Mr George Tan, PS21 Office

George Tan PSO Full

It was a simple question in the email: “What are the Government’s service standards?”

When Mr. George Tan from the Public Service Division’s PS21 Office read the email, it was almost the end of the work day. But something in him told him that this question needed prompt and special attention.

Having spent six years manning missile systems on a navy ship, and then another six years as a frontline customer service officer before joining PSD, George had developed a knack of staying calm in tense situations, and sensing customers’ unspoken requests for help.
“I could have replied with a factual answer and called it a day, but I thought, ‘there must be a reason why the customer sent this email’,” said George.

Looking through the email, he noticed the customer was a representative of a Hindu temple. George found the customer’s contact number on the temple’s website, and gave her a call. As they spoke, his hunch was quickly confirmed.

“The temple had wanted to employ a Hindu priest, and had run into some difficulties with some government regulations. After hearing her story, I assured her that I would coordinate with the government agencies, and see what we could do to resolve the issue for her,” recounted George.

What followed was a series of conversations with other public agencies on behalf of the customer. The issue was quickly resolved and the temple was able to employ the priest they needed. George had turned a potential cause for complaint into a positive experience for his customer. To recognise his exemplary approach to customer service, George was given the PS21 Star Award.

For George, this was not his first PS21 Star Award – he had previously been awarded in 2010 when he was a customer service officer at the Central Provident Fund Board. The awards are a testament to his heart for customer service, which he credits his father for.

”My father used to tell me that I shouldn’t do to others what I wouldn’t want others to do to me. I try to apply it to my work in customer service. ‘Serve others as I would want to be served’ is my personal motto, so I always put myself in my customers’ shoes.

“I have a six-year-old son and I try to impart some of these values and skills to him as he grows up. These are not just customer service skills. I think these skills are applicable in life as well,” he said.


George is one of PSD’s four recipients of the 2016 PS21 Star Award. For the profiles of the other awardees, click here.