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Stepping Up on Service

The upgraded Immigration hall.

Published 18th March 2011, 11:47am

Following a concerted effort to review and enhance internal operations, the Department of Immigration has already implemented several customer service-enhancing measures - with even more to follow.

In recent weeks, increased use of technology, faster transactions and a commitment to service efficiencies have been the order of the day. Two fundamental improvements in the main Immigration hall are additional counter officers and a new automated client check-in system.

Long queues had already been replaced in 2005 with the assistance of a "Q-matic" numbering system and waiting area seating. That numbering system required that a staff member issue tickets to clients.

However, a new "Q-matic" machine has been introduced which issues tickets directly, thereby simplifying the process and releasing staff for other duties.

Walk-in customers now follow simple on-screen prompts, enabling the machine to issue need-based counter tickets.

And using "Q-Matic" also facilitates the measurement of staff performance and enhances management's overview of the department. The machine produces statistics on particular transactions, and allows supervisors to rotate staff to utilize resources more efficiently and reduce waiting time.

Noting that during 2010 almost 23,000 work permits were processed and the counter handled more than 89,500 transactions, Chief Immigration Officer Linda Evans explained that the four new counter windows have taken the total number of officers serving the hall to 12.

"While the average waiting time in February 2010 was 30 minutes, that time has been halved. We also have a new desk that fast-tracks our corporate and business clientele by handling their large-volume transactions by appointment," she said.

One of the new stations caters to corporate applicants submitting more than three applications or transactions. Processes have been fine-tuned in recent months and are now in full service. Larger companies and agencies can process multiple applications, yet avoid delaying other front-counter clients.

Regarding the retooling of policies and procedures, Ms Evans commented, "This improved service practice evolved after consultation with corporate stakeholders. They were most receptive. To date we have 20 regular business clients and we are seeking to expand that number."

The focus on customer service developments follows feedback from staff and customers. In addition, the department conducted comprehensive district meetings in 2010 to achieve a better understanding of public concerns relative to immigration issues.

Meetings with business groups and service clubs were also held - all contributing to the goal of improving customer service.

Chief Officer in the Deputy Governor's Office, Mr. Franz Manderson, said, "I am delighted that the department continues to challenge itself to raise customer service to higher levels. I look forward to even more positive results." (GIS)