A PUBLIC Complaints Bureau (PCB) has always been my saviour in times of need and there has never been an occasion of disappointment in terms of service.
I am not surprised that the Public Complaints Bureau has managed to resolve 72 per cent of the complaints received in the first quarter of this year, as reported last week. PCB is one department that must be hailed for its efficiency.
In this context, I must offer my hearty appreciation to PCB directorgeneral Datuk Dr Tam Weng Wah who acknowledges all complaints sent to him, usually within a matter of hours.
In the same email of acknowledgement, he instructs immediate action with the complaint copied to his subordinates and one can be assured that the complaint would receive the needful attention and treatment in no time.
I have lodged many complaints to PCB through Tam and many of these are simple grouses I have had about certain departments and agencies.
The latest was about an agency under the Ministry of Higher Education which has a call centre and beyond the very basic complaint the front-liners would turn frantic.
I had a query, not covered in the agency's Frequently Asked Questions, and all I asked was to be referred to an officer, either via email or on the phone.
I made five calls on two consecutive days and each time I had to go through the button-ritual which goes like, press 1 for whatever, press 2 for something else and so on. When I eventually got to speak to a human, I had to recite time and again the reason for my call and I got nowhere.
I was forced to write to PCB with not exactly a complaint but just a request to be referred to an officer for me to bounce off my query. Within hours Tam responded and by 5pm the same day the officer from the agency concerned called. No wait, I had two officers from the same agency who called me to offer assistance and I was done.
On another occasion I had again written to PCB with a grouse related to a government hospital and I had the director of the hospital who descended from the throne to respond to my grievance.
The point I am making is, if service-oriented organisations are responsible enough to understand the basics of customer service and deliver accordingly, PCB could be left to manage bigger and more pressing issues.
In this digital era, it is highly appreciable that most ministries and government agencies display their email addresses and contact details of senior officers on their website but there are some which have a long way to go in embracing the digital media.
If you browse the PCB website, you would find the senior management's email addresses, including that of director general and this should be the benchmark for others to follow.
Having said that, merely displaying the email address would be insufficient. One must respond to the emails as this is simple ethic. If someone has taken the trouble to write to me and is waiting for a response, I am obliged to respond as soon as possible and not a week later.
There cannot be anything more annoying than, after having tediously browsed the web for some contact point, the feedback is left waiting forever for a response.