Need a pep talk? Talk to Chuck.

I wonder if Washington (by which I mean government + industry alike) could take a page out of Schwab’s play book. I’m confident you’ve seen their recent ads that conclude with “Talk to Chuck;” less so that this recent article in Fast Company grabbed your attention.

Now, I’ll be the first to admit I didn’t see the parallels between Schwab’s customer base and GovLoop’s members. That is, until I thought about a conversation I had with Computech’s marketing manager about the CDC’s use of Twitter. Bear with me as I cite the passage in Fast Company that struck a chord — and prompted this entry — before elaborating on bringing “Chuck” into the beltway:

“…The wild swings in the national mood have forced [Schwab] to perform customer service at lightning speed. “We’re now saying, in real time, ‘What do our customers need to know from us right now?'”… When anxiety is high, for example, Schwab markets products that speak to safety, such as high-yield checking. “We want our Web site to reflect our responsiveness to what our customers are going through… We are trying to be very current, giving them different kinds of products that emphasize safety and cash. We built a real-life retirement center for people who are close to retirement and are worried about how they’re adjusting their lives.”

See the parallels to gov 2.0? As the U.S. public demands faster — and more regular — communication and support from federal, state, and local government, the demand for transparency and responsiveness takes on a new — and massive — meaning. Today, it means opening up agency operations and plans in such a way that encourages both collaboration and competition (both healthy, by the way) — without compromising security or privacy. Tomorrow? Here’s where Chuck comes into play. Assuming agencies can accumulate & share information about the people who’s interests they protect just like the investment house, the more strategic I believe our government can and will become.

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Marilyn Clark

Great post! I think it’s important to challenge ourselves to draw parallels between gov’t and industry. Time for me to share this with a bunch of people who need to change their thinking!