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Innovating During COVID-19’s Second Wave

The COVID-19 pandemic has made the customer experience (CX) top of mind for agencies. After all, public services such as health care benefits are growing more critical as communities nationwide battle the coronavirus.

Consequently, managing citizen communications, expectations and safety will be of the utmost importance for agencies in the months ahead. To deliver the most innovative CX possible, agencies are considering cloud-based customer service to ensure citizens get the assistance they need during difficult times.

According to Maria Country, Regional Vice President of East/Public Sector at Zendesk, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is the best model for cloud-based customer service because it can deliver software on demand.

Zendesk is helping agencies simultaneously manage public health and remote work with cloud solutions that centralize communication, streamline workflows and analyze trends. Country provided three reasons why cloud-based customer service might aid agencies in the future.

1. Streamline Workflows

During emergencies, agencies cannot afford jams in their workflows. Should agencies’ workflows stall, citizens might not receive precious public services such as financial aid.

“It is possible to get a proven, secure, enterprise-grade software up and running in weeks, not months, to get ahead of any looming backlogs,” Country said of SaaS clouds. “In terms of agility and ease of use, SaaS clouds can generate quick wins that have a substantial impact on your customers, your workforce’s productivity and overall agency efficiency.”

Cloud environments are flexible and scalable, meaning agencies can meet surging citizen demand during trying circumstances.

2. Promote Self-Service

Often, the best way to help constituents is to let them help themselves. Agencies with self-service offerings improve trust with the public while operating quicker and more efficiently.

“A thoughtful support strategy, particularly one rooted in helping constituents help themselves, can mitigate a backlog of requests and thereby reduce constituent frustration during the second wave,” Country said of the coronavirus situation. “Simple adjustments to the self-service can free up agents to focus on more complex inquiries.”

Agencies with robust self-service options not only free up personnel to resolve more complex matters faster and better but can also devote more talent to innovating. The outcome is win-win for agencies and the public.

3. Deliver More Services Digitally

Nowadays, people want agencies to deliver products and services digitally like most private sector companies do. Without these expectations, some constituents are also eager for less in-person encounters so they can practice social distancing more often.

By using SaaS platforms such as those Zendesk provides, agencies can also make the email, forms and social messaging they use to support constituents streamlined through a single platform.

“The first wave of COVID-19 has shown us how agencies need to invest in shifting away from reactive customer experience to proactively offering digital solutions,” Country said.

This article is an excerpt from GovLoop’s recent guide, “Reinventing Government: 20 Innovations for 2020.” Download the full guide here.

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