Hats off

Three cheers to the plucky little town council of Alphen aan den Rijn which is taking on the big cities and upping the ante considerably in terms of ‘customer service’. The council has produced a leaflet outlining its service targets, and pretty tough they are too. More than that, if the council fails to deliver on time, it will hand over a five euro token in compensation.
Take phone calls for example – if you have to wait any more than three rings, five euros will be winging their way to you. And you will no longer be put through to more than two people. The maximum waiting time if all workers are busy is fixed at six minutes and if no-one can help you by then, you will be called back within three days. It all sounds too good to be true…
There are also guidelines for building permit applications, which will not take longer than 10 weeks to process, and waiting times at the counter which will be no longer than 15 minutes.
And just in case you failed to get the message that Alphen aan den Rijn is serious about helping the public, it even has a wealth of information in English, including such mundane items as how to report a broken street light.
And yes, there is even a translation of the complaints form you need to fill in to claim compensation. As the Dutch would say: chapeau!

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