Designing better citizen experiences is no longer an imperative just for commercial organizations. Joe Biden's 2021 executive mandate has made this clear as public trust in government agencies hits historic lows. To turn the tide on public perception, government services leaders like you must take a citizen-centric approach to achieve your agency goals.
But making the shift toward a more citizen-centric government agency is no easy feat. It requires a fundamental reset in the relationship between your constituents and your agency. Ultimately, you need to make a mindset shift when it comes to citizen experience design. And here's why.
Mindset shift key to delivering a better citizen experience
While government agencies have been taking steady strides in adopting digital technologies to provide better access to their services, a discord between how agencies and citizens view the delivery of these services persists.
Deloitte’s survey of 150+ U.S. government leaders highlighted this disparity in viewpoint, illustrating that government leaders, for the most part, overestimate how well constituents perceive their citizen experiences. That’s because current experiences are largely prioritized based on their ability to comply with federal regulations more than on what citizens really want and expect.
More importantly, there’s a tendency among government services leaders to evaluate the citizen experience based on individual touchpoints versus taking a more holistic view of the entire citizen journey. Such an approach is limiting and only perpetuates distrust of government agencies' ability to provide equitable access to their services — impacting participation, compliance, recruitment, and citizen satisfaction.
Likewise, when government services leaders do prioritize the citizen experience, they tend to focus on initiatives that prove more fruitful for the agency than for constituents, such as those related to cost reduction. And should the agency need to make budget cuts, quite often the first place they start is with the citizen experience.
So, if you really want to improve your citizen experience, you need to take a citizen-first approach. But what does that mean, and how can you attain citizen-centricity?
What does it mean to be citizen-centered
Being "citizen-centered" means placing citizen needs and priorities at the center of your decision-making and service delivery. You need to leverage citizen feedback, perspectives, and experience in the design and delivery of your agency services while being responsive to the diverse needs of the communities you serve — ensuring that they're accessible and inclusive.
When you incorporate citizen input into the design of your government service delivery, you're better able to orchestrate experiences that build trust, increase citizen engagement, and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your services.
How to be more citizen-focused to design a better citizen experience
Citizen trust in the government’s ability to deliver equitable access to public services has been hard hit by the success of their commercial peers, the pandemic, and a history of outdated and siloed systems.
But to improve citizen trust, public agency leaders like you need to put citizens first. Only when that mindset shift has happened will you be able to take the subsequent steps to develop a citizen-centric agency. So, what steps can you take to become more citizen-focused?
- Define the citizen experience: The first step in becoming more citizen-focused is understanding the actual citizen journey. That means evaluating the current state of the citizen experience and then using those insights to develop what you want that future state to look like. At Qmatic, defining the citizen experience starts with creating a citizen journey map, more commonly known as a customer journey map. This is a roadmap that visually represents every interaction a citizen has with your agency. It's important because it enables you to identify all touchpoints in the citizen journey while also identifying gaps and areas of improvement.
- Collect feedback from citizens and front-line workers: With the citizen experience identified, you'll want to ensure that you also leverage feedback from citizens and those at the forefront of delivering your citizen services. This will give you a better picture of workflows that need to be improved, areas that need to be optimized, and ideas for automating repetitive tasks and adding value. Feedback from these sources is most important as it provides direct insights into what is lacking in your citizen experience.
- Centralize and mine your data: Government services agencies have a plethora of citizen data points they can leverage. The problem is that information is often siloed by departments or functions. If possible, seek to make use of a platform to consolidate and synthesize this information. The goal is to leverage what you know about your citizens and how they interact with your organization to design experiences with the best positive impact. By mining your data, you can pinpoint opportunities to improve your citizen experience and let it guide you in your decision-making process.
- Improve access to services by leveraging digital channels: This is one area the private sector that has been highly successful in. They've learned to use channels like chat, mobile, online, and self-service options to drive stronger customer relationships. You can take a page from their playbook and leverage those channels to address your citizens' concerns. It's a surefire way to improve public trust and reliance on your agency and closely aligns with their expectations and needs.
- Empower your staff with the right tech infrastructure: Part of ensuring that your agency is equipped with the right mindset to deliver a better citizen experience is to equip them with the right tools and technology. Technology can facilitate this by automating repetitive tasks, freeing staff to focus on delivering better service. Likewise, it can provide staff with citizen data at their fingertips to enable them to deliver personalized experiences based on citizen concerns and prior interactions with your agency. By streamlining operations for staff, you can also attain cost savings that improve your bottom line.
Bringing your citizen experience to life
Orchestrating better citizen experiences is table stakes today. With the vast array of digital technologies available on the market, becoming a more citizen-centric organization is within reach. The key is to look for a solution that enables you to take the steps to bring your citizen experience to life. An effective way to deliver on this and more is a citizen journey management platform.
A citizen journey management platform provides a robust set of tools that enables you to take control of the entire citizen journey from pre-arrival to post-service. And many public agencies have taken notice. For example, the City of Minneapolis recently underwent a digital transformation initiative that leverages Qmatic's citizen journey management platform to provide constituents with straightforward and accessible services.
Through the platform, Minneapolis can provide citizens with an omnichannel experience that connects the digital and physical journey and puts them in control of their experience. As a result, Minneapolis has been able to:
- Increase equity and accessibility to all constituents
- Decrease wait times
- Reduce costs by better allocating resources
- Improve efficiency and productivity
- Adapt to a hybrid workforce with the use of virtual counters
- Offer more efficient and personalized interactions
As you work through improving your citizen experience and evaluate tools that can help, consider the use of a platform like Qmatic that gives you everything you need in one place. Doing so will enable you to take control of your citizen experience, giving you a 360 degree of the citizen experience while also facilitating the ability to make adjustments in real-time.
If you’re interested in learning more about this tool and how you can reap its benefits, then download your copy of our citizen journey management guide.