Improving customer service is a priority for many government agencies, and for good reason. When agencies provide exceptional service, constituents are more likely to find information they need, access valuable public services and further engage with government. Plus, cohesive service strategies and delivery can help agencies cut time, money and labor costs.
But what does exceptional customer service look like in government? Actually, it looks very similar to what private sector companies seek to create. Increasingly, citizens expect government to deliver the same effortless service experiences they encounter in their private lives.
A ServiceNow survey of customer service leaders across industries found that the most successful service departments adopt three best practices.
First, they solve problems quickly. They constantly monitor services or products and resolve the root causes of issues.
Leading organizations also provide self-service – letting citizens use their own devices to help themselves get answers to questions or solve issues such as requesting a permit.
And finally, customer service leaders encourage collaboration. They enable customer service agents to engage with customers in real-time and enlist teams inside and outside the organization to resolve issues.
Unfortunately, these three customer service tactics are often lacking in the public sector. In fact, one McKinsey survey found that government agencies rank last in customer satisfaction across industries.
But it’s not that agencies don’t want to improve service. The problem is that many roadblocks prevent them from adopting these best practices.
For one, many agencies and departments operate in silos where processes, information and services aren’t connected. That setup prevents customer service teams from collaborating on their projects and creating seamless service experiences for constituents.
And, employees have to work through tedious and disjointed processes to get work done.
But even if teams could work together, they face another barrier: manual work. Many standard processes like request intake and data entry are still reliant on manual processes. Those outdated procedures are often duplicative, error prone, costly, and frustrating for citizens and customer service staff alike.
Not to mention, these siloed and tedious processes take time. As a result, many agencies are stuck in reaction mode. Customer service teams spend most of their time reacting to citizen requests and inquiries. That leaves very little time to drive improvement, resolve root causes of common issues, and focus on what really matters— helping people.
Agency employees don’t have the tools to effectively tackle constituent problems, track progress or provide specifically relevant information. What they need is a new approach that focuses on service engagement, operations, and delivery of a seamless end-to-end journey for citizens.
To learn what that approach looks like and how to implement it at your agency, take our full 10-minute online course, Redefining Service Delivery to Citizens.
Self-service seems like the future of CX to me–enabling customers to take care of their own needs can make things easier for them while also freeing up employees for other tasks.