Using Automation to Improve the Citizen Experience

Automation technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), voice assistance and chatbots have become commonplace for consumers. So, they expect to have the same technology options when interacting with government agencies. Not only does automation enhance the citizen experience, it also reduces repetitive tasks for staff. And that can make these jobs more rewarding. Still, government agencies have been slow to adopt automation.

GovLoop and Genesys recently surveyed 120 government professionals involved in citizen experience and automation to better understand their attitudes toward the technology and implementation levels. A research brief summarizes the findings and identifies strategies agencies can follow to realize a meaningful ROI.

With the right automation technology, government agencies can worry less about meeting increasing demands despite staff and budget constraints. Instead, they can focus more resources on meeting their citizens’ needs.

Government Interest Is High

The slow adoption of automation among government entities isn’t from a lack of interest. In fact, nearly half of survey respondents are exploring ways to use automation to deliver self-service.

Two virtual agent use cases, in particular, appeal to respondents. First, they want to use automation to gather basic information and troubleshoot issues before sending citizens to a human agent. Second, there’s interest in using virtual agents to assist staff when interacting with the public.

Enhancing the Citizen Experience

A good citizen experience involves meeting public needs with minimal frustration and maximum efficiency. Almost 90% of respondents note that improving the citizen experience is a priority for their agencies. Deploying automation tools can help improve this experience; however, not all government agencies are certain in their use. Confidence in automation tools is highest in state agencies (67%), compared to 44% at local agencies and 40% at the federal level.

“Most decisions are driven by resources and where to allocate them,” said Tim Friebel, North American Solutions Architect at Genesys, on how to advocate for automation. “You have to find areas where automation can free up time and money while improving citizen experience.”

In any enterprise, leaders want to do more with less. When asked how best to improve the citizen experience, the top survey response (63%) was “reducing the time it takes to deliver information or services.”

Friebel cites three benefits to automation in this regard:

  • Giving employees time to focus on more complex calls that should take priority
  • Shortening the training cycle and getting new hires to work faster
  • Helping staff get up to speed to handle new, unexpected service scenarios

Reducing Barriers to Automation

Respondents indicated several perceived barriers to implementing automation technologies. Friebel notes opportunities to overcome each of these.

Onerous timelines: “A cross-department or interagency team with representation from the different groups involved can be more agile when given the responsibility for optimizing the overall citizen experience and the leeway to build success incrementally,” noted Friebel.

Competing priorities: Focusing on your mission can help you get past competing priorities. “If you can pinpoint a way for automation solutions to improve the citizen experience by delivering mission-critical services more efficiently and effectively, then it’s more likely to become a priority,” he added.

Security concerns: While government use of new technologies rightfully raises concerns about privacy and security, governments put more standards in place — such as the GSA Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP), which verifies the security practices of cloud service providers. To address this concern, Genesys offers agencies a FedRAMP-authorized solution.

Lack of funding: When budgets are tight, agencies can explore open-source options and investigate whether savings from automation in other areas, such as training, deliver the needed ROI.

Focus on Your Workforce

Successfully incorporating automation technologies to improve the customer experience starts with your workforce. The technology itself should be just one aspect of a planning strategy that includes three objectives:

  1. Improving overall customer or citizen experience
  2. Lowering costs by accurately planning, forecasting and scheduling your workforce
  3. Reducing employee turnover

By partnering with Genesys, you can customize your citizen journey using the right

combination of technologies — at the appropriate scale — to meet your specific needs. Solutions include call center software, email, chat and messaging. Chatbots and voice assistants can provide self-service options to more easily engage the public when they need it most.

Learn more by reading the research brief “Team Up with Automation for a Better Citizen Experience.”