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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

General Post Office says ‘Cheese’

Express News Service  |   28th February 2017

BENGALURU: How does a over 160-year-old organisation that delivers letters stay relevant to a generation that is obsessed with emojis? Well, through smileys, says Thimoji Rao, deputy chief postmaster at the General Post Office (GPO) near Vidhana Soudha.

Smile Please

You’ve got to mind your emojis if you want to keep up with the millennials, he says. Under the consumer redressal forum of the central government, all postal offices were directed to introduce customer-friendly initiatives, informs Rao. “That’s how the smiley initiative happened in Bengaluru. We started the project on December 10, wherein the staff at the token counters and the postmen were asked to wear smiley badges while on duty,” he adds.
Smiley stickers were put up on counters of seven postal head offices in Bengaluru including – GPO near Vidhana Soudha, Jalahalli, Rajajinagar, HAL Stage, Basvanagudi, Jayanagar and RT Nagar.

“The idea is to make the postal system more approachable to the general public. We want them to be comfortable with our staff and have a good experience with their visit to our offices,” says Rao.

Conversation Channel Opens

The smiley initiative has also increased interaction prospects between postal department officials and the public. “The Indian postal department has been serving the public for over a century now, but we have always kept to the routine work. Looking up addresses and delivering them. It is only now following the smiley sticker has our interaction with the public improved,” says Manjunath G, postaman at GPO.

The 53-year-old adds that his interactions with the customers have now grown beyond the usual, “Sir/madam, please sign here. They now ask me about the smiley and we have a good talk at times,” he says.

‘Get More Thank yous Now’

Another postman at the GPO, A S Chandrashekar, too cherishes his conversations with the public better now. “I have always delivered letters with a smile, but never received as many smiles back. The smileys have definitely made a difference. Now, everytime I deliver a letter, they ask me about the badge and smile back,” says Chandrashekar.

The 40-year-old postman notes that the response to the badges among the public has been a friendly and positive one. “I get to hear more thank yous in a day than I used to earlier,” he says.

Those who now know of him call him from afar as soon as they see him. “Oh Namaskara! The smiling postman is here,” they scream.

Letters to Postal Dept

Ravi Das, 43, inspector at the customer care counter at the GPO, calls the initiative “an extension of the good service” of the postal department. He informs that the smiley badges are handed out following a systemic curation of an official’s friendly service.

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