Some officials may think that contact centres are too costly, but many governments are now prioritising these organisations. This is because they are normally the first touch points between citizens and the government, Bruce Eidsvik, Managing Director Asia Pacific, Genesys told FutureGov.
Eidsvik and his team has been working closely with the Australian government to improve citizen experience at contact centres. He summarises the biggest opportunities for public sector organisations:
1. Focus on answering the question instead of the call
Most contact centres operate on a 80/20 or 90/10 principle, said Eidsvik: “They target to answer 80 per cent of all calls within 20 seconds. To achieve that goal, they hire many agents to manage that call volume.”
However, that is not the best way to manage a contact centre, he believes. “In a recent study, we found that customers are willing to wait as long as when they finally speak to an agent, he/she can answer the question or solve the problem.”
“When you are focused on answering the call, you often have to transfer, and the customer experience worsens with each transfer,” he added.
2. Use analytics to improve service & training
If citizens are unable to find information on a website, they will have to contact a call centre. “By reviewing the citizen’s transactional history and online behaviour, Genesys’ analytics solution will assign the call to the agent with the most suitable skills to help,” Eidsvk said.
Analytics can also be used on the massive volume of verbal and written interactions - calls, emails, chat - to identify areas of improvement. “Besides knowing where your service chain is breaking down, you can also spot challenges that your agents are facing. For example, you can find out if a particular agent is not handling a certain inquiry well. One of our partners found out that 500 of their agents were simply transferring calls instead of resolving the issue,” he said.
3. Get visibility so you can manage
Some organisations are setting up ‘Command and Control Centres’ so they have full visibility over all interactions across multiple contact centres. “It looks almost like a network operation centre with all interactions mapped out on the screen in real-time, so the management can make informed decisions to improve operations,” said Eidsvik.
“It is common for governments to outsource their contact centre operation. The unified dashboard gives you a full view of activities, including these outsourced contact centres, so you can re-direct traffic if one site is struggling with its call volume, or look into a site if their citizen service rating is going down,” he noted.
4. Great customer experience = cost-efficient experience
Unlike the hospitality industry where customers are looking to be pampered and showered with attention, citizens just want their problem fixed when the ring the contact centre, according to Eidsvik. “Some of the best services our government customers provide are the least expensive. Citizens want a knowledgeable agent who can answer the question and they get on the way.”
He recommended that governments assess their service interaction using the Customer Effort Score Audit, a measure that helps them identify where citizens are using the greatest effort. The principle is to reduce the effort citizens have to take when dealing with the government, and that will improve the overall experience.
As government budgets continue to shrink, governments need to look at these opportunities to see how they can deliver greater efficiency while enhancing citizen services. “The return on investment in many of the projects we’ve worked on is unbelievable. Ministry of Justice New Zealand, for example, implemented a workload management solution which increased revenue by NZ$20 million (US$17 million) and reduced operating costs by NZ$2 million (US$1.7 million) per annum,” concluded Eidsvik.