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Blog: Is your level of trust with residents missing the mark?

A positive citizen experience underpins behavior change, advocacy, and most importantly, trust.  But trust in National Government isn’t great. From a high of 51% in May last year, levels of trust in Westminster dropped sharply to 34% after June 2020 and hit its lowest point in October 2020 at 21%.*

Local Government, in comparison, fares better on this measure with 40% believing they are treated with respect. 

Amplified by the pandemic, trust is important for the success of a wide range of public policies that depend on behavioral responses from the public – most notably, that public trust leads to greater compliance with regulations.

Digital transformation is essential for a successful business. The ability to solve citizen problems, offer solutions and scale at speed is vital.

But a digital transformation programme focused solely on a hunt for efficiencies can lead to tunnel vision and a limited view of the individual’s experience. It risks a loss of understanding of the specific benefits of a wide range of existing citizen touchpoints. The more narrowly focused the strategy, the more risk of losing sight of what it’s like to be in the citizen’s shoes.

People rarely transform their lives in such a complete way as organisations imagine – for many, email did not dislodge mail and social channels have not ousted email. People still go to the cinema despite an abundance of streaming channels. They still play board games despite the availability of amazing gaming worlds.

The public have a nuanced relationship with organisations, and many feelings are generated by numerous interactions. Over the past few years it has become evident that what people want to feel most is recognised and valued by organisations they can trust.

In this light, maybe it’s time to reappraise touchpoints traditionally seen as ‘low priority’ or ‘low interest’ but that contribute immensely to brand perception and the resident’s experience.

Customer Mail has a big role to play here. Previously, the definition of Customer Mail has covered financial statements, bills and invoices, hospital appointments, tax notifications and pension updates.

But the definition is wider. Let’s not forget information packs, health screenings, local consultations and other tangible pieces that are important to receive and critical to a smooth-running and positive organisation/resident or patient relationship.

It’s important to remember people do like options. They don’t like being forced down one path and though they may grudgingly accept restrictions on the communications channels they can use, this won’t encourage warm feelings about engagement with your organisation’s brand.

Hear more from Sophie on Tuesday 17 May at Building trust and engagement post-pandemic – a note through your door webinar.

Sophie Grender is Director of New Business at LGcomms partner Royal Mail Marketreach

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