Making a Business Case for Customer Experience in Government

The following post is an excerpt from GovLoop’s recent guide, Defining Your Role in Government Customer Service.  In it we offer practical tips to engrain a culture of service into your agency’s daily routines. Download the full guide here

Interview with Jodi Thompson, Senior Principal Strategic Business Consultant for Genesys

For years you’ve heard about the value of good customer experience (CX). Today, more agencies are realizing the real return on investment (ROI) that comes from customer experience initiatives. Studies indicate that organizations stand to lose more than $62 billion from poor customer service. And recently, Forbes predicted that, for customers, value and experience will continue to outweigh price when they make decisions about service.

Engaging with citizens digitally and in real-time not only improves government services, but also helps glean actionable insights from citizens to improve processes. But there are a number of challenges in making a compelling business case for CX in government. To discuss those obstacles and how to overcome them, GovLoop sat down with Jodi M. Thompson, Senior Principal Strategic Business Consultant for Genesys. Genesys is a leader in customer experience strategies and solutions.

While government wants to meet citizens’ expectations for the ideal customer experiences, budget constraints and lack of the necessary digital tools hinder progress. Additionally, many agencies don’t use the right metrics to understand how they’re performing and how to improve processes. Without the insights from metrics, it’s extremely difficult for government to progress in the journey to better customer experience.

“Agencies don’t have the granularity of data needed to enhance CX,” Thompson said. “They need to start looking at how to partner and join together with other agencies and the private sector while being respectful of their budget constraints. At the same time, agencies are looking to modernize and innovate. They need to be able to update their data, despite having antiquated and siloed systems for customer touchpoints.”

Making the case to invest in CX proves increasingly difficult when agencies already feel budget-strapped. Agency leaders will require proof of future cost savings and the potential impact of enhanced CX. It’s especially difficult for agencies to make the case for investing in modern customer management relationship systems when you can’t measure the impact of CX. And even when organizations do develop business cases for customer experience, many fail to ground their investment plans in financial or customer measures with clear linkage to value generation.

So how does government overcome these numerous challenges to enhancing customer experience? How can employees make a better case for CX?

Government needs to look past single solutions that promise faster processing times or increased productivity. Instead, agencies must holistically rethink their entire organizational culture, including strategies and solutions, for transformative CX change.

“It begins with having a clearly defined vision or a common message,” Thompson said. “If you want to reduce effort and improve productivity you may have to look at your setup and how services are configured. In a service environment, it’s often processing productivity vs. outcome. But rather than getting off the phone as quickly as possible to process more calls, an individual could spend the extra five minutes with someone and resolve the issue. What is the outcome you’re trying to achieve rather than on-time, on-budget?”

Once organizations have created customer-focused goals, leaders need to be prepared to invest in CX for the long haul if they seek to really make improvements. “What you’re really talking about in achieving a new set of standards is organizational change,” Thompson said. “It’s about the long-term adoption view versus the implementation of a standalone solution.”

One way to get started achieving that strategic vision is partnering with industry. Many private-sector entities already have sophisticated metrics in place for measuring CX outcomes and can collaborate with agencies get a better grasp of their current state and envision desired outcomes.

For example, Genesys offers strategic business consulting services including CX assessments, education, workshops and assistance creating financial business case ROIs. Genesys works with agencies to assess the current state of their customer experience strategy, people, processes, and technology to identify how these elements can help them achieve better business results and power exceptional experiences. They also help agencies to align their customer journey metrics with financial justification and business plans to help garner organizational buy-in.

With the right strategic vision, agencies can better make the case to invest in CX. By focusing more on customer-oriented goals, empowering their employees and using holistic solutions, government can save time and costs all while better serving the public.

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