Influence of Customer Focus Strategies on Service Delivery at the Department of Immigration in Nairobi, Kenya
Gathiaka, Kamiri John
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Within an increasingly competitive environment, customer focus strategies form an .organization strategic tool for improving product/service quality. Organizations placing greater emphasis on customer focus will tend to attach a relatively high degree of importance to eliminating non value added activities and cost, building closer links with customers, having a management approach of meeting customers' need, finding solutions to poor service, and regularly measuring customer service. In this study, the focus was on the influence of customer focus on service delivery, taking the case of Department of Immigration head office in Nairobi. The primary participants were drawn from the customers seeking the service in the department's six divisions. The sampling procedure involved clustering all the customers in terms of division they visited. Using daily work records, a sample size of 142 participants was proportionally drawn based on the sic strata. Data was collected using both questionnaires and interview schedules, and thereafter analysis performed using descriptive statistics and content analysis. The extent to which electronic technology, customer sensitization, internal efficiency, and decentralization were adopted influenced service delivery at the Department of Immigration. Empirically, it was noted that all the four factors were adopted at very low levels making service delivery not effective as anticipated. On electronic technology, it was established that the Department had excluded customers from utility of essential services such as e-pay, eapplications, and e-enquires. Further, the Department did not give services to the expectations of customers since little information was filtering to them. The level of sensitization to customers was found to be distantly minimal. The adopted internal efficiency monitoring mechanisms adopted by the Department were also under-utilized. While customers were hardly involved in product/service development, they were remotely involved in appraising the standard of services offered. Finally, the Department's services had not vastly been decentralized to an extent of branches providing duplicate services. Based on the study findings, it was recommended that efforts are re-engineered towards moving the Department's service provision to a higher competence through widening of eservice, enhancement of customer knowledge, redesign of internal work and efficiency systems, and full decentralizations of functions. These efforts will not only see the department realize its term goals but also in the quest of bolstering Government commitment to public service charter. The Department required a complete shift to full adoption of eservices where customers make online applications, make enquiries, and dedicated feedbacks until when required to be physically present. It is further recommended that for the sake of an informed clientele, the Department should assume the onus of disseminating dedicated information meant to trigger appropriate customer action when in demand of a service. Also, it was recommended that management adopts regular audits by experts and customer opinions to constitute a factual base for the re-engineering process. Of necessity, all reports originating from the Department to regulatory government agencies should reflect objectivity and truism in content and action. Finally, the study recommends that decentralizations of the Department's functions is full effected based on the devolution units as contained in the Kenyan Constitution 2010.