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Service guarantee from (semi-)government can improve relationship with citizens

15 February 2018
Jean-Pierre Thomassen
Jean-Pierre Thomassen

Jean-Pierre Thomassen investigated the design and implementation of service guarantees in government bodies. Such guarantees can be an important tool in making (semi-)government bodies structurally more customer oriented, says Thomassen. A service guarantee can improve the relationship between citizens and the government, in that citizens are more aware of what to expect from a government body. One example of this is making the promise that a parking permit can be arranged at the service desk within fifteen minutes.

Thomassen’s research shows that a service guarantee should contain concrete promises about key services. An explicit commitment to compensation if the promised quality is not attained contributes to the positive image of the body. Providing compensation after an error increases customer satisfaction. This compensation could be a financial reimbursement to the client, but also a pledge by the government body to donate to a charity.

Increasing the customer orientation

Thomassen concludes that a large number of conditions must be met to successfully introduce a service guarantee in a government body. Developing and introducing service guarantees is preferably part of a larger project aimed at increasing the customer orientation of the entire body. He demonstrates that the following factors are important: commitment of top management; linking the service guarantee to the strategy; the active involvement of employees and the space to work in accordance with the service guarantee; the active involvement of customers; and continuous reflection, learning and improvement. In a network of service-providing bodies, the mutual relationships and cooperation within the chain are also important.

Although Thomassen’s research primarily focuses on the government sector, it shows that there are few relevant differences between public and private organizations. His research can therefore also help private companies improve their customer satisfaction and experience.

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Last modified:07 January 2021 3.48 p.m.
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