Customer service – Comsign gives this a new meaning

I recently wrote about delivering quality service. Fail, and customers will desert you quickly. Respond, and you are likely to see increased revenues.

Simple no? And then into my lap fell the story of ComSign, comfortably located in one of Tel Aviv’s most bubbly commercial zones. Why is this company so central to the domestic economy?

Since the beginning of January 2010, Israel tax authorities require all large  companies to use an electronic signature on government transactions. This means hundreds of thousands of companies must register their electronic signature in advance. And as ComSign has announced:

ComSign is the only Israeli company authorized to issue legally binding electronic signatures approved by the law and by the Justice Ministry.

So, my source, as finance officer of his high tech company makes an appointment to visit ComSign. Call him Joe. The meeting is set for 10.00am, which gives Joe plenty of time to move on to the next call, an hour later. Also simple? No!

When Joe arrived, he found a massive queue; 4 clerks with tens of people waiting. You see, the company policy is ask 4-5 people to come in for each clerk at the same time! So Joe waited. And waited.

Joe entered into conversation with somebody, who had come in from Kyriat Shmona. That’s almost on the border with Lebanon – a 4 hour journey to sign a form and pay a cheque! If you did not realise it, ComSign has only one office in the country for this service – although they are now about to open a second branch in Haifa.

Joe grew impatient. He started to look for the manager, who kindly sent in another clerk. Could this be  a major triumph for efficiency? No, because several more customers had turned up in the meantime.

Joe had to decide whether to stay or leave for a commercial appointment. And then he found out a vital piece of information. That room was only the first stage in a 2-part process. Once he was to finish with the clerks, who really were trying to work quickly, he had to pay. That aspect would be in a different part of the building, several minutes walk away.

Joe left. And as he wandered off, he found himself outside the cashiers’ department. He smiled, with despair. If the previous queue had been long, there were double the number of people waiting to pay.

So, what’s the postscript? I am happy to give extra publicity to ComSign and the unique way they have decided to treat people. I will not comment about the tax authorities, who as they are in the public sector do not have to be concerned about such queues.

I will mention that I read about a Jerusalem company, located just a few miles away from the tax offices, which offers customized electronic signatures via a web service. If this were to be used, I wonder how much collective time it would save the Israeli economy. But who cares?

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2 Comments on “Customer service – Comsign gives this a new meaning”

  1. […] Afternoon Tea In Jerusalem What you want to know about Israeli commercial life and society « Customer service – Comsign gives this a new meaning […]

  2. Michael Horesh Says:

    Joe went back to ComSign this week. He started the process from where he left off, when he was supposed to start back at the beginning. He actually was seen, even though he had never made an appointment. He was given personnal approval to sign checks on begalf of the company, so infact the company was not given an approval itself – what happens if he leaves??
    And here’s the biggy! 30,000 companies have to complete this process by VAT day on 15th February. Assuming wildly that 50% have done that, that leaves another 15,000 during 10 working days.
    What was he big test that Joe went through? Somebody glared at him, glared at his ID, and then questionned demandingly if they were the same people. Joe said yes. Fantastic!!!1
    And the tax authorities trust this company. Do you?

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