In the words of Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin, “Well done is better than well said.”
The idea of customer service is often reserved to describe interaction with stores, restaurants, and other organizations in the private sector. Rarely do we hear people say “Wow, that city government has great customer service.” Those outside of government might be surprised at how seriously customer service is taken in the public sector. In fact, Customer Service Week was created by in 1992 by the President of the United States, citing the value of service excellence in a free market economy. The proclamation said:
A business will do a better job of providing high quality goods and services by listening to its employees and by empowering them with opportunities to make a difference. Customer service professionals work in the front lines where a firm meets its customers; where supply meets demand. With responsive policies and procedures and with simple courtesy, customer service professionals can go a long way toward ensuring customer satisfaction and eliciting the next round of orders and purchases.
Fortunately, the Philadelphia City government has made customer service a priority. From the City’s Strategic Goal 5 of “ Philadelphia government works efficiently and effectively, with integrity and responsiveness—to the award-winning Philly311 non-emergency contact center—to city-wide departments and agencies using social media and other innovative approaches to engage citizens, customer service is not a stranger to Philadelphia’s public servants. For this year’s Customer Service Week, the City’s Customer Service Officers briefed Managing Director Rich Negrin and his senior staff on their departmental customer service plans. These efforts are part of the City of Philadelphia’s Customer Service Officer’s program—a way to implement meaningful, measurable and sustainable customer service initiatives within the City’s key infrastructure departments. Our City’s Customer Service Officers are made up of a remarkable group of committed employees who have conducted internal and external focus groups, determined customer service metrics and developed a scalable customer service plan with the support of myself, the City’s performance management team and Managing Director Rich Negrin who defines customer service as “meeting the needs and exceeding the expectations of the customer as defined by the customer.”
Take a look at the CSO Program’s introductory video:
For this year’s Customer Service Week, we’re making Benjamin Franklin proud by not just talking about customer service—but actually doing something (many things actually) to make sure our customers are properly “served.” Happy Customer Service Week everyone!
Rosetta Carrington Lue is the Chief Customer Service Officer and Senior Advisor to the City of Philadelphia’s Managing Director. Follow Rosetta on Twitter @Rosettalue or visit her blog at www.rosettacarringtonlue.com