A new report ‘Intelligent Self-Service and Personalisation—Rethink the Customer Experience’ can help governments understand how to meet the increasing expectations of a connected and mobile citizenry. FutureGov spoke with Augustin du Payrat (pictured), Principal Business Consultant, Asia Pacific, Genesys, on issues raised in the report, such as migrating citizens to cheaper digital channels and designing self-service systems that are user friendly.
Government web sites are very effective for disseminating information and performing transactions in volume. They are however limited in dealing with exceptions or unique cases that do not fall within the standard processes, du Payrat said.
In his recent conversations with governments around the region, the common challenge in handling these exceptions is the high cost of managing calls from citizens. “Public sector organisations are moving away from having a huge team of civil servants just answering phone calls. Channel migration - from voice calls to non-voice options - is important because you can reduce cost, improve efficiency and enhance citizen experience,” he said.
Easing citizens into new modes of communication with the government can be tricky, du Payrat continued. “Some organisations resort to ‘hiding’ their hotline number or email address just so users are forced to use the organisations’ preferred channels. But that’s not the best option because user experience is adversely affected.”
“The best way to successfully migrate citizens to the right channels is to improve the experience on those channels such that they become the preferred avenues for citizens to contact your agency,” he said. “In fact, majority of the population, particularly the digital natives, will embrace the new digital channels, such as instant messaging, mobile apps or interactive voice response systems.”
When designing citizen self-service systems, du Payrat revealed that a common pitfall is not keeping it simple. “In a bid to make it as comprehensive as possible, some agencies over-engineer the system to a point that it becomes less user friendly. For example, imagine an interactive voice response system that reads out nine or more options, by the sixth option, the citizen would have probably forgotten the first five!” explained du Payrat.
He recommends that governments assess their service interactions using the Customer Effort Score Audit, which will help them identify the ways citizens are expending the greatest effort across all service channels (such as web, interactive voice response, email, chat, phone), and brainstorm ways to reduce that effort.
“When you track citizen effort, you start to understand what is complex for them, and those are the areas you need to improve on. It becomes a great tool to identify pockets of opportunity to enhance productivity and increase citizen satisfaction at the same time,” he concluded.