Monday, August 1, 2011

Raise Hell: Demand to Be Treated Like Customers!

 First published by Tao Po

I remember applying for a driver's license after landing as an immigrant in Canada. I walked in, was led to a window like a VIP, and handed my documents to the person behind the counter.  She immediately tapped on her keyboard to enter my information, asked me to step back and stare at the webcam, and voila! After a few days I got my license in the mail. Of course it helped that I exchanged my New York driver's license for it.

The best part is that it gave me more than enough time that same morning to get my social security and health insurance done, and to enjoy the rest of the day. I knew immediately that I made the right decision in moving to Canada whose government takes care of its people, obsessively enough to create a special body to ensure that it does.

Service Canada: Make Life Easy

Created in 2005 to improve the delivery of government programs and services to Canadians, Service Canada is a federal office that is tasked to engineer, and continuously improve, the different processes in each government office that ultimately provides services to people.

What makes it effective is their understanding and appreciation of what people go through in their lives.  The work that they do centers on a list of "Life Events" which is actually what a person would go through in life like going to school, finding a job, getting married, having a baby, buying a house, retirement, etc.  They even listed "being a caregiver" and "losing a wallet" as part of their list. After all, what makes a country aside from its land and natural resources? Is it not the people?

Of course, nothing in this world is perfect. You might hear of stories from people about problems that they encounter with some offices. Well, they thought about that too. Huffington Post  reported recently that Service Canada introduced their version of a "mystery shopper" program that top retail stores employ to ensure excellent customer service. Ang galing, noh!

Raise Hell: Demand to Be Treated Like Customers!

Now, some of us have asked why ordinary Filipinos excel and become law abiding citizens in other countries like the U.S. and Canada.  I believe the answer lies in a common denominator-both countries take government service seriously. They expect that the environment in which they live provides them the things they need in order to be productive people.

How?  They raise hell when they experience anything that is below standards in any government office. You will see them blogging, going to the media, even suing them for the simplest infraction. They will go to the ends of the earth to scream "foul!" The official held accountable will have to say goodbye to his career. I say rightly so because after all they've worked hard for those pay checks that their government has a direct access to-TAXES.

Which brings me to my next question-why can't our people smarten up and think the same way? Act like customers. RAISE HELL. Make sure that those pay checks do not go to their pockets for nothing.  After all, you pay taxes in order to be served.

P.S. to the rich few. Make sure that the taxes you pay buys you a more pleasant view from the windows of your mansions. Your world is getting smaller. Haha.

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