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What is the impact of poor customer service on brand reputation?


In this article Meritec look at the potential impacts that poor or sub-standard customer service can have on a brands reputation and the moral of it's employees.

Providing good customer service should be a priority for any organisation. When customers are happy, they are less likely to complain, making life more pleasant for your teams.

On the other hand, dissatisfied customers are not only more likely to complain but are also more likely to tell other people about their negative experiences. This can be extremely damaging to your brand reputation.

A bad reputation can be tough to repair, especially for public sector organisations that are already subject to scrutiny. In this article, we’re going to look at how poor customer service can impact the reputation of local authorities and how to combat it.

Customer Service and Portals

What are the impacts of poor customer service and a damaged reputation? 

We’ve already mentioned that poor customer service can lead to a high level of complaints which increases workload, but it can cause other issues too.


Lack of trust and engagement

A bad customer experience damages trust. This can lead citizens to disengage and form the opinion that ‘the council won’t do anything’. They’ll be less likely to report minor issues, and those minor issues could potentially turn into major problems if not addressed quickly.

Lack of engagement can also lead to a lack of awareness, with many citizens not understanding what services their local authorities provide. This can lead to local initiatives failing, funding not being properly utilised, and a lack of support on important projects.

Good communication between councils and citizens is crucial for creating strong communities. If trust is high, communication and engagement will be stronger.


Recruitment challenges

There has been a shift in priorities among job seekers in recent decades, with a greater value being placed on company culture and well-being strategies.

When an organisation has a bad reputation, this has a negative impact on recruitment. After all, who wants to work for an organisation that everybody complains about?

If an organisation isn’t looking after its customers, the perception will be that it doesn’t treat employees much better, and that will put applicants off.

High complaint levels can also lead to workplace stress which can lead to high levels of absenteeism and staff attrition.

Negative press

Public sector organisations are subject to closer scrutiny than private organisations, and the media can be unforgiving.

A disgruntled citizen makes a great story for the local paper or social media. And particularly bad customer experiences will inevitably get picked up by national news outlets.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that if councils receive coverage in national newspapers, it is significantly more likely to be critical than positive. Local authorities need to maintain high levels of customer service to avoid the risk of the media dragging their reputation down.


How can local authorities improve customer service and reputation? 

As we’ve outlined above, poor customer service can impact reputation, which can cause significant problems for local authorities. The good news is there are plenty of ways to improve customer experience.


Make services more convenient and accessible

Many of the frustrations citizens have with local authorities come down to inconvenience. With telephone lines and offices only being open at set times, it can be difficult for citizens to access the services they need at a time that is convenient to them.

Allowing customers to access information online and self-serve through online portals eliminates delays and frustration. Not only that, but it is far more cost-effective for local authorities too. An average face to face interaction costs £29, while the average digital interaction costs just 8p.

Streamline processes and improve response times

We live in a world where so many things are instantaneous, and this has almost come to be the expectation. Convoluted and time-consuming processes don’t create a positive customer experience and leave customers irritated and annoyed.

Automated workflows can speed up processes and ensure faster response times. Not only does this create a better customer experience, but it also benefits your employees too.


Improve communication

Good communication is a key element of good customer service, and automation can support this. When a citizen submits an enquiry, the response can be automated to let them know exactly what the process is. Tasks can then be delegated to the relevant departments with reminders set up to avoid missed deadlines. You can also allow citizens to track their case progress online, so they don’t have to call or chase for updates.


Improve internal resources

By giving your teams the tools and resources they need to do their jobs effectively, you make it easier for them to provide good customer service.

Having efficient systems and processes will also reduce the number of errors, delays, and frustrations, creating a happier and more engaged workforce. This leads to a reduction in absenteeism and attrition, so you have the team in place to better serve your customers, improving their experience even more.

How Meritec can help

Meritec specialises in creating digital solutions for local authorities and public sector organisations.

Our low code platforms can be integrated with your existing systems and customised to suit the way your organisation operates.

Our aim is to help local authorities to improve the experience for both customers and employees while increasing efficiency and reducing cost. We’ve already worked with approximately 400 public sector clients across the UK, providing agile solutions that can be easily scaled.

If you’d like to see for yourself why so many local authorities are already choosing to work with Meritec, get in touch. Our friendly team will be happy to demonstrate exactly how our solutions can enhance and future-proof your organisation.