Effective Public Sector Service Delivery

Although government organizations must function in often radically different environments than corporate entities, it’s still critical for agencies to strive for world-class customer service. There are numerous reasons. For one, the government should attempt to carry out the laws of our nation to the best of its ability, and services performed on behalf of citizens are part of these statutory responsibilities.

For another, many federal services are integrated into the processes of our economy, and government efficiency (or the lack thereof) has a significant impact on the pace of commerce and even on competitiveness. A third reason might have more strategic impact: the link between customer satisfaction and citizen perspectives on government performance.

Let’s examine this one in a bit more detail. According to a Gallup study conducted in 2009, the most important driver of overall satisfaction is an agency’s ability to resolve problems in a satisfactory manner. The study found that where no problems were encountered in customer service, 69 percent of citizens expressed overall satisfaction with agency performance.

The study found lower levels of satisfaction (27 percent) among citizens who experienced service problems. But if those problems were resolved satisfactorily, citizens’ overall satisfaction increased significantly (to 76 percent). In this era of increased focus on government performance and with budgets under extreme scrutiny, the link between customer service experience and satisfaction with government performance becomes vital to retaining the support that citizens generally have for government programs and services.