How can your customers use your services? Providing great customer service starts with eliminating existing barriers for customers who want to use your services. Uber, for example, makes it easy to order a ride moments before you need one with an app; Google makes it easy to find information on the internet in split seconds; Apple and Facebook make it easy to share photos with friends right after you take them.
So how can you make it easy for your internal customers departments (police, public works, community development, etc.) to access your administrative services (finance, human relations, information technology, clerk, attorney, purchasing, etc.)?
“You can have all kinds of great attractions on your website, but if your visitors don’t know how to get to them, they’ll just collect dust on the server.”
According to Sean Timberlake in his article The Basics of Navigation. Similarly, no matter how good your government’s internal admin services are, if your internal customers cannot figure out how to access them, they are useless.
In one of our recent blog posts, entitled How to Improve Government Staff’s Customer Service, we described the difficulty a new Public Works Director faced in getting an answer to a question about a budget variance in his department’s employee benefits expense. He was referred to Accounting, Budgeting, Human Resources and even Information Services and still didn’t find a person that could answer his question.
Access to your administrative services must be “made available” to customer departments.
This is not the same as “offering services” to them. The services available to them and how they can be accessed must be communicated so that customer departments can understand them.
The way to do this is by making navigation to these services as intuitive as possible.
A good example of intuitive navigation comes from computer graphic design interfaces. Microsoft realized that to make access to their work program user-friendly, they had to provide multiple methods of navigation. Different people find different navigation methods more intuitively obvious than others. So Microsoft developed alternatives. You can open an existing Word document from the menu, the task bar or the recent documents list in the Word program. You can open it using File Explorer. Or you can type the file name into the search bar.
Other examples of making navigation of services easier are:
Image source: Google images
Specific Recommendations to Make Your Administrative Services More Intuitive:
There needs to be more than one way for users of administrative services to find the best place to go to get the information they seek.
Therefore, governments should consider the following:
By incorporating these tips into your agency, website, and other outward communication you will make it easier for customers to A) find you, and B) be able to use your services more efficiently.
If you have questions or would like hands-on advice on how to implement the recommendations in this blog post in your organization, Kevin is available to answer questions via phone or email at no cost to you:
Kevin Harper, CPA
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Kevin W. Harper is a certified public accountant and has decades of audit and consulting experience, entirely in service to local governments. He is committed to helping government entities improve internal operations and enact controls that will minimize risk and improve day-to-day functions.
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