Building on Citizen Experience Gains

We've written about the government's ongoing efforts to improve their ratings when it comes to "customer" experience. Across government, agencies have made citizen experience (CX) a focus of their digital strategy. They are working to implement new technologies and processes to make it easier for citizens to get the information they need about government services. The progress agencies were able (or not able) to make came into focus in the way they were able to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. The measure of CX success can be looked at in two ways:

  1. How quickly were agencies able to transition to providing their normal level of service while working remotely?
  2. How responsive were agencies to increased pandemic-related citizen interaction?

While there were many speed bumps in getting government functions up and running from a distributed telework model, many agencies found that investments they had been making in telework specifically and digital government, in general, paid huge dividends in their COVID response. For example, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission had completed a full refresh of laptops meaning that all employees had up-to-date hardware and software to start their work from home adventure. Other agencies who had worked to incorporate technology, even as basic as e-signatures, found themselves able to move quicker than agencies still working with manual processes.

But, all the preparation in the world could not prepare for the scope and speed of the pandemic crisis. A study from the Information Technology Innovation Foundation looked at the performance of state unemployment websites and found that 26 state websites failed. The National Association of State CIOs found that about three-quarters of states have launched chatbots to help their agencies answer unemployment insurance or COVID-related questions and take the pressure off both websites and call centers. The Texas Workforce Commission was able to employ a chatbot named Larry to help with volumes that reached 98,000 online unemployment applications in one day. Larry has been able to answer 4.8 million questions for 1.2 million people.

Another way agencies can respond to unprecedented traffic and service demand is to beef up search functions on their websites. Government website search capabilities should include the ability to read through typos and use autocomplete. In addition to providing relevant search results quickly, search engines should also feedback to customer support teams showing them what people are searching for. This information can inform how they present information and respond to requests moving forward for even more efficiency.

Finally, knowing there will be backlogs when we return to a more normal pace of business, agencies should see how to implement Artificial Intelligence and automation to triage requests to prioritize task lists for service representatives. Lower priority requests - those that are basic informational asks - could be set up for automated responses.

There are several events that can inform agencies' paths toward more efficient and effective citizen service.

  • Citizen Experience Seminar (August 11, 2020; online) - This virtual seminar will discuss improving information sharing between agencies and citizens, personalizing experiences to drive engagement, meeting legislative mandates like the 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act (IDEA), and using data and analytics to advance CX.
  • Government Experience Awards (September 24, 2020; online) - This event will recognize best practices of government agencies that have radically improved the experience of government and push the boundaries of how services are delivered. Learn more about trends and successes from government peers.
  • ReImagine Nation ELC 2020 (October 26-29, 2020; online) - Produced by ACT-IAC, this online event brings together content across cybersecurity, emerging technologies, mission modernization, and lab-to-market under the theme of, "Mission Resiliency: Technology, Culture, & Agility." Sessions will examine the challenges and opportunities from the past year and the role technology has played.
  • AI World Government (October 28-30, 2020; online) - This three-day virtual conference will seek to educate and inform public sector agencies on proven strategies and tactics to successfully deploy AI and cognitive technologies. Leaders from across government, technology, business, and research will present the latest in technology to assist the public sector in leveraging advanced intelligent technologies to enhance services.
  • DC Digital Transformation Conference (October 29, 2020; Washington, DC) - Leaders spearheading digital initiatives in their organizations will come together to provide insights into their digital transformation journeys. Learn from various federal entities and large commercial companies through a range of keynote presentations, fireside chats, panel discussions, and interactive roundtable sessions.

We'd love to hear about your CX journeys and where you're keeping up with the latest trends and tactics.

Be sure to check out GovEvents for a complete listing of events, webinars, and a library of on-demand events.

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