JPS closing seven branches as it expands digital servicesWednesday, February 24, 2021
KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Jamaica Public Service (JPS) says it will be expanding its digital service channels and as a result will begin the phased closing of seven of its customer service offices as of Monday, March 8.
The company said the offices to be closed are located in the parishes of St Catherine (Portmore), Clarendon, St Elizabeth, Westmoreland, St Mary, St Thomas, and Kingston (East Parade).
Following the closure of the offices, only the Bill Express sections and the courtesy phones to call the JPS call centre will remain. The company noted that closures will be complete on April 1.
“We are responding to changing customer behaviour,” said JPS Senior Vice President of Customer Services, Ramsay McDonald. “Less than five per cent of our customers in these parishes actually go into the offices to do transactions.”
“In the last year, we saw a dramatic reduction in the number of customers coming into our offices, as more persons are choosing to contact us by telephone or through our online contact points. Currently, over 70 per cent of customer contacts with JPS comes through our 24-hour call centre, webchat, social media, emails, and our recently launched mobile app. We are therefore redeploying resources to our customers' preferred contact points to ensure seamless delivery of service,” he continued.
The company said the primary reason customers visit JPS offices is to pay bills and make bill queries, and even these are being done remotely at an increasing rate.
“There has been a steady uptick in online bill payments, with fewer and fewer customers coming in to do these payments. The movement away from office visits has no doubt been influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic, but this trend has been in the making for a few years now. More persons recognise that there are several more convenient options available to them. Additionally, the new MyJPS mobile app has accelerated the shift to digital interactions, as our customers now have access to a wide range of services at their fingertips, including bill payments and account updates, usage tracking, outage reporting, and application for service,” McDonald explained.
But the company is committed to maintaining a presence in the communities it serves, even with the closure of the offices.
“We will also be providing service through our mobile offices, where we are able to overcome the challenges posed by the COVID pandemic,” McDonald noted.
Five JPS customer service offices will remain open in Ruthven Road, Kingston and St Andrew; Spanish Town, St Catherine; Mandeville, Manchester; St Ann's Bay, St Ann; and Montego Bay, St James.
The company closed its offices in Trelawny, Portland and Hanover in early 2020.
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