From city halls and tax offices to embassies and consulates, finding ways to make best use of resources to meet centrally set targets at lowest cost is a top priority. But what about citizens’ experiences, do they really matter or is everything about cost?
Governments in countries all over the globe are put in front of great challenges on how to deliver services to their citizens in an effective and efficient way. An ageing population drives the need for changes in the way services will be provided in the future, forcing public institutions to be more innovative.
What’s needed is design and management of the complete customer journey, and not just the individual touch points. If the complete customer journey is in place, measurement of progress and results to drive continuous performance improvements will be dramatically easier to facilitate.
Even though the customers of public services not often have more choices of how, when and where they receive service today, they still are demanding customers. They want the best possible service for their tax money. So not surprisingly, governments are focusing on the improvement of the quality of service delivery.
How can Customer Experience Management (CEM) and Customer Journey methodologies turn challenges into opportunities – so that everybody benefits, staff and customers alike? Below are four suggestions:
1. Boost Service Quality
At the heart of the customer experience is the quality of service provided. So why not welcome customers with a meet and greet solution? A CEM solution increase service quality by better matching customers and staff, based on the customer’s need and staff competence. This is really nothing more than skill-based routing in the branch. In addition, employees are in a stronger position to meet the need since they have access to the customer’s service history and can prepare accordingly.
2. Reduce Actual Waiting Time
Waiting to be served is usually a waste of time. It can be frustrating and stressful. Customers feel neglected. Waiting time also says a lot about the efficiency, and perhaps even commitment, of the organisation. The goal is to keep waiting time to an appropriate length. It goes hand in hand with an enhanced customer experience.
3. Reduce Percieved Waiting Time
The longest wait is the one you cannot control. For customers, it is often theperceived waiting time that matters most. A CEM solution can reduce the perceived waiting time by using media solutions in the waiting area to present information and entertainment. This also contributes to a more efficient process and reduces actual waiting time since the information presented can help customers to better prepare before service. This is active waiting –and it makes time fly.
4. Promote a Sense of Calm, Order and Respect
All of us want to be treated like people, not cattle. Fortunately, a calm and orderly waiting area is also a more efficient and productive one. A CEM solution removes the mystery and worry from the wait by guiding and updating customers about where to go, where to wait and waiting times. Simply put, customers know that they are in-process and not forgotten.
Delivering better customer experience goes hand in hand with improving efficiency. Having worked with hundreds of Government agencies and public institutions around the world provides tangible evidence of that. Below are some examples:
- A city council saves £600k annually in their Customer Experience Management programme.
- A city council improves service resolution rates from 74% to 94% over a 9 month period
- A city hall reduces average service time from 50 to 17 minutes
- A city council improves productivity by 16%, representing an annual savings of more than £160k
- An embassy reduces average waiting time from six to one hour
Better customer experience relates to cost savings, efficiency improvements and staff satisfaction. This is why Government and Public institutions needs to put the customer and not cost in the centre when designing their services.