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Is improved customer care enough?

24th November 2011

Blair McPherson, author of a number of management books, argues that good customer care alone is not enough.

bussinesswoman1Q

Those who tried to convince us that improved efficiency would be enough to deliver the budget saving in the public sector were wrong.

We are now seeing rationing in the form of increased waiting times in the NHS, tighter eligibility criteria in social services and service reductions as libraries, day centres and swimming pools are closed.

Now, some suggest improved customer care is the answer.

But while good customer care makes good business sense, it is not enough. People need to get better at listening to people and finding out how they want their services delivered.

However, it is not quite that straightforward in the public sector.

Let’s pretend the private sector has developed sophisticated and effective ways of listening to their customers and adapting their services in response and that call centres are a fast and easy way to do business with computers not automatically generating threatening standard letters.

Unfortunately, this does not provide a home help to help you into bed when you want as opposed to when they are available; it does not help you deal with opposition from neighbours to opening a home for people with learning difficulties; and it does not 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.

Simply put, on its own customer care it is not enough, especially when times are tough.

 

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