Can Public Sector Emulate Private Sector CX?

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Can Public Sector Emulate Private Sector CX?

Citizens are looking for new and improved digital services from their governments, and state Chief Administrators are uniquely positioned to help meet these evolving customer service expectations, according to a new report from the National Association of State Chief Administrators (NASCA) and Accenture.

The new report focuses on citizens’ expectations and experience with U.S. state governments in terms of service access and responsiveness. Based on a nationwide citizen survey and informed by interviews with state government Chief Administrative Officers, the findings highlight the importance of improving citizens’ customer experience in response to service priorities and trends in digital services and capabilities.

The survey found a large majority of citizens (81%) interact with government less than once a month. Around half of respondents (51%) rated their digital interactions with government positively. The most common digital channels for connecting with government were Websites (cited by 74%), while 29% said they used mobile apps and 11% used digital assistants. Nearly one-third of respondents (31%) said they prefer to interact with government in-person or via telephone rather than through digital channels.

“As digital capabilities continue to expand, and service expectations of government customers continue to evolve, state government leaders need to develop agile strategies to advance their organizations,” said Commissioner Christi Branscom, executive committee president of NASCA. “This report offers a structure for reimagining service provision during this time of rapid change and rising opportunities to create more effective government, including the need to build more effective digital channels and to ensure top-notch in-person and other service options as well.”

For example, the report advises state Chief Administrators should invest in continually monitoring citizens’ evolving mindsets and needs. They should also coordinate resources for seamless service options across digital and in-person channels. The report also highlights a potentially valuable advocacy role for chief administrators within government, on behalf of an enterprise-wide approach to customer services, building on firsthand operational experiences gained during the pandemic.

Citizens were asked to consider what aspects of their experiences with businesses they would like the public sector to better emulate. Faster and more helpful customer service was cited by 70%, while 58% said the need for simple, intuitive processes and 52% cited the need for simplicity in apps and other online services. Asked about points of friction when accessing government services via digital channels over the past year, 74% cited slow or unclear processes, 59% referenced unavailable or ineffective customer support and 34% said the digital tools did not work well.

“There is huge opportunity for government to rethink how services are delivered and to accelerate the breakdown of silos that impede better experiences for citizens and organizations relying on state government,” said Ryan Oakes, who leads Accenture’s global public sector practice. “Customer service channels and expectations are evolving rapidly, and government leaders should be gearing up to embrace new opportunities for how they operate and serve stakeholders.”