A quality customer service experience has never been more necessary as it is today. Customers can make choices, and with technology at their fingertips, they do research on companies and products before they commit to any sort of purchase or relationship. Communication is also widespread, with customers indicating their likes and dislikes through social media, such as Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace. One customer’s negative experience can define a company in the eyes of many.
Customers not only expect good customer service in the private sector, but also when interacting with the government. According to a 2007 study by Accenture, there are 3 primary aspects which public sector service should be measured:
- Service maturity – is the government available and accessible online? To what extent? 10% of the overall score was based on this factor.
- Customer service maturity – how well do agencies manage communications with citizens and business? This piece considers multi-channel integration (i.e. – mail, internet, and phone), agencies working together to provide services, and proactive communication. This resulted in 50% of a government’s score.
- Citizen voice – what did citizens have to say about service experiences with their government? This customer feedback accounted for 40% of a government’s score in the study.
As you can see, 90% of the scores were based upon communications and interactions with citizens and businesses.
The countries that ranked the highest in the study were Singapore (1st), Canada (2nd), and the United States (3rd). Singapore’s development of a nationwide broadband system will allow for integrated processes across the government sector. They’ve involved private sector businesses and the public in development of this strategy. Ultimately, the focus of this strategy has been on creating value for the citizens and businesses of Singapore.
Canada ranked 2nd in the study, and though their focus is also of putting citizens at the center of initiatives, the primary difference between Canada and Singapore is that Canada’s public has not perceived much improvement in the system over the last few years.
The eGovernment program in the United States has put it in the 3rd position of the study results. This internet-based program has allowed citizens and businesses to interact with the government in a stream-lined process. Also, since quarterly results of measures agreed upon by agencies are made available to the public, they are motivated to meet and exceed the goals.
Focus on the citizens, and their perception of government is important for each of these 3 countries, and has resulted in high customer service rankings. What is the focus of your municipality as it relates to customer service? What are you doing to achieve it?