Using Mobile to Optimize the Customer Experience with “The Changing Face of Customer Service” Panel

On April 25th 2013, GovLoop and Oracle hosted an event called, “The Changing Face of Customer Service” that brought together professionals on the topic of customer experience. After several insightful presentations, the event closed with a panel featuring a variety of customer service experts:

  • Scott Frendt, Vice President, Public Sector CRM Solutions, Oracle
  • Abraham Marinez, Customer Engagement Advisor, Department of Education
  • Kim Taylor, Director of Web Services, Office of Public Affairs and Consumer Education, Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA

During the panel, the topic that kept being brought up by both panelists and the audience members was a mobile customer experience. Customer service and mobile seem to go hand-in-hand these days and agencies try to find a way to connect with their various types of audiences. Here are some of the panelists’ biggest points about the important of mobile in a customer-centric digital government strategy.

Kim Taylor, “Digital Government Strategy is your friend”

In 2005 the Food Safety and Inspection Service developed a mobile app the served as a 24/7 virtual representative for the agency called “Ask Karen”. The “Ask Karen” mobile app allows constituents to “ask questions anytime from anywhere,” says Taylor, emphasizing that the services of the Food Safety and Inspection Service are best used on the go. “No one is going to wait to go home to get answers,” she says; individuals are going to be at a game, a barbecue or elsewhere when they want to know about food safety related questions. During the 2011-2012 Thanksgiving season, use increased 218% because people wanted to know on the spot how long to cook a turkey. The app has provided increased services to a variety of customers who didn’t know how or could’t be bothered with contacting the agency directly. However, or those who are technologically-wary, the call center is still available through the hotline.

Abraham Marinez, “You have to play, go and socialize”

“Mobile is important,” says Marinez. It can be used to get younger people engaged as well as provide office hours when students are filling out paperwork at odd hours. Also at the Department of Education, Marinez says they have learned that creating a modern looking website that can be easily translated into mobile is key when trying to create a positive customer experience. Content needs to be digestible so students can “get in, get out, and go on with their lives.”; this can be achieves through small paragraphs and bullet points. When asked about the generational divide between younger tech-savvy students and older employees at the agency, Marinez explained that there is some “reverse mentoring,” where the younger workers teach the older workers how to use social media. In the end, everyone becomes engaged in the digital government strategy.

Scott Frendt, “Customer Experience works across government”

Social relationship management is a major part of creating a successful customer experience. Creating mobile customer services reduces costs in the agency and makes the lives of customers simpler when wanting to contact a company or agency. Customer experience “has done an exceptional job in trying to keep up with technology,” says Frendt, leading to successful mobile connections through apps and social media.

To learn more of what the panelists say about optimizing customer service, check out the archived presentation, coming this week.

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