Every company’s greatest assets are its customers, because without customers there is no company.
Michael Leboeuf (American Researcher)
In today’s difficult economic environment, public sector bodies are under increased pressure to deliver more services, to more citizens, more cost effectively and efficiently. Organisations are finding that today’s customers have higher expectations of the organisations they deal with. Customers have come to expect more than just good products or services. Responding to this reality, organisations are seeing the need to create a long term cherished and highly engaging relationship with the customer.
Although the term ‘engagement’ is occasionally used to depict customer marketing, loyalty and satisfaction, organisations are now realising that engagement is a more strategic way of looking at customer relationships. Engagement refers to the creation of a deeper and more purposeful connection between the organisation and the customer, and one that persists over time. Engagement is seen as a way to create customer interaction and participation.
It is of paramount importance that we get this right. Otherwise, the risk is that public services remain too often something done to the public rather than with the public.
There is the risk of compromising the organisations’ reputation by offering services which the citizens don’t identify as being relevant to them and have difficulty accessing. Citizens want services that can provide them with expert advice and support and the public need services that place quality of these relationships at the heart of what they do. The people best placed to tell us about the quality of public services are the very people that use them.