The Customer Service Citizens Want

Ontario Canada has implemented a Lean initiative to improve how government services are provided. I recently obtained a copy of a PowerPoint presentation by Art Daniels, which contains some great information about the implementation of Lean in Ontario. Mr. Daniels has over 40 years of experience in leading change initiatives as a Canadian government official and as a consultant.

Lean is a process that has been implemented successfully in private sector and public sector organizations. To learn more about Lean check out this previous post. An important aspect of Lean is listening to and viewing things from the perspective of your customer.

In 1998 Canada, created the Institute for Citizen Centred Services. An organization where all levels of government share research on the needs and expectations of Canadians as customers of public services. Through research the Canadian government has identified five key elements for satisfying citizen involvement with government services:

Five Key Drivers of Government Client Satisfaction:

1) Timeliness – Satisfaction with the amount of time it took to get the service

2) Knowledge – Staff were knowledgeable

3) Extra Mile – Staff went the extra mile to help me get what I wanted

4) Fairness – I was treated fairly

5) Outcome – In the end, I got what I needed

More Specifically What Citizens Want When Interacting With Government:

Reduce waiting: In lines, on the phone, in the mail etc.

Reduce red tape

Create a “One Stop” Service

Simplify forms and documents

Extend office hours

Make it easier to get information about the service

Use plain language

Make the service available electronically

Give more decision-making power to staff

In light of the above research and through their Lean initiative , Ontario has established the following goals/standards for serving the public:

Service Standards/Goals

5 to 9 minutes – The maximum time to wait in any line at a government office

2 people – The maximum number of people you should have to deal with in order to get service at a government office

15 minutes – A reasonable amount of time to spend traveling to a govt. office one way

30 seconds – An acceptable amount of time to wait on hold on the phone before you speak to a person

2 people – The maximum number of people you should have to deal with in order to get service on a telephone

Same Day – When you should receive a reply to an email or voice mail if left at 10:00 a.m.

1 to 2 weeks – The acceptable amount of time to wait from the day you send a letter to the day you receive a reply by mail

It is great to read and learn about government officials that are dedicated to listening to customers and serving customers as best as they can. What do you think about the research mentioned above and service standards established by Ontario Canada?

Perhaps some of these ideas can be implemented in your community?


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