Renewing the Focus on Citizen Experience

Citizen Experience (CX) has been an important focus for many government agencies, as well as a key tenant of the President's Management Agenda. Now with considerably more people depending on government support for everything from general public health information to loans to keep small businesses running to unemployment benefits, CX is more important than ever.

While government still scores poorly on customer satisfaction surveys when compared with commercial organizations, there have been a number of bright success stories in the federal market. Looking at what has worked, there are several themes that every agency should keep in mind when designing customer experience improvements.

  • Meet citizens where they are. This means moving to a mobile-driven strategy. People conduct many of their daily tasks on a mobile device and interactions with government should be one of them. In fact, a benchmark study from Granicus shows that mobile access of government website use is rising and quickly gaining ground on desktops as the dominant method for accessing sites. All digital materials and systems should be mobile-friendly, allowing citizens to access forms and information from anywhere, at any time.
  • Walk in customer service's shoes. Decision-makers on CX processes and technology need to sit with the service reps who are interacting with the public to better understand where the pain points are for employees, as well as for the citizens they serve. Improving the employee experience improves the citizen experience.
  • Establish a CX office and executive. Citizen experience is too important to be an "add-on" to another department. While HR, IT, and communications typically have major roles in CX efforts, there should be a separate department with a leader that has a seat at the agency executive table and whose sole focus is improving and innovating the citizen experience.
  • Focus on the citizen. It seems like a given, but agencies need to look from the outside in when designing systems. How do citizens want to interact with the agency? This should drive changes rather than how the agency would like people to interact with it. Human-centered design is also critical, ensuring that digital systems are intuitive. If systems are too hard to use, people will fall back on calling or visiting contact centers with an increased level of frustration that they could not effectively interact online.

There are a number of events and content resources focused on these and other strategies for improving citizen experience.

  • Ultimate Guide to Government CX (online resource) - Published by Salesforce, this guide features real-world examples of CX success in government. Content includes discussion of employee engagement, citizen-centered digital strategies, and using low-code technologies to accelerate digital strategies.
  • Creating 21st Century Digital Experiences in Federal Government (online resource) - Focused on how agencies are meeting the mandates of the 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act (IDEA), this paper presents survey data on the state of CX in government with a look at how agencies are prioritizing CX efforts. It also provides insight into how to update websites and digital applications to meet the deadlines and demands of the Act (and the public in general).
  • The U.S. Census Modernized (online resource) - This paper looks at how the digital collection of the 2020 Census will impact the data available to agencies across government. Find out how to set up your agency to take advantage of the influx of data to provide more tailored citizen service.
  • Virtual Government Customer Experience Conference @930 Gov (June 10, 2020; Washington, DC) - This event will explore the policies, applications, and technologies involved with improving customer experience and citizen services. This annual event serves public sector professionals responsible for improving customer experience and citizen engagement through all aspects of serving citizens to include but not limited to onsite, online, social media, mobile, contact center operations, and more.
  • Citizen Experience Seminar (August 11, 2020; Washington, DC) - This day of innovation and insights will cover improving information sharing between agencies and citizens, personalizing experiences to drive engagement, steps you can take today to move towards meeting legislative mandates, harnessing data and analytics to improve CX, and how to make CX a priority at your agency.
  • Digital Transformation Workshop (September 22, 2020; Washington, DC)--As a holistic approach to IT, digital transformation requires a fundamental rethinking of how organizations operate, the disruption of silos, and greater collaboration throughout an organization. This workshop will explore the outcomes of digital transformation, including retooled business processes, workplace culture, and change management, user experience, and automation.
  • The D.C. Digital Transformation Summit 2020 (October 29, 2020; Washington, DC) - This conference brings together leaders spearheading digital initiatives in their organizations to offer insights into their digital transformation journeys. Expert speakers from various federal entities and large commercial companies will present through a range of keynote presentations, fireside chats, panel discussions, and interactive roundtable sessions.

Let us know where you are learning about CX strategies and tactics. Share your thoughts in the comments.

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