Customer Service in Government: Why We Need to Use Multiple Channels

This is the fourth post in our GovLoop May Blog series, exploring how to break down silos in government. Our first post focused on the “trusted leader” and the traits required for leadership across government. Our second post explored collaboration strategies on your team. Last week, we looked out to the future, and how to recruit the next generation of public servants. This week we look at tools that can be used to share information across government to improve customer service.

Customer service in government has many challenges. One of the most basic challenges that agencies face is identifying the customer they are serving. Customers in government can external and internal, citizens, coworkers, or even private sector businesses. In order to provide improved customer service, agencies need to start with identifying who their core customer is, and adapt to their needs.

For communications professionals involved in providing government customer service, using multiple channels is key to be sure that all customer demands are met. In order to provide a service to many different kinds of customers, different tools need to be used. Customers access information through multiple channels, find information in many ways, which is not always through government channels. To be sure that citizens are finding the right information, government should use a variety of channels for service. Although there are multiple channels an agency can use, this post focuses on three tools, social media, the web and GIS technology.

Social Media

Social media channels like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, all provide great ways for government agencies to share knowledge and connect with customers. Social media is especially good for heavy service oriented agencies, who interface directly with citizens. With citizens adopting more and more social tools in their private lives, and increasing use of social media in the private sector to provide customer service, citizens have an expectation that when they need to ask the government for help, they will receive the same level of service as they do from the private sector.


Websites need to be updated, well designed and information needs to be easy to find. Without a well designed website, customers will not be able to find the right information they are looking for, and will hurt the agency’s reputation. Further, to help break down silos in government, information should be shared across the web with agencies, avoid redundancies and work to produce a “one-stop shop” for consumers.


One of the core ways government can improve using customer service comes from GIS technology. We often do not think of GIS as helping to provide improved customer service, but there are some really interesting benefits of using GIS for improved customer service. I’ve seen some cool applications of GIS for improved customer service. The ability to track and monitor services, and show visually the impact of customer service initiatives is a great service that can be used for agencies.

Using multiple channels is critical for improved customer service – it is also important to help remove silos. The ability to collaborate and offer services across channels will be essential to improved customer service in government.

Using multiple channels is key to government customer service. What are some of the channels that you use for government 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.

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