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On December 13, President Biden signed an executive order to rebuild public trust in government by improving customer experience with seamless, efficient and connected services. A lot is at stake. Poor customer experience (CX) can cause confusion and embarrassment, sometimes undermining elected officials and hurting legislation. Most importantly, poor service experiences erode trust and confidence in government.
Efficiency and Effectiveness Aren’t Enough
In the past couple of years, public institutions have been pushed to deliver higher levels of services and information to citizens, businesses, customer agencies and more. It’s been clear for many years that we can’t scale the government workforce to match the demand for services. The challenge must be solved with technology; but removing or reducing human interactions can result in cold and impersonal experiences that prioritise efficiency and effectiveness. Service delivery must also prioritise empathy.
Transformational Customer Experience Requires Empathy
Engagement with government starts with a person — and the journey they’re on. We’re all on a journey, as are the government employees who serve citizens. When you deliver empathetic service you:
Knowing your customers means you understand them. Once you understand your customers, you can engage with empathy. And empathy builds trust.
But how do we do this at scale?
Empathy at Scale
To make empathy more concrete and actionable, we focus on four critical systems to deliver empathetic service:
Looking at empathy this way makes it more tangible. These systems are actions. Technology can support these actions to make services more effective and make the delivery of empathetic service scalable.
Technology Enables Empathy
Data and artificial intelligence (AI), combined with voice and digital engagement capabilities, are critical for the systems of listening, understanding and prediction, action, and learning that make empathy at scale possible.
No Wrong Door
President Biden’s executive order moves government CX beyond a transactional approach. The order specifies that government agencies will identify customer life experiences that trigger engagement with government services and reduce barriers to access with an admirable “no wrong door” approach.
A focus on life experiences and “no wrong door” should support more proactive service delivery and helps increase awareness of government programs during times of need. It also reduces the “pain and friction” many feel while navigating government agencies for services and information. Enabling self-service with intuitive web experiences — and expanding communication options to include web, chat, email and social channels — will also help reduce the “pain and friction” that occur when engagement only happens through in-person meetings and paper-based processes.
Empowerment Through Automation, Integration and Orchestration
Automation and orchestration provide critical capabilities to deliver a connected experience across all touchpoints a person has with government. The organisation can also leverage these capabilities to create a supportive and empowering experience for government employees who provide services to citizens.
Automation eliminates mundane work, such as filling out multiple forms with the same information. Integration ensures the systems of record for different departments and agencies can be accessed across one digital ecosystem for citizen engagement. And, orchestrating systems of listening, understanding and predicting, acting, and learning supports proactive and seamless service delivery at each stage of a person’s journey.
Of the People and for the People
During the pandemic, government agencies have made remarkable progress expanding and scaling services while shifting to remote work. This progress was made possible by public servants — employees committed to making government work. I’m optimistic President Biden’s order will build on this great progress and empower government employees to deliver exceptional personalised empathetic service experiences to citizens.