Customer care Gangnam style

It’s everywhere and every ones doing it, it’s an internet sensation, it’s simply to do easy to copy and everyone is talking about it. It’s customer care gangnam style

Any organisation can do it. All they need to do is get better at identifying and delivering what customers want. If we simply listen more we would waste a lot less time and money on providing service that people don’t want and we would have fewer complaints. Of course good customer care makes good business sense. Of course the public sector wants to shake off the take it or leave image of old. And of course doctors and social workers are keen to distance themselves from the professional knows best culture. So yes we need to get better at listening to people and finding out how they want their services delivered.

 Only it’s not quite as straightforward as that in the public sector. Just for a moment let’s pretend the private sector has sorted this problem, that the utilities, the banks and the train operators have developed sophisticated and effective ways of listening to their customers and adapting their services in response. That call centres are a fast and easy way to do business, that computers don’t automatically generate threatening standard letters and that the member of staff at the other end of the phone doesn’t keep repeating “but the screen is telling me”. How does this solve the problem of getting a home help to help you into bed when you want as opposed to when they are available? How does this help you deal with opposition from neighbours to opening a home for people with learning difficulties? And how does this work when local people voice their opposition to plans to close their local hospital or library or day centre or want their bins emptied weekly?

So customer care alone is not enough especially when times are tough. 

This article appeared in full in the February edition of the Public Servant magazine.

Blair McPherson author of Equipping managers for an uncertain future published by Russell House


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