Thursday, October 11, 2012

No Lines, No Wait, No Problem

This morning I think we had the most efficient and amazing set of customer service moments since we’ve been down here.

First we stopped at the Immigration office to get our monthly stamp in our passports. We walked in, no one else was in the office, and in less than five minutes, we were on our way to the Treasury to pay our monthly fee. While David popped into the Treasury, I checked our post office box (both are in the same building). Again, in under five minutes, we were back in the car, with our missions complete.

Next we headed off to our insurance company (ICB) to renew our car policy. We were floored when we got a call yesterday from a very nice lady at the insurance office who reminded us that our policy was coming up for renewal. We let her know we planned to come in the next day to take care of everything, and she asked if we would like her to have all the paperwork taken care of ahead of time. WHAT?!?! Well sure, we said with a slight tone of disbelief. 

When we walked into the insurance office, she immediately guessed who we were and pulled out our renewal policy. Everything was good to go, we paid our premium, and were out the door. Again, in about five minutes.

From there, we made a pit stop at Atlantic Bank to make a deposit and to pick up our checks. While the wait was a tad bit longer, the timing worked perfectly. David had just made the deposit when the customer service rep was handing me our checks.

On our way back to the Immigration office to get our passports stamped, we checked out Creative Tile, which is just a couple of blocks from Immigration. The tile selection was way better than we anticipated, and we think we may have come up with an option for our new kitchen backsplash. 

With tile measurements and pricing in hand, we made our way to the Immigration office, strolled in, got our stamps, and were on our way. No lines, no wait.

Once home, David made a call to Mr. Mario to arrange for some wood shavings to be delivered. Mario said he would see what was available and give us a call back. I figured if we received a delivery in the next few weeks we would be golden. So imagine my surprise when the phone rang less than an hour later with Mr. Mario saying he had the shavings and was on his way. We were, in a word, gobsmacked

Next thing we knew, a panel truck was making its way down our lane. Once in the back gate, Mario's two helpers lifted the back truck door and started shoveling out the chips. This is the pile that we received:

Now the last time we had mulch delivered in the States, it was dyed red pine. The cost ran over $350 for a load similar to this size, plus there was a delivery charge. These shavings are all hard wood; probably mahogany. We paid $50 BZ ($25.00 US) and that included delivery. No, I am not making this up.

Why we find these experiences so amazing is that the concepts of customer service and efficiency are relatively new here. I don’t mean this in a disparaging way, but most businesses here have a very laid back approach to dealing with their customers. People are used to waiting in lines, having paperwork lost, watching a handful of employees do everything that can be done at a desk, except to look up and want to help the next person in line.  I’ve lost track of the times we were told we would be called “right back” by someone we want to do business with and the call never came. Instead, we would have to make multiple contacts to get the work scheduled and complete. 

But today? Today was brilliant. We came home happy campers, instead of being somewhat cranky and had the added bonus of Mr. Mario's stellar service. YAY!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Elizabeth,

    What is wrong over there? Don't you know that waiting is considered as much an activity as actually 'doing' something?

    This system is finely tuned to ensure that things happen when they're supposed to, or later.

    You're going to cause many heart problems the next time someone hears "I'll get it right now, and something actually happens.

    Having said all that, congrats on a successful morning. Enjoy it. It'll probably never happen again.