Thursday, January 22, 2009

Expecting the Unexpected

At least three Department of Tourism (DOT) employees recently impressed me for giving the kind of public service that I haven't seen or experienced in a long while. Regretfully, I've had quite a number of unfortunate encounters and experiences with some esteemed public servants that I've gradually learned to not expect anything.

Last January 16, Friday, Colleen and I went to DOT to try ask for brochures that we can include in our information packets for visiting clients. Colleen handles a lot of office tours for guests visiting from other countries while I usually end up taking care of coordinating the logistics end of the tour (just one of the many things I seem to end up doing either officially or unofficially).

The idea behind the brochures came from our big boss herself. A few weeks back the boss gave me three copies of "Philippines: 7,107 islands beyond the usual" brochure that she said she got from somewhere. She said they're good addition to the packets we usually prepare for the tours. She thought we can perhaps ask DOT to give us some.

Colleen and I arranged for us to go to DOT last Friday. We both didn't know anyone there and we didn't have any idea of how to get our task done in the least possible amount of time required. My personal experiences with DOT before was limited to the travel tax exemptions they give for official PHI delegates to competitions or seminars abroad. I can't quite recall having problems then so I'd guess that they take they're job seriously. This time though, I'm really clueless on the SOPs for the request we'll make.

The visit was a breeze though. I honestly didn't expect it to be so. When we got off the car in front of the entrance someone opened the door for us (the kind of service you'd expect mostly from hotels or expensive restaurants). Then a guard asked us what our business was and then pointed us to the information counter conveniently located at the right side of the entrance. The male receptionist there was very polite and immediately directed us to proceed to the room where we'd find the assistance we require.

As soon as we got to the room, one of the employees there immediately approached us. We explained to him what it is that we do and asked if could ask for more brochures from them. He gave us one each of the different brochures and booklets they have. But since we need more than their particular office can provide, he told us to proceed to the publications office next door and request for more. He said that we'll first have to fill up the request form.

When we got to the publications office, I was impressed by how clean and well-managed the room looked even if it was almost filled with stacks and stacks of brochures and booklets. The guy there asked us what we need. I was expecting that since we need to fill up a form, we would have to wait days for approval of the request. It was therefore a nice surprise when he immediately started counting for the exact number of brochures we said we need. Only after he had the brochures ready that he made us fill up the form.

Now, let me say that I'm a bit jaded in dealing with some public servants. As I've often tried to remind myself, acceptance of what's there can save me a whole lot of disappointment and grief. So, having experienced good customer service from public servants was a simple and yet extraordinary event that spiced up my day.

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