The past year was pivotal for digital customer engagement as government agencies exploited the power of the web to support channel-shifting services. However, most are not fully realizing the economic benefits of their digital strategies, as the focus has been on making content and services available online vs. finding actionable and innovative ways for citizens to engage digitally.
One reason is that digital-first engagement management strategies are not approached from the customer perspective, but instead from a departmental or service perspective.
This makes it hard for customers to find the information or service they want and easier for them to pick up the phone. Digital-first strategies must be designed from the customer perspective to gain the full economic benefits.
Designed with the customer in mind, digital experiences will offer:
- a consistent look and feel, layout, and structure of the digital experience rather than a patchwork quilt approach dictated by each department or service;
- streamlined search and navigation to information via a single convenient user account to access all of the available government services, such as their social networking log in;
- a personalized digital experience journey where information is displayed in their preferred language and with services highlighted based on their location and profile;
- pre-populated online forms based on the customer profile and which can be started and completed later when customers have more required information at hand; and
- service delivery that is integrated and end to end.
But wait, there’s more. That includes:
- access to sensitive information or services that is secured appropriately, giving customers the option to choose to interact anonymously or authenticated;
- the ability to transact as a proxy for others, if authorized to do so;
- customer service assistance from a representative that is able to see the problem and guide the customer to successful resolution, with both parties having access to the same information; and
- digital engagement efforts that are continually optimized through customer feedback.
The problem with achieving digital-first engagement goals is there hasn’t been a common roadmap of how to get there. To succeed, digital-first strategies should be developed and implemented in phases to enable delivery of quick wins, minimize risks, and garner support for future phases.
Phase 1 could focus on launching a customer my account portal, providing easy access to information through the search capability, and providing both anonymous and secure access to those services that are classed as having a low business-level impact from a security standpoint. This phase could also include marketing efforts aimed at driving customers to the new portal.
Phase 2 could focus on extending services available via the customer my account portal to those that are classed as having a higher business-level impact from a security standpoint, enhancing the security authorization mechanism accordingly. As such, services are typically more complex. This phase should also consider the provision of co-browse for customer support purposes.
Phase 3 could focus on extending the customer my account portal out to different customer personas, including businesses, and extending available services. Further, this phase could also focus on introducing the ability to act as an authorized advocate or proxy for others, thereby increasing the reach of the digital services.
Phase 4 could consider providing personalization to further increase channel shift. It could also provide forums to support community participation, extend the underlying web content management system for the entire organization website, and leverage analytics to further optimize of digital journey.
Once services are online, organizations must pay attention to how they are being used, going unused, and which customers are using which services, and via which channel. With each interaction, customers provide valuable information that can be used to further enhance and personalize the experience. By capturing and analyze that data, organizations can continue to refine their efforts.
Having a digital-first strategy is a good start. But organizations can do so much more. They can provide a truly exceptional online experience that’s designed with the customer in mind. This not only enables government organizations to serve customers better, it allows them to fully realize economic benefits of digital-first strategies.
David Moody is vice president and global practice leader of the government and public sector at Verint Enterprise Intelligence Solutions
Edited by Maurice Nagle