- Applying the word “customer” to government agencies
- Improving customer experience in government
- Role of employee experience on CX within government agencies
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For government agencies, getting the buy-in of citizens is paramount. Whether it’s achieving compliance for policies, driving awareness and use of public services, or maintaining the credibility and authority of public institutions, government agencies and programs at all levels require a high level of goodwill from the people they serve in order to fulfill their mandates.
But achieving this buy-in is becoming an increasingly difficult proposition.
In a new webinar that we recently held together with GovLoop, Rick Parrish of Forrester Research unpacked data on how providing a great customer experience can drive these desired behaviors—and where government agencies are falling short on the customer experiences they’re currently providing.
Applying the word “customer”
To start, let’s look at how the word “customer” applies to government agencies. While the term isn’t used universally within the public sector, it’s a relevant one: customer refers to the people an agency serves, and the customer experience is how they perceive their interactions with that organization.
Research by Forrester, presented by Rick in our webinar, found that the stronger the customer experience (CX), the more effectively it drives five key behaviors: compliance, engagement, advocacy, trust, and forgiveness. Simply put, the better the customer experience an organization—whether public or private—provides for its customers, the better that entity is able to drive its mission.
As it is, public agencies are lagging. According to the research Rick presented, government customer compliance was just 58%, and advocacy and trust averaged 48% and 46% respectively. In fact, all of the desired customer behaviors come in behind the private sector’s scores.
Even small improvements in the customer experience can have a big impact on outcomes. For example, in our webinar, Rick presented data from Forrester’s US Customer Experience Index for 2021 that showed that even a one percent boost to an organization’s CX score resulted in improvements to all five desired customer behaviors.
But there’s a problem. Of all the sectors evaluated as part of Forrester’s US Customer Experience Index, government agencies ranked last, Rick said. On a scale of 0 to 100, the federal government’s CX score averaged 62.6, more than 10 points behind the private sector average.
Improving customer experience in government. Here’s how
So how can government organizations boost their CX and drive better outcomes at the same time?
Forrester’s research is prescriptive, looking at how specific factors roll up to the government’s CX scores. For the agencies that ranked highest, customers were most likely to answer yes to all of these:
- “Employees at the office answer all my questions.”
- “Customer service representatives answer all my questions.”
- “Has high-quality information, products, services, or benefits.”
- “Resolves problems or issues quickly.”
In other words, the better an agency can deliver on each of these specific objectives, the stronger their CX score, and the more effective they are likely to be in serving the public. And boosting CX starts with being able to answer “yes” to each of these top drivers.
Customer experience drivers
What do these customer experience drivers have in common? For starters, they all require customer-facing employees to be highly informed and responsive across all service delivery channels. These indicators can also all be improved via use of technologies that improve the effectiveness of customer communications across touchpoints.
For example, consider what happens when a customer calls a telephone support channel with a question. If the agent has all the information required to answer that customer’s questions, and doesn’t have to transfer them to someone else, the customer perceives that their issue was resolved faster—even if it takes that one agent longer to get answers than if they transferred the call to someone else. In this instance, one simple thing—empowering support agents with information at their fingertips—leads to a better customer experience.
Role of employee experience on CX within government agencies
But customer experience isn’t built in a vacuum. There’s also a direct line between empowering government employees in their dealings with citizens and their motivation and ability to deliver great customer experiences. For this reason, agencies also can’t afford to overlook the quality of the employee experience either. (The good news: the same technologies that can improve customer experiences can make the employee experience better too.)
Is your agency providing quality experiences?
To learn more about the importance of both the customer and employee experience in government—and to find out what agencies can do to improve both so they can better deliver on their missions—don’t miss our new on-demand webinar.
Originally published Dec 07, 2021, updated Dec 30, 2022