In the Seattle Times article “Starting with citizen priorities builds a better budget in Redmond,” the Mayor of Redmond, WA, wrote about the local government’s budgeting process. While that’s not normally a cause for a customer service posting, the method described in the article (http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/opinion/2013081400_guest06marchione.html?prmid=op_ed) WAS customer-focused.
They inquired from the citizens what was most important to them in terms of the City environment. There were 6 priorities noted, and they were outcomes-oriented (“a vibrant business community; a clean environment; greater community connections; infrastructure investments to keep up with growth; a safe city; and a responsible government.”). To address these priorities, the City began focusing on customer service – and began to solicit employee suggestions to improve operations and expenditures.
The article continues to talk on about all the good they’ve accomplished, and I’m sure those details can be debated, but I won’t go there – this isn’t a political blog.
Where I will go is to the lesson learned from Redmond. There are times when your organization (like now for many companies) cannot be all things to all people. There are times when you can’t provide every service your customers want or every perk your employees desire. There are times when you have to say “No.” But one of the best ways to prioritize is to involve the people that will be impacted by the priorities you set.
If it’s a decision about a service your organization provides, bring customers into the decision-making process.
If it’s a decision about internal operations, the work environment, or employee motivation, bring employees into the decision-making process.
It’s easier to feel more confident that you made the right decision for the stakeholder if the stakeholder was a part of the decision.
Make customers and employees part of the process in making decisions that will impact them.
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