ARC Seven Step Model for Citizen Centricity is model draws from the principles of the IS 15700:2005, the Sevottam model and the Customer Service Excellence Model of the UK. Each organization should follow a step by step approach which would help it in becoming increasingly more citizen centric This approach should be followed not only by the top management but also by each unit of the organization that has a public interface. The top management has the dual responsibility of setting standards for itself as well as guiding the subordinate offices in setting their own standards. Besides, all supervisory levels should ensure that the standards set by the subordinate offices are realistic and are in synergy with the broad organizational goals. Thus, though each office would have the autonomy to set standards, these would have to be in consonance with the organizational policies.
- Define all services which you provide and identify your clients.
- Set standards and norms for each service.
- Develop capability to meet the set standards.
- Perform to achieve the standards.
- Monitor performance against the set standards.
- Evaluate the impact through an independent mechanism.
- Continuous improvement based on monitoring and evaluation results.
Step 1: Define Services – All organizational units should clearly identify the services they provide. Here the term service’ should have a broad connotation. Enforcement departments may think that enforcement is not a service. But this view is not correct. Even the task of enforcement of regulations has many elements of service delivery like issue of licenses, courteous behaviour etc. Normally, any legitimate expectation by a citizen should be included in the term ‘service’. Defining the services would help the staff in an organization in understanding the links between what they do and the mission of the organization. In addition, the unit should also identify its clients and if the number of clients is too large it should categorize them into groups. This would be the first step in developing an insight into citizens’ needs.
Step 2: Set Standards – It has been well said that ‘what cannot be measured never gets done’. Once the various services have been identified and defined, the next logical and perhaps the most important step is to set standards for each one of these services. A good starting point would be getting an input from the clients as to what their expectations are about each one of the identified services. Thereafter, based on their capability, the organization’s overall goals and of course the citizens’ expectations, the unit should set standards to which they could commit. It is very important that these standards are realistic and achievable. Complaints redressal mechanism should form an integral part of this exercise. These standards should then form an integral part of the Citizens’ Charter.
Step 3: Develop Capacity – Merely defining the services and setting standards for them would not suffice unless each unit has the capability for achieving them. Moreover since the standards are to be upgraded periodically, it is necessary that capacity building also becomes a continuous process. Capacity building would include conventional training but also imbibing the right values, developing a customer centric culture within the organization and raising the motivation and morale of the staff.
Step 4: Perform – Having defined the standards as well as developed the organizational capacity, internal mechanisms have to be evolved to ensure that each individual and unit in the organization performs to achieve the standards. Having a sound performance management system would enable the organizations to guide individuals’ performance towards organizational goals.
Step 5: Monitor – Well articulated standards of performance would be meaningful only if they are adhered to. Each organization should develop a monitoring mechanism to ensure that the commitments made regarding the quality of service are kept. Since all commitments have to form a part of the Citizens’ Charter, it would be desirable that an automatic mechanism is provided which signals any breach of committed standard. This would involve taking corrective measures continuously till the system stabilizes. Compliance to standards would be better if it is backed up by a system of rewards and punishments.
Step 6: Evaluate – It is necessary that there is an evaluation of the extent of customer satisfaction by an external agency. This evaluation could be through random surveys, citizens’ report cards, obtaining feedback from citizens during periodic interactions or even an assessment by a professional body. Such an evaluation would bring out the degree to which the unit is citizen centric or otherwise. It would also highlight the areas wherein there have been improvements and those which require further improvement. This would become an input in the continuous review of the system.
Step 7: Continuous Improvement – Improvement in the quality of services is a continuous process. With rising aspirations of the citizens, new services would have to be introduced, based on the monitoring and evaluation, standards would have to be revised and even the internal capability and systems would require continuous upgradation.