Here are three reasons why the UK public sector leads on customer service. UK public sector front line service is being delivered by hard pressed staff, with thousands of moments of truth each day across local authorities, and the health service. For too long the story about the public sector has been about lack of customer focus.
1. It’s what they do. The clue is in the name, the public sector exists to serve the public – all of them. Go into the lobby of any hospital or local authority on a Monday morning and it will be busy with members of the public looking for help, answers and support. Local authorities and the health service can’t choose their customers, segment the market, provide different levels of service based on income. The public sector has to serve all of the public.
2. First port of call. When something happens for many people the first point of contact is the local council or health service. Sometimes the issue is not managed by the local authority/NHS. Members of the public are often unaware of the changes in the public sector landscape – until they need that service. Then they find that service has been “consolidated” and is now a contact centre or based in a location several miles away.
3. Public service. Most local public sector employees have a strong sense of public service. They want to help the public. And so when someone presents the receptionist with a problem the first thought is about helping that person. That is the essence of public service and what makes the UK public sector something to be valued and respected.