This week we have been celebrating customer service at GovLoop, we’ve had a lot of great posts, comments and ideas on GovLoop celebrating the week. I’d encourage all of you to take a look at some of the great resources that GovLoop offers on customer service, and jump in on some of the great posts and forum discussions created by our community members.
Often, public sector customer service officials are faced with difficult conversations, challenges and need to effectively be trained how to handle difficult customers. It is not an easy task to manage customer service for people paying parking, taxes, seeking information on road closures, providing passport information – these are not always the easiest of services to provide, but essential to keeping our government and country running.
I thought I would take my turn and talk about what makes a great customer experience, highlighting my 5 Core Customer Service Values
Most the time, the person we are in communication with about a service complaint, is by no means the problem. What frustrates me as a consumer, is when I have to explain my problem, and it is as if no one is on the other end. Sometimes just hearing, “I completely understand your frustrations,” or “I am right there with you, I am doing everything to get this right,” goes a long way. Just knowing that they can relate is something I really value.
Problems are not easy to solve, customers typically understand this. But when we are moved across three departments, multiple conversations, repeating information, customers patience becomes thin. For a customer service worker, patience truly needs to be a virtue, listening carefully, understanding the issue, and working to fix the issue. There is a certain skill to remain patience with difficult customers, but it is essential to providing and excelling with customer service in the public sector.
I truly enjoy working with or talking with people who are passionate about what they do. It’s always inspiring to hear people passionate about their craft, their skills, and taking their work to a higher level. This is true for me with customer service officials, I love it when customer service representatives are upbeat, energetic and genuinely listening to your issues, and trying to help.
Employees need to keep working towards a resolution. Sometimes this is not easy, especially with how complex government often operates, but being persistent and finding an appropriate solution is one of the most important roles of a customer service official. Often, this means that management needs to have properly trained employees and has clearly provided all the right information, points of contact and whatever resources are needed to assist a customer.
Desire to Improve
Customer service officials have dozens of conversations with customers each day. The organizations that do customer service best are the ones that look at data, analyze conversations, train employees and constantly looking for ways to improve their product/service and how they are providing customer service. In a lot of cases, customers are reporting similar challenges and issues, what separates good customer service representatives from poor is that they look at each case as an individual and unique case. Although the solution might be identical to a previous call, the ability to truly connect with customer and treat them like they are the first person ever to report the problem, is crucial.
Again, this week GovLoop salutes everyone working to provide improved customer service in government. If it’s answering the phones at a call center, filing permits, taking in parking tickets, or even running a social media account, customer service is what you do. This week is to say thank you to all of you, and to keep up on focusing on the best ways to service your core customer.
As we continue to celebrate customer service week, I’d be interested to hear what your core values are for customer service.
This post is brought to you by the GovLoop Communications & Citizen Engagement Council. The mission of this council is to provide you with information and resources to help improve government. Visit the GovLoop Communications and Citizen Engagement Council to learn more.