Has your encounter with an Ottawa County employee been magical? Could it be that Ottawa County offices are the happiest places on earth? While that may be an exaggeration, three years ago Ottawa County did embark on something unheard of in government. They sought to improve citizen service in a big way: “The Disney Way”. Today, the organization is living and growing as a customer-centric establishment.
Because of Ottawa County’s successful transformation, an entire chapter of the just released third edition of “The Disney Way” (McGraw-Hill: April 2016) is dedicated to its endeavor. Authors Bill Capodagli and Lynn Jackson guided Ottawa County throughout the philosophical revolution. During 2013 and 2014, nearly all of Ottawa County’s 1100 employees were led through an intense development program creating a culture committed to outstanding customer service.
“All too often local government employees do not equate their role with customer service because residents are required to access services provided from the specific city, township, village or county within which they reside, work or recreate. Bill Capodagli and Lynn Jackson worked with Ottawa County to instill new expectations, motivation and drive to provide outstanding customer service to all Ottawa County stakeholders. The results have been amazing!” said Al Vanderberg, Ottawa County Administrator.
Along with the shift in culture and employee expectations, practical tools have emerged to improve service including customer service awards, customer feedback surveys, signage, online services, leadership development and an employee-to-employee ambassador program. Every employee is encouraged to creatively solve problems, improve processes and even have some fun at work. The County has dubbed its new ethos the The Ottawa Way.
“We want our customers to have positive experiences accessing Ottawa County services. Whether a citizen is traversing the halls of a building or navigating paperwork, it’s our pleasure to serve,” said Shannon Felgner, Communications Manager for Ottawa County.