Is Great Customer Service Possible in Government? (part 4)

Southwest Airlines is the best…Yep, the best!

We’re talking about how SWA maintains employee motivation according to Jose Luis Romero in his article Southwest Airlines Employee Motivation, and whether that can be applied in the government.

We’ve talked through the 1st three factors for great motivation: Strong Set of Values, Employees Come 1st, and Rewards & Recognition.  Now let’s move to #4.


“The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit.”

Romero argues that the mission isn’t what sets Southwest apart. Any company can write the words down on paper and post it for the world to see, however, Southwest has managed to get buy-in on a much deeper level because “SWA has been able to place its mission as a noble purpose in the eyes of its employees…”

So what about government?

The issues in this arena I’ve noticed are these:

  1. Poorly defined mission. Most people can recite the line about “protect and serve,” or something to that effect; however, if we drill down a little deeper, what’s the mission? For each department/agency, what’s the point? What’s their mission? It’s hard to live up to a mission you don’t have. I haven’t seen a single department who had a mission statement up on the wall. That’s a great opportunity for leadership!
  2. Noble Cause. Unfortunately, because of the change in today’s society, it’s no longer noble to serve others.  I’ve been amazed how many people got into government because they love to help people. What’s changed? Why do we stereotype all government employees based on the one  answer we didn’t like? Sometimes, Customer Service is giving the customer what they need rather than what they want (Think of how people all clamor about larger seats but they REALLY don’t b/c they pay for cheaper fares).

I’m sure there are others, but those came to my mind immediately.

The question for you guys – How can we define the mission for public service?

How can we make it Noble again to serve others?

As a private citizen, should I feel honored to have been served by the government or is it my right?

Do you feel differently being served by our military vs. the guy picking up trash? Why?

Let me know what you think.

Is great customer service possible in the government?


One thought on “Is Great Customer Service Possible in Government? (part 4)

  1. Pingback: Is Great Customer Service Possible in Government? (part 7) | The Thinking Leader

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