True confession: My first career was as a lobbyist. For the banking industry, no less!
One thing I discovered is that most civil servants, especially those at mid-to-entry levels, really want to do what is best for the public. (As explained in this clip from the delightful British TV series, Yes Minister.)
Is Public Service Even An Option?
Whether because of bureaucracy, staff cuts, or high-level scandals, being a civil servant is no longer a “calling” that many bright young people aspire to.
At least, that’s the public perception.
But as Donna Crooks, Strategic Advisor of Citizen Service for the Government of Saskatchewan discusses in today’s interview, that desire to offer great service to the public is still there.
And it can be re-activated, using some of the same techniques that other organizations are using to improve customer experience. That’s what she’s working to do for her government.
Customer Experience Concepts For Governments
Here are some of her thoughts:
- Don’t just pitch improving how you are serving citizens because it’s the “right thing to do”. Explain that it will also save your government money.
- Get diverse departments to buy in by aligning your goals of better customer service with the things that are important to them. Reginald Chatman talked about this in our interview, How To Win Internal Support for Customer Experience Improvements.
- Remind skeptical employees that they are citizens too. Is this the way they would want to be treated?
- Start with small projects that can show the value of what you are trying to do. Then more people will come on board.
- Recognize that “the front line staff know more about the citizens that we do.“
- If you are setting up government social media accounts, base them on customer segments rather than departments. It often makes sense to have departments collaborate on an account to meet customer needs.
- Don’t staff your social media accounts with people who are inexperienced. They need to not only understand social media, but also have the good judgement that typically comes from experience.
- Get citizens directly involved when you are redesigning processes or services. Not only will that help your staff have a better understanding of the needs of their customers, it will help the citizens better understand the constraints on government.
“People don’t want the world. They are satisfied if they can participate, be heard and see something made better.” Donna Crooks
Do you have any good public service stories to share? (Or not-so-good ones.)
Please share them below!