Meeting Citizens Where They Already Are- How to Improve Customer Service

If the average citizen is mobile and social, shouldn’t government services be as well to better serve them?

This is the question government agencies have been working to address over the last few years. With initiatives like the Digital Government Strategy, which aims to provide citizens with high-quality digital information anywhere, anytime, and on any device, they are getting closer. But it’s not just about going mobile and making your information available on your website. To make government truly digital, transparent and collaborative there needs to be a stronger focus on customer service. For a long time government overlooked the importance of good customer service or failed to take a customer service-oriented approach. And now its just not in-person meetings or over the phone service they have to focus on. Organizations across all sectors are providing service over the web, email, Facebook, Twitter, etc as they attempt to meet people where they already are, on their phone or tablet. This presents both opportunities (collaboration, open dialogue, better informed public) and challenges (how do you manage multiple channels, streamline the process, and organize information with shrinking budgets).

With President Obama’s Executive Order: Streamlining Service Delivery and Improving Customer Service, agencies are taking serious steps to improve customer service. So how do you deliver outstanding service, improve satisfaction and keep constituents coming back to you without overhauling your entire agency? Many agencies are turning to CRM tools such as Salesforce’s Service Cloud for Government. Looking at their website, there are three reasons that stand out to implement Service Cloud:

  1. Build a true multi-channel contact center: Agents have a single interface to handle support issues over traditional and social channels and executives have consistent metrics and reporting.
  2. Enhance agent productivity: Helps you streamline the process to improve key productivity metrics in the contact center and reduce overall support costs.
  3. Deliver a superior customer experience: Between mobile self-service and social media listening to understand citizen sentiment you can deliver outstanding experiences at every interaction.

One cool example of an organization using Service Cloud is the NJ Transit, which sees over 900,000 daily trips and 250 million passengers a year, but didn’t have a way to track all required information on its passengers. Moreover, it didn’t have an easy, streamlined process to share relevant service information with all of its employees responsible for customer service and support access. The NJ Transit started small, with a pilot program of 150+ customer service employees. They then implemented a direct interface from its website so that when a customer files a report, it was automatically turned into a support case in their database. The results are impressive as it improved its handling of customer inquiries by 500 percent in 2 years, without increasing staff!

Service Cloud in many ways is a win-win for government: constituents are better informed and satisfied with their service, and customer service agents jobs are made easier. I encourage you to check out more information on Service Cloud for Government here. You can download the full NJ Transit case study and read other examples of government agencies using CRM to transform how they deliver service to citizens in the mobile world.

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Having spend most of my work life in the private sector functioning in a cuistomer service roll , I have an issue with using the phrase Customer Service in regard to how we treat the way taxpayers interface with the Government. Perhaps we should raise the bar for service and call it something like Tax Payer Service. Although we as Governement represenatives do have some motivational similarities as those in the for profit commercial sector do, we cannot affort to give up on some folks because they are not profitable to us.