Customs staff recognised for customer service

| 06/04/2017
CNS Local Life

Caroline Roberts (second from left) with Customs Department officials and staff (L-R) Charles Clifford, Stephen Walton, Gidget Powell, Barry Solomon, Brandi Sherieff and Jeff Jackson

(CNS Local Life): Four customs staffers were commended on Friday, 31 March 2017 in a surprise celebration for their excellent customer service. Customs officers Barry Solomon, Brandi Sherieff and Kara Ebanks as well as customs porter Stephen Walton received fruit baskets as tokens of appreciation presented jointly by a member of the Cayman Islands public and the department’s senior management.

Leading the celebration was Caroline Roberts of Quick Images, stated a government press release, who said she was impressed by the quality of service from customs officers she observed when she returned to Cayman on a flight from Tampa on 13 March 2017. Frequently overseas for business, she brings in dutiable items for which she pays duty each time, which in turn gives her many opportunities to observe, she said.

That day, Roberts explained, she was particularly struck by the level of customer care displayed by customs staff, most notably from Solomon. She named the officer “Cayman’s Bob Barker”, after the erstwhile genial host of the highly popular television game show “The Price is Right”.

She told the officers being celebrated, “We really appreciate what you are doing.”

Roberts said she also noticed Solomon cheerfully answering questions from visitors. She decided to express her appreciation with a token in kind and approached the department to make the surprise presentation in person.

Collector of Customs Charles Clifford, who along with Roberts handed over the fruit baskets, thanked the staff for protecting Cayman’s borders, saying: “We sometimes get complaints but it is rare for a member of the public to take the time to offer a commendation and we sincerely thank Ms Roberts for her very kind gesture.”

Clifford added, “In an organisation like ours, this is even more notable as we continue to strike that fine balance between excellence in customer service and protecting our borders.”

He also thanked Assistant Collector of Customs Gidget Powell and Deputy Collector of Customs Jeff Jackson for their leadership at the airport and of the border protection portfolio, respectively.

Jackson said he was equally moved by Roberts’ appreciative intent when he dealt with her request. “We chose this opportunity to show our own appreciation to a few more customs staff who had displayed exceptional capabilities with their excellent customer service in the past few weeks.”

He added, “We are proud of the way our officers rise to different challenges that present daily. For instance, customs officer (CO) Azzelia Watler recently handled with caring compassion and great professionalism a visitor who had an epileptic seizure when at the customs counter. Even though this was a novel experience for the officer, she didn’t hesitate and her training kicked in so that she could help the visitor.

“Similarly, Ms Sherieff’s innate abilities resulted in the detection of a person who brought in contraband. CO Kara Ebanks is also singled out for continuously providing outstanding customer service and Mr Walton’s sharp eye detected several cases of undeclared alcohol taken off the conveyor belt that was sitting on the floor.”

Lauding all customs staff for their diligence, Jackson said, “Officers work hard every day to protect our borders from drugs, weapons and other illegal activities to preserve a safe and healthy environment for all.

“We take complaints of employees’ negative attitudes and behaviour very seriously and act quickly to investigate. But we also act quickly to praise employees for excellent work and it is always gratifying to know our employees perform their day-to-day duties with such friendly professionalism that was observed and praised by this traveller.”


Category: Civil Service

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