Need to provide better services

It has become a familiar sight in Phuentsholing.

On some days, especially early in the week, hundreds of tourists and foreign workers crowd the immigration office.

Both tourists and local travel agents have complained about the situation.

One of the complaints is that the immigration office does not follow a queue or token system, resulting in unruly crowds, where pushing and shoving through a sea of people is required to get to a counter. On top of that there are not enough counters from which to avail services.

Another complaint is that there are no chairs for the public despite the procedure sometimes taking hours to complete.

Apparently, there is also no access to public toilets as well.

To be fair, the situation is a result of an ongoing construction activity occurring at the immigration office. The lack of counters is also being attributed to several immigration officers being terminated for being involved in corruption.

But this is no excuse.

Such service delivery is not only limited to the immigration office in Phuentsholing.

There are other offices where the situation is equally sad.

Granted, improvements are occurring especially in the corporate sector. Some notable examples include some of the banks, where the queue and token system is strictly followed and accessibility to toilets are provided. Service delivery has improved in this sector because there is a realisation that it is the customer that brings in their revenue, and that there are choices for the customer today.

Similarly, there is a need for us to realise that tourists bring in revenue and that there are choices for tourists, to go to another country, or to return. It is also a part of Bhutanese culture to treat our guests with respect. We should also ensure better services to an expatriate force that comes to build our homes and other infrastructure.

On those grounds, there is a need to provide an acceptable level of service on a daily basis, no matter what challenges are being faced.

Toilets can be unlocked, or advice sought from the Bhutan Toilet Organisation on solutions, plastic seats or temporary benches can be installed simply using planks, and a token system adopted from the banks.

The solutions are available.

The question is whether the willingness to adapt and improve is available.

1 reply
  1. irfan
    irfan says:

    Real quality in service delivery is probably a well integrated and combined efforts of both responsible for service giving and the ones receiving it. But that’s only in my opinion. For the integrated part, there are the needs of well connected and finely optimised processes within various defined procedures. That’s largely what defines any office and business administration responsible for service delivery. But for things to be a well combined effort between the service givers and takers; the exchange of humanly qualities and skills across both ends of the service delivery desk is also required.

    Quality management in service delivery can become a challenge where the service is just about exchange of documents as in the case of this immigration department. The permit issued as a document is the only considerable product at the end. Documents taken and issued anyway get recorded and maintained as data. So quality in service delivery demanded here is all about enhancing the recording process and reducing the waiting time for the customers in queue. But is it that only thing demanded for quality in such service delivery?

    Even humanly skills and qualities must contribute towards quality that is pre-perceived in such service delivery. On so many occasions, our mere perceptions based on past experiences become the basis for the administrative rules and regulations. It’s totally unfortunate, but even the ill practices involved in certain service delivery are part of our perceptions only.

    I am not sure if things have changed in last two years, but that permit application form has maintained its characteristics for more than a decade. One person will come and submit the documents for the entire group and then at the time of clicking the photographs; the group members will not be present in the right order. And that usually delays the next application and those waiting in that small space get frustrated. Technology has arrived in right time, but everything just contributes to the recording process which is not the only quality service demanded.

    I will be more than happy if the immigration department can come up with separate systems for treating the tourist permits and the work permits through two different administrative setup. If the ongoing construction works at the immigration office is going to address that issue, that should be good news both for the regional tourists and those seeking their work permits. Things will be even better if work permit applications for hydro power and other public construction sectors goes through a separate system. At the end, it comes down to how simplified we are with our rules and regulations in place and how effective the humanly exchange of qualities and skills from both sides is for that perceived quality in place.

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