Improving Citizen Experience in Federal Government

July 16, 2020 Bob Tisone

Creating a customer experience (CX) that resonates is more than nice-to-have. It’s a necessity for operational success.

With the rapid adoption of technologies, citizens are now more informed than ever about government programs, services and policies.  In addition, citizens demand a superior customer experience from their governments and expect them to utilize and embrace the latest technology – just like what they expect from major corporations. Federal agencies are continuously challenged to reduce costs, increase compliance and modernize their operations to streamline performance and enhance service delivery.

The information and services provided by government are critical – they impact the lives and well-being of citizens – so effective communication that reaches people in the way they want to be reached must be a priority. Whether someone is seeking public assistance, Social Security benefits, Veteran’s benefits, taxpayers seeking IRS assistance or other service, citizens fully expect public sector customer services to be efficient and intuitive.

The biggest obstacle to delivering strong customer experience is outdated technology. Many federal agencies are working to deliver readily accessible, intuitive, user-friendly services, using steps that not long ago were considered highly innovative, such as bringing more services online. Today, however, those steps have quickly become commonplace. Federal leaders must implement more advanced customer experience practices to keep pace with rising demands.

Emerging technologies such as conversational artificial intelligence, automation, the internet of things (IoT), robotic process automation (RPA), and cognitive intelligence are transforming the world, and government agencies are no exception. Implemented wisely, the right technologies can help agencies reduce costs and improve performance, while also enabling government agencies to think more creatively about how to transform or streamline every citizen’s experience.

Making online access to civic data simpler, providing portals and mobile applications to gather information and fill out documents, such as tax returns or benefit applications, or adding chatbots to quickly answer citizen's queries, even making information accessible via voice assistants — these are all innovations that improve the efficiency and effectiveness of public services. Another example is a custom AI model built using machine learning to analyze citizen communications and automatically prompt, escalate, or route for appropriate action by call center staff, managers, and/or executives.

To deliver world-class public services that will improve people’s lives, federal agencies must focus on how technology impacts their workforce, infrastructure, and operational processes to identify and align their technology strategy to achieve better, faster, and more modern operations.

The Need for an Omnichannel Approach

People readily expect services to be available on every channel and touchpoint and expect to choose when, where, and how they want to receive government services. They also expect to be seamlessly connected on every medium on-the-go. Agencies must focus to capture insight from every customer interaction, across all channels and make information and insights available exactly where and when those services are needed by the people.  The channels include diverse service delivery methods, such as in-person, telephonic, real-time video, chat, self-service portals, or other methods as needed.

Developing an omnichannel approach in a call center can tie together the data from every channel to deliver a consistent customer experience.  With this method, all of the information from the channels people use — email, chat, social media, even a visit to a brick-and-mortar facility — is directed to a single queue. Call center agents will have access to the information and data from each interaction, no matter how contact was initiated and respond in a sophisticated, intuitive manner. In addition, citizens can switch between mobile, chat, text, video, and web or use channels simultaneously and still get an integrated, personalized customer experience.

Agencies must present appropriate information and service options to citizens based on their needs, preferences, and relationship with the agency. Regardless of which service method they select, citizens always need personalized help and support. It’s imperative to analyze citizen’s needs, expectations, and experiences to understand their unique requirements and preferred methods of communication to capture the complete customer journey and present the next best action - web content curation, call center agent guidance, benefit action and more.

Technologies like AI and RPA are powerful tools that can aid in an effective omnichannel strategy and can completely revolutionize the service delivery to citizens who demand simplicity and convenience irrespective of the channels or devices they use. Consistent automated messaging workflows at the right time through the right channel can lead up to a 30% reduction in contact center inquiries alone – a noteworthy efficiency. 

Working with a trusted partner such as Conduent can help federal agencies adapt quickly to necessary changes to help transform citizen's experience. We have supported government agencies for decades, and know what works best, what can be refined, or enhanced to fine-tune your audience’s customer experience.

Let’s connect to discuss how we can help. Call (844) ONE-CNDT or email us at publicservices@conduent.com.

 

About the Author

Bob Tisone

VP of Sales, Government Services, Conduent

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