Prioritising Customers in Miri City Council’s Service Delivery

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Aerial view of Miri City

At Miri City Council (MCC), it is important to maintain close collaboration with its contractors to ensure projects are being implemented in a timely manner.

The reason, according to its mayor YBhg Mayor Adam Yii, is simple but crucial: their ‘boss’, both for MCC and contractors, is the people of Miri.

Miri City Council mayor YBhg Mayor Adam Yii

“We have to be accountable to our ‘boss’ who are actually paying for their assessment bills… they are our paymaster.

“So it is in the interest of Miri City Council to try to work with contractors and see how to resolve any of the problems so that projects can be completed successfully and quickly,” Mayor Yii says in an interview with RAKAN Sarawak.

In meeting the needs of the Miri people, the mayor describes MCC’s customer management in three aspects.

The first is Customer Service Counter, which serves as “the direct interface” between the council and the public who visit the counter to settle their bills or report issues concerning the council’s services.

To offer a comfortable and convenient service experience to its customers, MCC provides an organised and tidy environment within the service counter, including proper seating area and a digital queueing system to control customers’ flow and maintain waiting time.

It also facilitates and promotes cashless payment whether via online or credit card or debit card as a payment option for customers who prefer not to handle too much cash, more so with the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Additionally, an information corner is set up at the council’s service counter for the public to enquire information regarding its services and ways of utilising them.

The second aspect is Customer Convenience, especially in establishing a hospitable Miri City.

Aspects of Miri City Council’s customer management aim to meet the needs of the Miri peopl

Thus far, MCC has provided adequate parking facilities where possible, proper signage for the public to travel around the city, as well as self-service canteen facilities and a help desk that are being set up at the upcoming Miri City Hall in Marina Bay.

Of late, the council is paying more attention to ways of assisting persons with disabilities through more inclusive services and facilities in order that their needs are being looked into and looked after.

The third is Serving the Customers. As more and more people are becoming in tune with advancement in technology, there is a need for government agencies and departments like MCC to adapt and meet their customers’ increased expectations.

As such, in terms of bill payment for instance, it has made facilities available for mobile payment, as well as mobile counters and payment collection staff to ensure a seamless experience.

The council has also outlined Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and service performance appraisal so that its staff are able to deliver consistently and offer services to customers to the highest degree.

The upcoming Miri City Hall, as of August 2021. The new city hall will feature accessible and convenient facilities that are bound to benefit the public

Asked how MCC encourages its staff to perform at their best, Mayor Yii notes the importance of having the attitude and understanding in serving the people.

“We are here for a reason. We are here to provide certain types of services under the council, so we have to bear in mind the reason we are here.

“I think if one have that attitude then I think the person will go to all length to make sure that they are providing the best possible service to the public,” he explains.

There are of course challenges in ensuring that the necessary services are being delivered to the public effectively. For MCC, a major one is its personnel in its many units or departments – or lack thereof.

“We do not have sufficient staff. And also I think that a lot of time the staff need to be provided with more training, especially on motivation and all that,” Mayor Yii says.

There is also a need for staff members to gain more training and exposure to ideas, perspectives and environments from outside Sarawak and even Malaysia. Before the start of COVID-19, the mayor was planning an educational trip to Japan for an MCC engineer who had yet to step outside the country.

He further opines that the civil service in Malaysia and around the world are plagued with numerous organisational problems such as human resource and service delivery approach – a situation he had expected when he was appointed MCC mayor in 2016.

Nevertheless, in spite of the problems faced in managing the council, Mayor Yii is driven to make sure that he, the councillors and staff are capable of meeting the needs of their ‘boss’, that being the Miri people. 

“It will take time, determination and political will so to speak to solve all these problems,” he says.

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