As we highlighted in a previous post, the value delivered by public services is often opaque. As result, a rationale or ‘story’ needs to exist to justify the provision of funding for the public service provider. Every now and again, this rationale is put in the spotlight and re-examined by actors and events outside the control of the public service provider. For example, when a high-profile public service failure is highlighted by the media, the perceived value of the service is passionately debated with every Tom, Dick and Harry sharing their ‘two cents’ worth.
A key point to bear in mind though, is that the way the value of the service is framed can increase its perceived value. Revisiting the song we referred to in the last post (‘How much is the doggie in the window’), framing the rationale for the purchase of the dog as companionship (a want – “If he has a dog, he won’t be lonesome”) seems less compelling than for security (a need – “my love needs a doggie to protect him”). From a public service perspective, Prof Mark Moore gives the example of sanitation services. Presented as a service for delivering aesthetic benefits (.i.e. more beautiful neighborhoods), the value of the service can be viewed as discretionary. However presented as a service that safeguards public health by preventing diseases, it seen as a necessity. Interesting, eh?? So how do you frame the service your organization provides to the public? Could you change it to increase the perceived value of your service? What can you do to better own the narrative?
We conclude with this thought: It’s in your interest as public service providers to take control of your ‘story’ and ‘own’ it as much as possible. It would be ‘barking’ mad not to.
Please share your thoughts….