Online poll: Civil servants get bad customer service grades

Almost two-thirds of the respondents to last week’s caymancompass.com online poll would give a grade of “poor” or “terrible” to the Cayman Islands civil service when it comes to customer service. 

Of the 417 respondents to the one-week poll, the largest segment – 143 people or 34.3 percent – thought the civil service had terrible customer service.  

“Answer your d%&# phones!” said one person. 

“Too often I have been ignored after a long wait in line for service,” said someone else. “It seems chatting to colleagues, doing nails, checking the iPhone are all more important and what they are paid to do.” 

“Lack of respect, response and overall disdain for people in general,” said another person. 

“There is always a runaround and you can never get a straight answer from anyone,” commented one respondent.  

“A general disinterest in the job they are being paid to do seems glaringly obvious in nearly every civil servant I have interacted with,” said someone else. “In particular, I will single out immigration, and the Department of Vehicle and Driver’s Licensing as being chronically understaffed. I sometimes wonder why they even bothered to build an immigration building with so many service windows when I have never seen them operate more than 50 percent of them at any one time.” 

“With a few exceptions, Cayman civil service is the worst I have had to deal with,” said one respondent. “Unfortunately, the bad starts from the very top,” said another. 

“A call to immigration last week was answered with a ‘no talk now’ and then silence as I was hung up on,” said someone else. 

“It’s a ‘no’ culture; they say ‘no’ first, no matter what,” noted one respondent.  

“When they get back to me, I’ll get back to you,” said another person sarcastically.  

The second largest segment of respondents – 129 people or 30.9 percent – gave the civil servants a “poor” grade in customer service.  

“No work ethic,” said one person. 

“Telephone calls are ignored and therefore the public is unable to get information,” said someone else. 

“The civil service’s customer service has become much worse in recent years,” commented another person. “They don’t even try anymore. It’s worse than 30 years ago.” 

“Many times they act as if they are doing you a favour by simply doing their job,” said one person. “And sometimes they make you feel like you’re interrupting them.” 

“Some departments have improved a lot like immigration,” said someone else. “Many others will not reply to their emails and continue to not show respect for their employer the taxpayer.” 

“They do not answer the phone, and when they do they are usually very angry,” said one person. 

“The counter staff are frequently sullen and unwelcoming,” said another. 

Ninety-three people – 22.3 percent – said the civil servants do a “fair” job in terms of customer service. 

“Some good, even very good, some poor or very poor,” said one person.  

“Some departments are excellent, others are woefully inadequate,” said another. 

“Service varies greatly by department,”said someone else. “Overall, there is a perception that the client is stuck as they cannot go elsewhere so there is no real need to improve.” 

“Security of employment seems to be one of the leading factors for the standard ‘I will get to it when I can’ attitude,” commented one respondent.  

“While the greater percentage of officers seem to be able to – and often do – get the job done, it is sometimes not without what appears to be some resentment to have to do it,” noted someone else. 

“Overpaid and underworked,” quipped another person. 

Another 30 people – 7.2 percent – gave the civil servants a “good” grade in customer service.  

“It is the same with any over-taxed bureaucracy,” said one person. “Once one learns their system, and perceives themselves being able to work within that framework, their work reflects their perception.” 

“Given the lack of resources of government, civil servants are delivering good service with much less human and financial resources,” noted someone else. 

Only 10 people – 2.4 percent – gave the civil service an “excellent” grade for customer service.  

“Overall, excellent, especially in comparison to other countries around the world,” said the only person who gave that grade to leave a response. “Even the customer service of the government agencies in the U.S. cannot compare.” 

Another 12 people – 2.9 percent – responded “I don’t know” to the question.  

“Some are excellent and some are awful,” said one of the respondents who didn’t know how to answer. “It’s not fair to do a rating to give the terrible ones an ‘excellent’ grade and more importantly to give the excellent ones a ‘terrible’ grade.” 

Next week’s poll question 

How many motor vehicles does your Cayman Islands household own, excluding motorbikes? [Explain why and what kind in comments] 

  1. None 
  2. 4 or more 
  3. I don’t have a Cayman Islands household 

To participate in this poll, please visit www.caymancompass.com. 

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