Despite COVID-19: Customer Service Remains Key To Manzini Municipality
The Municipal Council of Manzini has continued to uphold high customer service standards despite business interruption that has been caused by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. As with other organisations, the Covid-19 pandemic tested the Municipality’s tenacity with regard to putting the customer first through the provision of quality, reliable and inclusive service to its customers – be it digitally or physically. All of this is reason enough for the Municipality to join the entire nation as it celebrates Customer Service Week, under the theme “The Power of Service”. The Municipality continues to draw inspiration and drive from its ISO 9001: 2015 Quality Management System; which, amongst others, has challenged all its employee teams to give out the best output when it comes to service delivery; the end goal being to ensure that the customer enjoys the best customer experience. It suffices to state that the Municipality would not have been able to achieve the service excellence level that it currently possesses had it not received support and tolerance from its customers.
The Municipality sincerely appreciates the trust, patronage and confidence that has been displayed by its customers before and during the ongoing pandemic. Special thanks go to Manzini ratepayers; who are the heart and soul of the Municipality. The fact that the largest portion of the revenue basket is filled up by property owners cannot be taken for granted. The Municipality is cognisant of the hardship that comes with payment of rates; owing to a number of reasons. However, ratepayers have weathered the storm and remained resolute in their quest to support the Municipality with loyalty and zeal; ensuring that they pay their property taxes so that the City of Manzini continues to receive quality and sustainable municipal services. It is true that the Municipality has not yet arrived at the desired destination in terms of its service offering but, because of the support and constant pieces of advice that it receives from its customers and stakeholders during engagement fora, it continues to be inspired to work even harder – taking care to fill-up existing service gaps. The Municipality is presently undergoing an organizational turnaround and it remains upbeat that, eventually, it will reach the desired state. The Municipality continues to be inspired by its bold mission statement; “to provide quality municipal services that add value to all our customers through good governance and partnering with relevant stakeholders”.
- 24/7 CALL CENTRE: 630 CUSTOMER SERVICE REQUESTS PROCESSED
In the last financial year (2020/2021) the Municipality received and processed a total of 630 customer service requests through its 24/7 Call Centre (800 2004); and these covered a wide spectrum of its service offering. Of these, at least 66% were effectively addressed; which marks an increase from 52% that the Municipality had managed to successfully close during the previous financial year (2019/2020). Quality circle meetings were convened for purposes of finding solutions to service requests that could not be immediately closed; which saw many of them eventually being addressed. This is indicative of a Municipality that is determined to achieve improvement in the way it serves its citizens and all other customers. As part of its Quality Management Objective of increasing customer satisfaction levels from 61.7% to 80%, customers are always requested to rate service rendered by the Municipality; and the overall customer satisfaction rating achieved during the 2019/2020 financial year was 68%.
Again, this is indicative of an organisation that is moving forward in terms of customer service. Following an observation that most communication nowadays happens on the WhatsApp platform, the Municipality recently added an official WhatsApp number (7808 2333) as a means to make itself even more accessible to its customers. Moreover, it further enabled its 24/7 toll-free line to be accessible even by mobile phone. On another note, the Municipality’s Facebook page and group (Manzini News) has consistently remained one of the most active over the past period. The Municipality has managed to uphold consistency in the provision of timely and accurate responses to posts by customers regarding service delivery. Where action has been required on the part of the Municipality, such action has been swiftly taken; much to the delight of customers. The Municipality’s website also continues to get numerous visits from those who seek a wide range of information about the organization and the city.
- MULTIPLE DIGITAL RATES PAYMENT OPTIONS
The Municipal Council of Manzini has invested in a number of digital rates payment options as a means to ensure ratepayers do not have to travel all the way to the civic centre for rates payment. These also help in the minimization of the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic as they make physical distancing possible. Moreover, these digital platforms promote safety and security as they minimise the need for cash payment towards municipal services. The following are the available digital rates payment options;
- Mobile Money
- Electronic Funds Transfer (Nedbank, Standard Bank, First National Bank, Swaziland Building Society)
- Debit Order payment
- Swiping at the Rates Hall
- GREAT APPRECIATION TO STAFF FOR COMMITTING TO CUSTOMER SERVICE
The Municipal Council of Manzini takes this opportunity to publicly recognise and appreciate the level of dedication that employees, particularly those in the frontline, continue to display towards ensuring customers enjoy quality municipal services. Due to the nature of their line of business, it is not easy for all municipal employees to work from home. Therefore, whilst some employees had to work remotely at home during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, others had to brave the enemy and be at work physically (on a rotational arrangement); so to ensure customers continued to receive services as expected. This level of commitment to work is highly appreciated. It is so commendable to see municipal employees putting the customer first in their line of work and consistently pushing the bar. A word of appreciation also goes to their families who give them support and enthusiasm to wake up each morning and go to work. The Municipality believes that praise and recognition are crucial components of well-rounded work cultures; and that is the spirit that the leadership continues to cultivate within the organisation. Results of a recent citywide external customer satisfaction survey (2020/2021) point to customers that are delighted about the level of customer care in the Municipality. The Municipality commits to continue training its staff on good customer care.