World Class Customer Service in Government

The biggest brands in the world have one thing in common – they understand the value of customer service and have found unique ways to make it a core part of their business. How can we do the same in local government? Let’s learn from the top brands we’ve picked out.

“Everyone should work in a call center.”

Your call center is the face of your organization. How can you make the most of it? Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos makes sure that everyone, including himself, has the opportunity to work in the Amazon call center. Why is this important? Everyone in your government needs to be connected to the customer experience. Talking to your customers first hand is the first step in providing them better service. No one knows your pain points better than your customers, so give them a chance to help improve your service delivery.

“Reset your customers’ internal clock.”

Always show your customers that you’re working hard to make them happy. Even if you haven’t yet solved their problem, let them know you’re working on it and haven’t forgotten them. For example, when Ritz Carlton experiences delays in bringing out the food that their customer ordered, the waiter gives them a small appetizer while they wait. How does this change the customer’s experience? They’re still waiting for their food, but they know they haven’t been forgotten, and the waiter avoided making their last touch point an unpleasant one. By increasingly adopting technology in their processes, local governments have new ways of reaching a wider audience through digital and mobile channels.

“Be predictable and consistent.”

Build a process, and stick to it. JetBlue has been able to follow this rule and earn a reputation for minimal delays. When your customers know exactly what to expect from you, it’s difficult to disappoint them. In the case of local government, keep your citizens in the loop by opening up your processes to them. Keep them updated on your internal communications if it’s relevant to them, so that they know exactly what’s happening to their request and when they can expect a solution.

“Spend more time with your customers.”

Zappos’ customer service call center has a record call time of 10 hours. They don’t rush through their customers to fulfill a call time requirement, and have consistently followed their core value of making customers happy. This is an important value to apply to government-citizen interactions, to ensure that the citizen experience is at the core of municipal processes and decisions.

Government is not traditionally associated with excellent customer service, but that doesn’t make it impossible. Learning from the best customer service organizations in the private sector is a great way to bring the same experience to government-citizen relations.

*This article was originally posted on the PublicStuff blog.

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