In Every Feedback, An Opportunity

Exposed to new work environments, Housing and Development Board (HDB) officers Iris Heng and Jessica Lim adapted, learnt and returned from their experiences fresh with new insights.
An illustration of a Grab car, and the Digibank app on a phone

When HDB senior estate manager Iris Heng started her attachment at ride-sharing company Grab in February 2018, she dived straight into the upheaval that was the Grab-Uber merger.

“I joined the team on the ground to do the conversion process for drivers – from Uber to Grab – and make the process of registering the drivers smoother and faster,” she said.

For six months, Iris, 31, was an Operations Specialist (Driver Experience and Service Quality) in the Partner Experience department, which supports operations at Grab’s various Driver Centres.

“It was a fruitful experience as we got to see how small changes could make a big difference in the customer experience,” she added. Tweaking processes so drivers knew what to expect after signing up, for example, reduced the number of drivers making repeated visits to check on their application status. Staff could then devote more time to drivers with more pressing needs.

Work and learn

Iris is one of 10 public officers in the Service Delivery Talent Attachment Programme initiated by the Public Service Division. These officers go on work-and-learn attachments of up to 12 months in leading customer-centric companies.

The companies are chosen for their strengths in service delivery and practices that support service transformation: service analytics, self-help services, customer journey transformation and personalised services.

Public officers with the potential to take on service leadership positions are nominated by their agencies to join the programme. During their attachments, they work on projects that solve business needs, and take what they learn back to their agency to lead or support service transformation projects.

Iris thought it was “the perfect opportunity to experience working in the private sector”, having been with the HDB for nine years. Another draw was the job scope being carefully created to meet the needs of the public sector.

Iris Heng, Housing and Development Board (HDB) Officer
It was a fruitful experience as we got to see how small changes could make a big difference in the customer experience. –Iris Heng

At Grab, Iris was part of a service centre transformation project. The aim: to enhance the onboarding and on-site service experience for Grab drivers. She worked with data analytics to identify opportunities for innovation. After identifying potential areas for improvement, she worked with her supervisor to put together a plan to enhance service delivery and tracked its effectiveness.

She also got to work on projects such as reviewing the GrabFood registration process, improving the queue filtering process for self-registration kiosks and developing a prototype for an electronic customer satisfaction survey.

Supportive environment

Iris’s attachment was not without its share of challenges, but helpful supervisors and colleagues made all the difference. The toughest part was familiarising herself with Grab’s work processes, as her job scope at the HDB is vastly different. “The fast pace of work was definitely something I had to get used to,” said Iris.

She also saw that Grab staff were quick to share and respond to feedback. In an informal chat group of Grab employees across Asia, staff would freely share comments heard from drivers, friends and other sources. Problems were quickly taken up and resolved, and calls for help swiftly answered or recommended to appropriate colleagues and departments.

“Experiencing Grab’s open culture of feedback-sharing showed me that no matter how insignificant a piece of feedback may seem, it could potentially bring positive impact to the whole company,” said Iris.

Similarly, when Jessica Lim, 32, also a HDB senior estate manager, did a six-month attachment at DBS in 2018, she had to adapt to her new workplace and banking jargon.

With support from her mentors at DBS, she quickly settled into her role as a Customer Journey Manager. Her supervisor guided her on how to put customer feedback into perspective, and also checked in with her bosses at the HDB. Jessica’s key duties were clearly outlined from the start, and planned so that she would see her project implementation from start to end.

Jessica Lim, Housing and Development Board (HDB) Officer
It was interesting to learn how DBS categorises open-ended feedback and integrates this data into one common platform. –Jessica Lim

Lessons to take back

At DBS, Jessica’s work focused on analysing customer feedback on the Digibank app for India, including preparing reports to update management. She also worked on a project to build a dashboard to capture data from various feedback channels, and surveys for management to review the customer satisfaction for DBS’ products and services.

“It was interesting to learn how DBS categorises open-ended feedback and integrates this data into one common platform. What I learnt during my attachment is definitely relevant and applicable to my work,” says Jessica.

For example, incorporating data analytics into HDB’s feedback management system could help officers gain more meaningful insights on customers’ feedback, improve internal work processes and ultimately enhance customers’ experience with the HDB.

For Iris, what impressed her most at Grab was how its management walked the talk and worked directly with staff on feedback from drivers.

Having seen how every experience and feedback can be taken as an opportunity, she now wants to bring this mindset back to the HDB: to see every piece of feedback positively. “It is through such feedback that an organisation makes continual improvement to its products and services.”

The takeaway

  1. View feedback positively
    Every piece of feedback is as an opportunity for improvement.

  2. Support your colleagues
    It makes for a healthier work environment when everyone works together.

  3. Explore data analytics
    Think about what aspects of your work can benefit from using data analytics.

This story is the first in a series about officers’ experiences in the Service Delivery Talent Attachment Programme. For more information, contact the Service Delivery team at Public Service Division.

Related stories:

    May 29, 2019
    Audrey Ng
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