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Secret shoppers rating service from city staff

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POSTED April 9, 2010 2:37 a.m.
Just how courteous and helpful are Manteca municipal workers when it comes to dealing with the public?

City leaders may soon find out with the rolling out of a “secret shopper” effort in conjunction with Delta College business students.

Manteca Police Public Information Officer Rex Osborn at Tuesday’s Manteca Kiwanis meeting at Prestige Senior Living shared municipal plans to see just how city workers are doing when it comes to interacting with the public

Osborn said the goal is to see how well “customers” are treated and determine if there are areas that service can be improved.

It isn’t unusual for retailers to deploy secret shoppers in a bid to gauge the effectiveness and courteousness of how their staff deals with the public.

It is part of an ongoing effort by the city to improve the delivery of services to the city’s 67,000 residents.

Recent innovations or changes include:

• The one-stop permit center and streamlining the approval process so those applying for everything from a business permit, a building permit for a hot water heater installation, or submitting plans for a subdivision don’t have to go from one department to another or wait weeks for results.

• Closing most municipal operations every other Friday - the lightest day of the week for people to access City Hall services - so hours could be extended on other days when demand is higher.

• Remodeling the lobby at the finance department so more than three people can wait inside in line at one time to reduce their exposure to inclement weather.

• Live webcasting of council meetings.

The city is also exploring ways to make municipal workers more responsive to neighborhood needs and by finding ways to empower front-line workers to make decisions so concerns don’t have to go through what has been characterized as a “military command style” that bureaucracies such as municipal governments employ.
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