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Poor telephone service

To ignore that the provision of most services to people, by both the government and private business, is today close to being totally dependent on a fully effective and efficient use of the telephone is tantamount to burying one’s head into the sand. Regrettably, this is an area where, judging by personal experience, Malta is still light years away.

We badly need some systems of monitoring how long it takes from the time a telephone starts ringing in any type of office to when one can start speaking. There are many classical examples of a telephone call for service being close to mission impossible.

We seem to have this obsession with having answering machines with the person making the call left “hanging” in mid-air waiting to be put through. And this, we are told, amounts to “service”. It simply is not.

In many places that first machine response sooner rather than later turns into sheer exasperation at the endless waiting, and one often simply ends up slamming his phone down... with of course this badly needed thing called service not having ever been received/provided.

Is the answer having more telephone operators? Is it having more lines available for customers to use, e.g. even direct lines through to the particular departments and/or persons who one wishes to speak to?

Is it by the Chief Permanent Secretary issuing some sort ofcircular imposing in all government departments that the person nearest to a telephone when it rings in any government office is responsible for lifting that phone, answering it, and putting people in touch with the desired service provider?

The answer is probably a mix of all these, plus even more.

Telephone service in Malta is still in an abyssal state. In the light of the many honest efforts being made to make ours an ever more efficient and modern society, we still need to work extremely hard in this area.

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