Public agencies are at a crossroads. Many have done things a certain way for a very long time, and it's hard to think of a new way for government offices to improve their services for citizens. Many lack sufficient funding or an adequate workforce to push forward significant innovation. And because there is no real competition between government agencies, many have simply opted to continue on their current path, regardless of a reputation for slow processes, long wait-times, and frustrated staff.
But all that is changing. Private sector companies like Apple and Target that have shown customers that the online and brick and mortar worlds can exist as one unified service channel. As a result, service expectations are going up in every segment. It’s causing municipal leaders in communities to worry about producing new and better ways to serve constituents more effectively and efficiently. In many cases, that requires them to figure out how to do more – and for more people – with stagnant or reduced resources.
First and foremost, it’s important to shift the focus to recognizing that constituents are taxpayers, in effect, making them customers who have tasks to perform and goals to meet. With that in mind, public agencies can begin to think about the cost and ROI of innovation, not in terms of line items; rather in terms of performance and results.
They expect to accomplish tasks with a high level of efficiency
They want to schedule appointments online or via mobile, and to have a sense of how much time their visit will take
They will try to use their mobile device to find information and perform tasks
They want to know what to do and where to go when they arrive, so their experience is free of unnecessary delay or anxiety
They appreciate face-to-face interactions with knowledgeable experts prepared and willing to help
They are willing to be a source of information for others if they’ve had a particularly good (or bad) experience
By addressing these needs and wants in a priority based methodical manner, government agencies are succeeding in making measurable improvements to the citizen experience. For example, customer journey management technology solutions have helped government agencies including the DMV, Veterans Affairs, Building and Planning organizations, City Clerk offices, and Tax Assessors to reduce wait times by 30% and improve employee productivity by up to 35%.
How to improve services in government offices
Reaching this point involves a handful of initial efforts, implementations, and changes. Each should be based on a careful assessment of the priorities of the organization and its community base.
Integrate business intelligence resources across the citizen journey to understand how the organization is performing each task and guiding strategies that can drive toward continual performance excellence
Consolidate their environment, staff resources, and services to reduce costs and speed the throughput of a greater number of citizens
Create partnerships with complementary organizations to enhance services and streamline processes
Remain compliant with legislative demands for information security
Measure success criteria that directly reflect the specific citizen journey management efforts and resources put in place
We have seen time and again that when an organization engages thoughtful citizen journey strategies and integrated hardware and software resources, they make better use of resources and improve their reputation quickly. In and of itself, the changes communicate their commitment to the taxpayers – which goes a long way to reminding citizens that their public agencies exist to make the community a better place.
If you'd like to learn more on how to choose a citizen journey management solution that can significantly increase efficiency and support digitization, download our guide on how to choose a customer journey management solution for government agencies, and a checklist of what to consider.