Flexible arrangements


Who has not yet had the occasion to deal with CTM, the local telecom company? And how many people would have a happy experience to report about their “CTM moment”?
CTM, which is owned by CITIC Telecom International (99 per cent interest), operates several of the local telecommunication’s market segments – mobile phone excluded. In good old jargon, that is a monopoly.
Overall, monopolies tend to benefit companies and, to some extent, governments, if they manage to cut a deal that yields good tax returns. More often than not, though, clients are barely to benefit from such deals.
One point worth considering is the lack of competition. Why should CTM provide better and more efficient services? For the principle of a decent client-business relationship, you may say. But if there is no other option in town, there is no incentive for them to improve their offer.
Another point is the public service “syndrome.” CTM’s home provision, say, for Internet installation, is only delivered during business hours. On top of that, appointments can only be scheduled within 10 to 15 days after a client’s request. Note be made too that punctuality is not their strongest asset. Put together, the whole package becomes a hassle.
For one, during business hours, people are also working, and that usually takes place outside, not at one’s home. It is still to be found where it is written that everybody should start working, have lunch, and leave work at the same hours. But apparently this is how things have been running here for a while.
It does not seem particularly difficult though to figure out that a flexible time arrangement for service provision would be beneficial for all parties, clients and companies alike. CTM’s employees would not have to work more, but simply shifting turns a bit. In return, customers would very likely be more satisfied. It is not a matter of labour law. It is a matter of common sense.
That could also work well for banks. In fact, online banking has already made life much easier for us. But why not take it a step further? Banks in Canada, for instance, have adopted a flexible working-hours system to comply with clients’ needs. One day per week, at least, customers can visit branches at evening time until 9pm. Some open on Saturday afternoons while closing on Tuesdays.
Any candidates here to consider the alternative?