Customer satisfaction is not in government’s vocabulary.
This is the season of the grand political promise. Vote for me — or my candidate — and life will continue to be good and, in fact, get better. Or, on the other hand, life will be good, again, if you vote them out and me, in. Pie in the sky. Milk and honey. Free beer and wide roads.
And, then, there is the dystopian future that awaits if you vote for the other. The rich will get richer, the poor will get poorer, and we all might very well perish in a nuclear war.
Somehow, paradise on earth never seems to arrive. But, then, life does seem to go on and eventually, there will be another campaign full of promises that are just as grand as the last, still-unfulfilled batch.
Meanwhile, there are some not-so-impossible dreams that go unremarked and untended, usually because they aren’t very glamorous. Delivering on promises of this sort would require actual hard work, back at the office — making phone calls, attending meetings, reviewing documents. Senior bureaucrats would have to be chewed out. Possibly even fired. Their subordinates with talent would need to be discovered, nurtured, and promoted. This sort of thing is tedious and boring and nowhere near as much fun as flying off to Brussels for a multi-nation conference on building a more perfect world. That’s what you get into politics for. That other stuff, actual management, is what you are happy to leave behind.
But … the President is, among other things, chief executive of the government. One of his responsibilities is to ensure that its machinery is running smoothly and efficiently.
And does anyone really need to ask how that is working out?
Still, you may not know just how bad things are.
Consider the opening paragraph from this item in the newsletter Nextgov.
For the federal government, there was really nowhere to go but up in the latest Customer Experience Index released by Forrester Research. Yet, despite a better score this time around, the government still finished dead last — as it did last year — among 21 industries assessed by Forrester… [which] rates the federal government’s average index as “poor,” with agencies generally rating from “very poor” to “OK.” A few — including top federal scorer National Park Service — were rated “good.”
And there seems to be no hope…
Because the average scores in Forrester’s Customer Experience Index are increasing, the government is likely to stay in last place for a while. Traditional banks, digital-only retailers, and auto and home insurance providers top the index, and even the scores of their worst brands never dip below “OK.”
Even industries with comparable scores to the government in the index — internet and TV service providers and airlines — aren’t going to be surpassed by the government in the near term.
Worse than the airlines? Than the cable companies?
In that regard, anyway, the government seems to have accomplished the impossible.
Meanwhile we hear promises of streets paved with gold. From Cleveland, now. From Philadelphia, soon.
And we look for a baseball game on another channel and curse the cable provider that has locked us into a multitude of channels that we do not want but must pay for. And, then, we think. Well, it could be worse.
It could be run by the government.