Have you ever had an issue with your water bill? How about the appraised value of your home? Concerned you’re overtaxed? Did the building inspector fail to show up as planned? Did the City leave your yard in a mess after digging up a water line?
These are all negative situations with local governments, but they don’t have to be entirely negative experiences. There are 350 million people in the U.S., and local governments interact with all of them, so there are going to be issues, but often opinions of the government are not formed based on the issue itself. Opinions are largely formed based on the employee’s reaction to the complaint.
In the article Water bills: City Council ‘displeased’ with customer service, numerous complaints about customer service at the City are noted. However, although the situations dealt with unexpectedly high water bills, the complaints that rose to the level of City Council were about the City’s handling of the issue.
Customers complained that their issues were “ignored and brushed off by city employees” and “employees have (had) a short temper.” And one Councilman noted “The thing about customer service is, if you have one bad experience, that’s what gets out.”
Unfortunately for local governments, their reputation for serving the community isn’t determined similar to many private sector businesses who try to “delight” the customers or create the “WOW” experience.
Reputation is created in the responses when questions and issues arise.
What is your organization’s response plan? How do you deal with the irate customer or the complaint? How are staff trained, and what tools are they given to rectify the situation?
Don’t just focus on the creating the WOW. Create a plan and an organizational personality that shines greatest when the complaints come flooding in.
Interested in learning how CSS supports local government customer service? See more at: http://cssamerica.com/government