Moving to the Cloud Solves Common Government Agency Issues

As citizens engage with government agencies, they expect consistent and timely experiences — regardless of the channel or their method of communication. And they expect those experiences to mirror what private industry offers, from federal agencies down to the county level. However, without the right long-term solutions, it isn’t easy to meet these expectations.  As the volume of interactions increases, so does the unnecessary stress for frontline agents.

In the second of three fireside chat webinars, GovLoop interviewed two industry experts about how the cloud affects citizen trust and experience as well as employee engagement:

  • Anne Petersen, Director of Experience Design at 18F, a federal digital consultancy within the GSA
  • David York, Senior Vice President of the US Public Sector at Genesys

It’s a Real Problem, But It’s Solvable

Consider how citizens feel when they contact your agency: often desperate for resolutions to problems that feel urgent, and even more so during turbulent times. When agents aren’t able to help quickly enough, it’s more than a distraction.

“The constituent is more likely to escalate and publicly express their dissatisfaction,” said York. “And that erodes confidence in government.”

But a few things hold agencies back. “The biggest obstacles to improving citizen experience in government are the general pain points that government experiences overall — procurement, hiring and budget,” noted Petersen, who works with many different agencies.

How Cloud Reduces the Cost to Serve
Solving these core problems boils down to having a unified understanding of citizen needs, deciding on which modern solutions can help and how to deliver them.

“The best way to do that is through research with the people you’re trying to serve,” said Petersen. “Look at it through a user- or customer-focused perspective: What are their experiences? And where will you see the best return on investment of time and budget?”

One of the challenges facing both private enterprise and government agencies is thinking that simply adding channels is the ultimate answer. While a new channel may handle a particular problem for the short-term, it’s not a long-term solution.

“Having multiple channels or a multichannel solution doesn’t necessarily address all citizen touchpoints or the challenge of consistency,” said York. “That’s because there’s no real connection or integration between those channels. In fact, we’ve found that about 40% of agents don’t know who’s calling — even when calls are front-ended by an IVR.”

This disconnect has a direct financial impact and it also degrades the citizen experience:

  • Multiple silos drive up the costs to report on interactions and integrate channels.
  • The cost to serve goes up – often as a hidden expense – because agents must cover the same ground over and over.
  • The whole disjointed process frustrates the caller.

A single platform across channels solves these issues and enables a more conversational omnichannel experience.

Petersen agrees. “Using a single cloud platform also simplifies procurement, security and compliance. You can solve so many issues through one move – that is, to the cloud – allowing your digital presence to be easier to use for everyone who needs it,” said Petersen.

Call on Government and Technology Resources to Help

Resources are available for agencies, many in the form of partnerships. Organizations such as 18F are a rich source of information about addressing citizen experience. Others include the General Services Administration CX Center of Excellence (CoE) and the American Council for Technology and Industry Advisory Council (ACT-IAC). This combined government and industry forum has a customer experience community of interests, among other things. It’s focused on building knowledge and providing resources to help agency members build the business case to move to the cloud.

FedRAMP-authorized vendors like Genesys can help you identify your next best move to take advantage of cloud innovations.

To hear more from Anne Petersen and David York on how a move to the cloud directly affects citizen satisfaction, download the on-demand fireside chat, “ How the cloud can enhance customer experience.”