A high priority for business is improving customer experiences. In fact, it ranks just below increasing revenue in a recent Forrester survey.In government, we see a similar focus on the customer across all business areas—68% of government leaders report the customer experience is either a high or critical priority. And with reason. A recent ACSI survey revealed that the public’s satisfaction with their interactions with federal agencies dropped to 64.4%, a 16-year low.
“While citizens are generally less satisfied with most aspects of their interactions with federal services, customer ratings of service (specifically, courteousness and professionalism of agency staff) have declined the most,” the report said. “Customer service plummets 6 percent compared with a year ago — down from a score of 80 to 75.”
Thanks to tightening budgets and limited resources, the solution to improve customer interactions with government agencies lies almost entirely in the digital realm. In fact, two federal Cross-Agency Priority Goals highlight the need for technology solutions to improve the customer experience and to implement smarter IT.
Audio visual products and services can play a key role in improving the customer experience in government by facilitating self-service through interactive displays and kiosks. Cities are also rolling out new, innovative uses of video to reduce costs and improve service.
Customers Want to be Self-Sufficient
There is a clear correlation between the public’s use of self-service tools and their satisfaction with government customer service. The closer the interaction gets to the customer service agent, the less satisfied the public is—thus online interactions rank much higher than face-to-face. Sure, there could be some training issues, but the lesson from this data is that government agencies can improve the experience of their customers by enabling more self-service options.
Interactive Displays and Kiosks Promote Self-Service
According to a Public CIO special report, only 21% of government agencies offer interactive kiosks for citizen services. However, when they are used, they speed interactions and help people find information faster. The Social Security Administration (SSA) is using video chat kiosks to allow customers to avoid long lines and connect with SSA employees in less busy locations. A well-planned digital signage and interactive kiosk strategy can also provide important information when agencies are closed.
Is Video Access the Next Big Thing?
While the court systems have long used video conferencing, most other government services lag far behind in adopting video capabilities for customer engagement and service. Accenture found that a majority of US citizens who are willing to interact digitally with the justice systems are willing to do so with video conferencing (66%).
Will that willingness to use video extend to other services? A city in the UK is betting it will. In Peterborough, UK, citizens are now encouraged to report crime using Skype. Don’t worry, the emergency phone line will still be available. That brings up an important point—it’s critical to keep traditional channels available as new ones are introduced.
What You Can Do
IT will be leading initiatives to improve customer experience through the use of technology. In the end, we’re betting smart IT with an assist from AV will win the hearts and minds of the public by providing user-friendly ways to interact with local, state, and federal services.
To learn more about how AV solutions can facilitate better customer experiences, take a look at our government solutions page.