Stop corporate, bureaucratic merry-go-rounds

Nowadays, we do not see many merry-go-rounds in playgrounds. Pity, because children love them.

But, there are many virtual merry-go-rounds in bureaucracies and businesses. And people hate it.

Why? Such merry-go-rounds give people the runaround without necessarily getting the job done.

I recall one of the first lessons I learnt as a young rookie employee in public service was to answer letters from members of the public by saying nothing and using many words. That was a long time ago.

Unfortunately, the culture persists.

In an official letter of reply, most times one would hardly discover anything that could help enlighten one's query. Instead, inquirers would be asked to give their name, NRIC, contact details and so on.

This is classic merry-go-round.

Even those live-chat services or any such customer relations gimmicks of some big banks or telcos are guilty of it.

Instead of sending customers and the public on a merry-go-round, businesses and those in public service should learn to give direct answers to queries.

Learn to say things honestly and humbly.

Take responsibility and not pass the buck.

Thomas Lee Hock Seng (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 05, 2018, with the headline 'Stop corporate, bureaucratic merry-go-rounds'. Print Edition | Subscribe