How to Overcome Cultural Barriers to Improve Customer Service

GovLoop Research Report: Re-Imagining Customer Service In Government

GovLoop is proud to announce our latest resource, The GovLoop Research Report: Re-Imagining Customer Service in Government. In this report, experts in the field provide insights and best practices to improve customer service in government. Be sure to check out the home page to view additional resources related to customer service.

Everyone has a favorite customer experience. Unfortunately, when people think of excellent customer service examples they usually don’t think of government. According to our research, there are still significant cultural barriers to improving customer service in government, including public perception.

Although not easy, there are ways to slowly break down these cultural barriers. Our report highlights four tactics public sector organizations can do: find a champion, identify a business case, learn to navigate organizational culture, be open to feedback and criticism.

Find a Champion: Many interviewees noted that identifying customer service “champions” was essential to successfully implementing new initiatives. With these key people continuously pushing for improved customer service, they are able to support programs, hold others accountable, and work through cultural barriers.

Work on Identifying a Business Case: One common barrier to improved customer service is managerial support. By building a strong business case that demonstrates increased business value, management will be more likely to support new customer service initiatives.

Learn to Navigate Organizational Culture: To be successful, you need to understand the culture of your organization, the politics, and the conflicting interests. Understanding people and how they like to be treated is essential to gathering support for customer service initiatives.

Be Transparent and Open to Critical Feedback: Learning and growing from criticism is an important value for an organization, but particularly in customer service. It is necessary for administrators of customer service initiatives to welcome new ideas, collaborate and most importantly, accept constructive criticism. It is with this feedback that organizations can begin to really break down cultural barriers and improve customer service.

How is your agency overcoming cultural barriers?

View the Guide Below or Download the PDF

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Wendi Pomerance Brick

There are both individual contributions to a culture through each person’s “sphere of influence” and systems an organization can put in place to sustain the culture over a long term, so it becomes part of the infrastructure and is no longer personality-driven.