Wed | Jul 18, 2018

Revise state agencies opening hours too

Published:Monday | March 14, 2016 | 12:00 AM



I take note of the refreshingly out-of-the-box thinking of the new president of First Global Bank (FGB), Mrs Mariame McIntosh Robinson.

In addressing a recent Jamaica Employers' Federation CEO breakfast forum, Mrs Robinson reportedly said that banks in Jamaica need to stop seeing themselves as banks, and rather as customer-oriented companies.

I could not agree more, but would go a bit further to suggest that such a principle ought to be the norm across all enterprises and agencies in both the private and public sectors. Customer service is almost a foreign concept in Jamaica.

According to Mrs Robinson, as part of FGB's new customer-oriented approach, the bank will be extending its weekday opening hours to 6 p.m. or 7 p.m. and having operating hours on Saturdays. Such a move, naturally, would better meet the needs of customers, especially those who work the regular 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

If everybody works a regular weekday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., when does one find the time to transact business with other entities when those entities, too, operate from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

And why do those entities think that when they have a crowd it suggests they are doing well? No, having such a crowd normally is a clear sign of operational inefficiencies, which require some Mariame Robinson kind of thinking to cure.

It should be standard practice, particularly in government agencies, for there to be at least one late evening opening and half-day operations on Saturday. I should not have to take time off from work to apply for a passport or driver's licence, for instance. Perhaps this is something this new Jamaica Labour Party Government, with a commitment to changing how government works, should look towards implementing.

For too long, leadership and management have been largely inadequate and non-visionary in Jamaica.

I sincerely hope Mrs Robinson's speech and action will inspire more of the non-thinking/non-visionary CEOs and managers to better understand leadership and management.