The First Rule of the Government Customer Service Game: Steal the Citizen’s Playbook

Is Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning excellent because he has natural talent or because he works hard?

While the answer is probably a bit of both, the truth is that Manning just works smarter.

Consider this excerpt from an article that illustrates Manning’s game preparation:

Most great quarterbacks are remembered for how they play the game, Peyton is best known for how he studies it. That’s what gives him his advantage, his aura, not that he’s necessarily a better athlete than his competition, but that he’s better prepared. Elway was the tough guy. Montana was the cool guy. Favre will probably go down as the fun one.


Love him or hate him, but he’s the nerd.

In many ways, Manning’s nerdy nature is what enables him to know his opponent’s playbook — almost better than them!

And that’s what you need when it comes to government customer service: you need to study the people who are lining up across from you week in and week out.

While citizens aren’t your opponents, they definitely have a playbook. They have a preconceived notion in their mind about how the exchange with you should turn out. They have high expectations for your exchange, and the old adage of “the customer’s always right” basically means that you let them win the game.

Knowing that the stakes are high when it comes to the game of government customer service, earlier this year we huddled up at GovLoop to produce a Customer Service Playbook for Government. Basically, it walks you through a step by step process to better understand your customers – their behaviors, the places where they start to think about you and the ways in which you can get your staff ready for game day (which is every day!).

Click the image to the right to download it. I’d also encourage you to check out the editable templates that allow you to leverage this tool to improve your agency’s customer service today.

Back to the original query about Manning as applied to each of us:

Do you have a naturally pleasing personality that puts a smile on every citizen’s face?

Maybe, maybe not. Not all of us were born with the gift of conviviality.

Can you work hard to ensure that you go the extra mile for your customers?

Absolutely…but that can lead to burnout.

So why not be more like Manning?

Study your customer with nerd-like intensity and tenacious intentionality.

Then create a game plan that makes them feel like they’ve won after every encounter with your team. Ultimately, after the dust has settled and the game is over, you win when they win.


Oracle offers an optimized and fully integrated stack of business hardware and software systems that helps organizations overcome complexity and unleash innovation.. Check out their Optimize with Oracle group on GovLoop.


Want More GovLoop Content? Sign Up For Email Updates

Leave a Comment

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply