Public expectations have put pressure on agencies to deliver experiences that are equal to or better than those offered by the private sector.
According to the Accenture Public Service Pulse Survey, the vast majority of citizens expect government agencies to provide service levels that meet or exceed those they get from private businesses.
Since the COVID pandemic, there has been a dramatic shift to more engaging and digital channels including e-mail, web-based self-service applications, social media, chatbots, SMS text messaging and video streaming.
Just as businesses use multichannel digital engagement to improve customer experience while reducing costs, government agencies too can take advantage of new technologies to drive citizen-centric initiatives that offer their constituents a better overall experience.
But there are four steps that the public sector can take to make effective citizen-centric government a reality, and trusted data holds the key to success.
1. Integrate data from multiple sources
Innovative governments strive to develop a 360-degree view of their constituents. Effective integration brings all internal data together under one roof so that it can be viewed, analyzed and understood holistically.
A common complaint among citizens, however, is that service interactions can often be disjointed, leading to significant frustration and many negative interactions.
Integration lays the foundation for a unified experience to help improve citizens’ overall interactions. By integrating data from multiple systems and sources across your government agency, you are better able to offer that unified experience.
2. Enrich your data
When you have a data-driven view of your citizens, you can do a better job of targeting them with messages personally relevant to them. Information about local school issues will be most relevant to families with children, whereas news about the local senior center will be relevant to your elderly population and their adult children who care about their safety and well-being.
Data enrichment combines the internal information you already have about your citizens with curated data from trusted external sources. This opens the door to a world of new insights and opportunities, shedding light on details about the demographic makeup of your community, the geographic dispersion of citizens, traffic patterns and even the movement of populations over time, enabling confident decision-making based on contextualized data.
3. Expand your channels
Most government agencies have typically utilized the traditional channels like email, phone, postal mail and in-person services. More recently, public sector organizations started offering some level of web-based services and mobile applications. It’s entirely possible to expand your footprint to include additional digital channels without abandoning your existing investments.
Look for solutions that can provide new channels that significantly improve constituent interactions, bringing together text, email and social media interactions under one roof. Also, look for personalized interactive videos—a highly engaging, bite-sized format that directly communicates the information most relevant to a particular citizen.
Because some government processes require printed output—and because many citizens prefer printed communications—a multichannel communication strategy is indispensable. An integrated approach ensures consistency and clarity, regardless of how the message is delivered, so offering more options to your citizens will help reduce costs and empower your constituents through their preferred channel of communication.
4. Engage in continuous improvement
As you progress toward a full-service multichannel approach, you can incorporate the principles of continuous improvement into your processes. With a proper view of citizen data and the right analytics tools, government organizations can uncover patterns, visualize insights in real-time and make sound decisions that drive value for their constituents.
It’s becoming increasingly more difficult for public sector organizations to better understand citizenry needs and provide impeccable service at every point of contact. However, these initiatives can only be effective if the data being relied upon can be trusted. Maximizing the integrity of the data that will drive the organization’s strategies requires integrating siloed data, measuring its quality, adding location intelligence and enriching it with third party data. A clear data strategy is needed for success, and that means investing in data integrity.
More than ever, constituents have come to expect a true multichannel digital experience, whether it be from private businesses or government agencies. By following the four steps outlined above, organizations can make the data-driven public sector a reality, and truly put the constituent experience first.
Brad Steer is the Vice President of Public Sector at Precisely.