Modern citizens want everything at their fingertips, and government services are no exception. Agencies that don’t make mobile devices central to their customer experience (CX) increasingly seem outdated.
Jacob Parcell, the Acting Director of the General Services Administration’s (GSA) Innovation Portfolio, says that agencies will only appear more ancient the longer they trail the public sector on mobile CX.
“This is called the mobile moment,” he said Wednesday during GovLoop’s Government CX Virtual Summit: Putting the Citizen First. “All of these engagements need to be as quick and easy as possible. If these engagements aren’t simple and fast, you’re going to drive those customers away.”
Citing the U.S. Digital Analytics Program (DAP), Parcell said that 2019 is the first year that more than 50 percent of sessions on government websites were mobile users. Government websites on average now handle more than 20 million users daily, he added, with about 48 percent of traffic on federal websites coming from mobile devices.
“For government information, people are going to the mobile device first most of the time,” Parcell said. “We have to be able to serve them what they need when they come.”
Parcell recommended that agencies looking to improve their mobile CX start by imitating the private sector’s example on the topic. According to Parcell, private sector companies often design mobile experiences based on what analytics say their customers need.
“The good private sector companies are looking at analytics constantly,” he said. “They have people looking at analytics every hour. That’s a practice we forget about in government.”
Parcell suggested that organizations that are creating new mobile experiences make the design process agencywide. “CX goes across all channels,” he said. “You want a multi-disciplinary, holistic view of everyone that a product will touch in an organization. How your agency is handling accessibility and security is also important.”
Parcell noted, however, that strong mobile CX is about delivering information, products and services efficiently on the devices people use.
“It can’t take a long time to load, hurt their device, and it can’t hold too much information for their device’s screen,” he said. “Is it seamless if I go to information on my desktop computer and then access it on my mobile device? We can’t predict new technologies, but we have to be ready for how citizens engage with our information.”
Parcell added that the public and private sectors are separated by the former’s status as the sole provider of many services. For example, people can only pay their taxes through the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or their state and local tax organizations. According to Parcell, it’s a situation that applies to governments at every level.
“Mobile moments are generally really good at doing one thing and doing it quick[ly,” he said. “Ask yourself, ‘Is this something I’d like to access from another organization?’”
Parcell noted that whether agencies are federal, state or local, they may be the only best resource for citizens using their mobile devices. For example, certain federal agencies are the leading authority on drug and food safety regulations.
“We are often the first line where people see information,” he said of governments. “That’s our first chance to impress people who are coming in to see our information.”
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