lines for consumer complaints.
*Up-to-date website with capacity for interface with stakeholders.
*Level playing field for our licensees to ensure fair competition.
It is pertinent to note that the essential requirement to create better Public Service is the leadership commitment with the support of decision makers in relation to the allocation and utilization of resources in order to improve the quality of Public Service. However, improving the quality of Public Service is difficult to achieve when the participation of users the services in the development is very low. The most important aspects of service users participation is their aspiration for variety, quality and appropriate costing of service delivery.
Trust is without doubt the key to success for improving Public services. Mutual trust will generate positive communication and interaction and create more meaningful services.
Finally, we recommend that the Government should introduced the Public Service Excellence Award for the Ministry, Department or Agency which excels in all spheres of its operations in order to increase productivity and efficiency. This would be a good incentive for the Public Sector which is under increasing pressure to demonstrate that their services are customer-focused and that continuous performance improvement is being delivered.
* Being paper presented by the Executive Vice Chairman Of Nigerian Communications Commission (Ncc), Prof. Umar G. Danbatta, FNSE on Thursday, July 13, 2017 At The National Conference On Public Service Delivery In Nigeria held at Arewa House, Kaduna.