What we learn:
- Create multiple channels for communication
- Show availability
- Be honest and transparent
- Limit communication because you’re in the public sector
- Offer misleading or untrue information
- Limit availability
In the case of the government sector, public institutions have to follow strict rules of conduct: they should avoid conflict, be careful about what information they make available to the public and so on. However, this doesn’t have to stop the public sector from getting closer to citizens and creating open and long-lasting relationships with them. The citizen is the customer of public services; he needs to feel protected, supported and involved in the life of the community.
The police officers keep a close eye on the Twitter account and solve the complaints of the citizens such as illegal parking or bad public behaviors. The public institutions that create these types of successful experiences for their citizens are institutions that are active and visible on the Internet, that encourage discussion with citizens and that are quick to reply to their citizens’ problems with proper and useful information.
Excellent customer service can exist across all sectors, be it private or public, when both managers and employees are willing to be more creative and open-minded. At first, however, there are a few obstacles that limit the practice of excellent customer service, such as business culture. When deciding to open a B2B or B2C service, you have to pay attention to the receiver of your services because otherwise your message may not be understood by different cultures and ideologies.
For example, business culture is different in Europe than in Japan. In Europe, business partners often present gifts or material goods to make a good first impression. However, in Japan, business partners offer a great deal of attention to everyday politeness, such as greeting and saying goodbye. While in Europe everybody is expected to speak in English, in Japan they prefer to use the Japanese language. Even if they speak in English, Japanese will use polite words and avoid a direct and personal way of speaking. Japan also has a hierarchical social structure, and therefore good manners are extremely important. It’s something that a European company would need to take into consideration if they wanted to do business in Japan.
Another example of different business cultures exists between the USA and India. Similar to Japanese business culture, Indian businessmen receive business cards only with the right hand, and when they enter a room, they first greet the person of a higher rank or age. Also in India, they prefer to be called by their formal title (“doctor”, “professor”) while in the United States people usually call each other by their first names right away.