Transforming government service

Government Transformation — 5 Ways to Engage Citizens

Citizens are not going mobile. They are not starting to use social media.

They are mobile. They are social. They are digital.

Citizens expect the same level of self-service that private businesses offer.

Governments must have the capability to not only communicate in all channels — but to effectively, efficiently, and completely engage citizens regardless of touchpoint.

5 Steps to Engage Citizens

Step 1. Optimize the customer experience — not the channel experience
Government agencies approach channels in isolation — siloed departments own different operating areas as well as the service they deliver. Instead of reducing a citizen’s interaction to a “channel preference”, agencies need to consider what a citizen hopes to accomplish from the interaction.

Step 2. Minimize Customer Effort
When designing multi-channel experiences, minimizing citizen effort in every interaction, must be a high priority.

Rather than forcing citizens to use a channel the government agency determines most appropriate — a citizen centric agency lets citizens make that decision. “Right channeling” needs to be the decision of the citizen and not the agency.

If an issue can be resolved by a virtual agent and the citizen chooses to engage with the virtual agent over a live agent — the government agency must assure the virtual offering meets the citizen’s need — this includes providing personalized account support within secure areas.

As citizen inquiries span channels and citizens channel jump, the government agency must be agile enough to continue the transaction across channels. A citizen should not have long wait times nor should they have to repeat information given in the previous channel.

Step 3. Reorganize citizen value and organizational value
The inefficiencies that frustrate customers are also the ones that burden government spending. When insufficient service is provided at a touchpoint — the citizen’s effort is high and satisfaction suffers.

Citizens are seeking low-impact, low-effort interactions.

Step 4. Managed Knowledge
For front line staff to function effectively, government agencies must ensure back end systems are integrated and knowledge repositories are up-to-date.

A comprehensive knowledge repository is critical to answering citizen questions successfully and efficiently. All service channels should draw from the same knowledge base so that a citizen receives the same, correct information — regardless of channel.

Step 5. The Citizen Journey is Evolving
When determining how to expand channel offerings, governments tend to falsely reduce citizen behavior to isolated events. If they see a statistical a rise in mobile communication they consider an expansion into mobile.

Instead, agencies should be in constant pursuit of alignment with the core identities of their citizen base.

Final thoughts
Tethering citizens to siloed channels and touchpoints is aggravating, time consuming, and counterproductive. Governments that take an integrated approach to their customer journey will:

  • benefit from decreased operational costs, and
  • raise citizen satisfaction through a seamless experience.

Customer Experience and Digital Strategist. Martial Arts Enthusiast. Nothing ever got done on the couch