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One size fits few


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Henry Ford was famous for telling would-be Model T buyers that they could have the car in any color they wanted so long as that color was black. Fast forward to today. Cars are custom built to individual customer requirements—from interior and exterior color and horsepower down to what fuels the car. Companies like BMW bring customers into the design process even earlier, enlisting them as partners in the innovation process to be sure the company's products satisfy customer demands. The bar for customer service has been forever lifted.

Government can no longer give its customers more of the same. One-size-fits-all solutions requiring citizens to navigate a complex bureaucratic maze to obtain services simply do not cut it in today’s "on-demand" world. The challenge confronting government extends beyond improving shoddy service levels. Restoring the confidence of citizens in their public institutions means demonstrating competence in carrying out the difficult task of governance in the 21st century and delivering citizens better value for their hard-earned tax dollars.

Recognizing the magnitude of this challenge, forward-thinking organizations are applying innovations from the private sector to help improve the delivery and effectiveness of public services. They are paving the path forward, illustrating how this new discipline of customer experience can be adapted to the public sector to drive cost savings, deliver end-to-end improvements in servicing customers and inform the design of new programs and services to improve the odds of successful execution.

Realizing the benefits derived from delivering a better customer experience does not happen overnight. Public sector organizations must cultivate the culture, skill sets and infrastructure necessary to support a customer-focused organization. So much the better for governments who start down this path sooner than later.

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