Doing Their Best for Service Excellence | SPD - Singapore
Doing Their Best for Service Excellence
Congratulations to our three recipients of the Service Excellence Award for third quarter 2018 – Cheong Chin Keong, IT executive, Lim Poh Poh, social worker at the SPD Day Activity Centre (DAC), and Siti Zuraina Binte Mohamed Ramlan, administrative assistant at SPD@Bedok. UPDATES finds out more from them about their passion at work and what motivates them towards service excellence.
Q1: Could you share some of the challenges you face at work?
Chin Keong: Sometimes, I would require more time to look into colleagues’ issues and get back to them later. I may also have to suggest alternative methods which may be different from what they have in mind initially. Nevertheless, our colleagues have been very understanding. They did not demand that I provide them with a solution immediately and were willing to accommodate alternatives.
Poh Poh: Many of our clients at our DAC have elderly caregivers. Language barriers, hearing issues and the caregivers’ difficulties in comprehending information are common challenges. I would have to think of ways to best convey the information to them. For example, I may need to guide them step-by-step through an application process or accompany them personally to get the procedure done.
Siti Zuraina: There are a number, for example, language barriers and sometimes miscommunication with the caregivers. However, if you think positively, you will surely make it no matter how hard and difficult it is. For me, I struggled a lot in the beginning, but I have a lot people supporting me and encouraging me to overcome the challenges.
Lim Poh Poh (left) and Cheong Chin Keong
Q2: Could you share a memorable incident at work?
Chin Keong: Once, after I assisted a colleague with his IT issue, he wrote me a thank you note on the spot, thanking me for my prompt response. It was a nice gesture and I am glad that colleagues appreciate what I do.
Poh Poh: At times, caregivers may have strong views about the care of their dependents, which may not always be beneficial to the clients. I would need to be patient and be persistent in reaching out to them by using different strategies to advocate, persuade and convince them on behalf of the clients.
We had a case where one of our client’s house was infested with bed bugs. We could not allow him to attend the DAC programme for fear of the bed bug problem spreading to other DAC clients. The client’s caregiver was not keen to deal with the issue and was prepared to just let the client stay at home instead of returning to the DAC programme. Eventually, I sought the help of HDB, the neighbours, and various community partners to assist them in moving out to a temporary location and to get professional help to clear the bed bugs.
We do also need to respect the wishes and decisions of the caregivers. Sometimes, they are just not ready to deal with certain issues or challenges they are facing. For such situations, if there are no apparent or immediate safety concerns to the client, we would have to find another opportunity to engage the caregivers. We need to keep track and constantly follow-up with our clients and their families. It is through these interactions and communication over time that rapport is built and fostered. When we have established a good working relationship with the caregivers, it makes our work much easier.
Siti Zuraina: It’s when you can see the improvement the children at EIPIC (Early Intervention Programme for Infants and Children) made. My working area is at the reception. Even though I’m not the one who teaches them, seeing them laughing and enjoying themselves when coming for EIPIC is rewarding.
Q3: What motivates you to strive towards service excellence?
Chin Keong: To be able to resolve our colleagues’ issues so that they can carry out their work smoothly.
Poh Poh: If I am a caregiver or client at SPD, I would hope to be treated by SPD staff members who are committed to serving, engaging and supporting me. With this in mind, I try my best to treat our clients the way that I hope to be treated if I am client or a caregiver.
Siti Zuraina: When I see the smiles of our clients.
Q4: What do you think plays an important part in delivering service excellence?
Chin Keong: It is important to have a supportive team. I seek my teammates’ help from time to time and we discuss and resolve difficult issues together, which I feel is vital in delivering service excellence.
Poh Poh: I agree with Chin Keong. Each team member plays a role in ensuring the delivery of the best care to our clients. In many ways, I rely on the support, spirit and combined efforts of all my DAC teammates and volunteers in serving our clients and their caregivers.
Siti Zuraina: Encouragement is important. When you have people to support and encourage you, you will make it no matter how hard it is.
Siti Zuraina at the reception at SPD@Bedok
Q5: What are your thoughts on receiving this award?
Chin Keong and Poh Poh: It was a pleasant surprise for us and definitely an encouragement as well as a motivation for us to continue to do our best!
Siti Zuraina: Honestly, I didn’t expect to receive this award. To me, it’s a compliment. And I will continue to keep up the good work!
Here are excerpts of compliments for our three recipients:
Cheong Chin Keong
“Chin Keong is a professional dedicated to his role in delivering consistent and reliable IT support to our SPD community. Always accommodating and attentive to our users' needs, he demonstrates patience and empathy in delivering his work commitments.” – Ee Boon Siong, IT Manager
Lim Poh Poh
“Poh Poh always works with caregivers and other stakeholders in a respectful and collaborative manner. She journeys with the caregivers and problem-solves with them together, sometimes even beyond the call of duty. She’ll constantly think about how to make the situation better for the caregivers not only financially but also socially, helping to look out when some caregivers might need respite and suggesting them to do so.” – Chris Wong, DAC Manager
Siti Zuraina Binte Mohamed Ramlan
"Zuraina is a very dedicated staff and she takes pride in her work. She listens to the requests, concerns and enquiries of staff and clients very carefully and sensitively, and always extends help with a smile." – Siti Zuraina’s colleagues at SPD@Bedok