Differences Between Customer Service From Government Vs. Private Sector?


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In researching on customer service in government for some pieces I’m writing on The Customer Service in Government Project (http://customerservicegov.com ), I noticed that there is very little available on CustomerThink on the topic of public sector service, except for some discussions about Open Government.

Finding that odd, I’m hoping to generate some interaction and engagement on the topic, by posting some questions, and I’d certainly welcome input.

1) What expectations might you have regarding customer service from government that are different from your expectations regarding private for-profit businesses?

2) Generally speaking, do you find government customer service better than, about the same, or worse than that in the private sector? (there a poll at http://customerservicegov.com/wp/whats-your-opinion-on-government-customer-service-poll/ )

3) If government customer service could be improved, would you be willing to pay slightly higher taxes in return, or would you prefer things stay as they are?

4) Any ideas on how public sector customer service could be improved that are “practical”?

Thanks. Looking forward to interacting with you on the topic.

Robert Bacal
Robert began his career as an educator and trainer at the age of twenty (which is over 30 years ago!), as a teaching assistant at Concordia University. Since then he as trained teachers for the college and high school level, taught at several universities and trained thousands of employees and managers in customer service, conflict management and performance appraisal and performance management skills.


  1. Just occurred to me that one major difference between customer service in government vs. the private sector, is that almost all government contact with “customers” IS overhead, while in private sector it’s has potential positive revenue.

    So, government strives to reduce contact, while private sector has more to gain by increasing some types of contacts?


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