Top 5 citizen communication challenges for government agencies

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Highlights

The following key citizen communication challenges are addressed in this article:

  • The digital innovation gap between government entities and the private sector
  • A lack of cross-platform access for citizen outreach
  • Poor response levels and inefficiencies
  • Lack of citizen engagement due to poor information sharing
  • Inequitable distribution of and access to information

 


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Communication issues have long created barriers internally for government agencies, while also negatively impacting citizen engagement efforts. RingCentral’s cloud platform is designed to overcome some of the common communication challenges faced across all sizes of government.

 

Citizen communication issues—and how RingCentral helps

The following is a look at several of the most common examples of citizen communication issues faced by agencies, along with specific insights on how RingCentral can help.

 

1. Digital innovation gap

Society has become much more digital-centric in its communication during the 21st century. The private sector has done fairly well at adapting to customer expectations for digital innovation and opportunities. However, the government and public sectors have not kept up due to bureaucratic processes, budgetary concerns, and other systemic factors.

The impact of antiquated communications systems was glaring during the onset of the pandemic when it became difficult (or even impossible) for people to interact with government agencies in person. While some agencies worked to adapt, there wasn’t enough time for most to put the necessary systems in place to keep up with digital communication demand.

 

How RingCentral helps close the digital innovation gap:

RingCentral is a best-in-class Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) designed to integrate your communication efforts across all channels. It provides the foundation necessary to support your team in handling digital communication demands. It is a critical starting point for upgrading your tech infrastructure to adapt permanently.

 

2. Cross-channel access

One reason government agencies have delayed the digital transformation is their concerns about resource limitations. Agencies already operate with staff shortages, so the idea of serving the public on all popular communications channels seemed impossible or impractical. 

This thinking is tied to the notion that you need dedicated agents or staff to manage conversations on each individual channel. Typical agencies don’t have the people or budgets to manage communications that way. The answer, therefore, has often been to do nothing and stick with status quo methods of interaction.

 

How RingCentral helps improve cross-channel access:

RingCentral’s CCaaS technology is designed to streamline communications across all popular channels. It enables seamless transitions from conversations on one channel to interactions on another. Therefore, individual agents can manage communication activities on all popular channels through one system. This integrated solution means your staff can do more with less.

 

3. Responsiveness and efficiency

Governments are often viewed as unresponsive and inefficient by the public. This point is evidenced in a customer experience survey conducted in several countries. The data is clear that the public regards its experience with governments as being far inferior to those with the top private sector organizations.

 

Chart titled "Most governments underperform in customer satisfaction" with data from France, Germany, Canada, Mexico, and the United Kingdom.

 

Lack of response, or delayed responses, tie into issues of accessibility to top communications channels and resource inefficiencies. Governments are usually slower to adopt due to systemic processes that lack innovative thinking.

One example is the difficulty many states faced in handling the large volumes of unemployment claims resulting from the COVID crisis. A U.S. Government Accountability Office report highlighted some of the communication challenges the states faced during the pandemic:

“These challenges included the overwhelming volume of claims submitted by historic numbers of unemployed workers, shortages of experienced staff, and IT issues. This caused backlogs and meant that some individuals seeking UI benefits (or claimants) went months without income. Many of the claimants we spoke with in seven of these ten states told us they faced customer service difficulties, such as long call wait times and benefit payment delays. Some reported that they had to draw on savings or borrow money to meet basic financial needs while they waited for benefits.”

 

How RingCentral helps with responsiveness and efficiency:

Eliminating inefficiencies and optimizing responsiveness are among the primary objectives and advantages of the RingCentral CCaaS and Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) platform. Citizens and staff can more easily navigate interactions across channels, skill-based routing allows people to get to the right agent immediately, record-keeping is organized and easy to use, and agent transfers during contacts are quick and painless.

 

4. Meeting and event promotion

Local government employees often get frustrated by a lack of citizen engagement, including participation in meetings and events. However, many issues with engagement stem from poor communication and information sharing.

 

How RingCentral helps with promotion efforts:

With the efficiency gains of RingCentral, your communications and promotion agents can concentrate information dissemination on the most in-demand channels. Agencies can distribute newsletters, announcements, and other information across multiple channels to optimize reach and reinforce messaging.

 

5. Equitable access

Similar to the previous issue with citizen engagement, the federal government (including the White House) has prioritized inclusive access across all levels of government operations. This means that government agencies need to do better at ensuring all people have fair access to information and resources. Governments have had difficulty in this area historically due to limitations in reliable internet access, technology gaps, and other obstacles. However, these issues are being addressed with relief and infrastructure bill funding.

 

How RingCentral helps with equitable access:

Using infrastructure funding to boost your digital communications system complements improved broadband access. These combined forces improve your citizen outreach efforts to engage with all constituents in an equitable way. Cross-platform communication and access make it easier for people to receive information and contact agents with questions or concerns.

 

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Let RingCentral help you overcome communication challenges

The communication challenges described here are likely all too familiar for your government office or agency. An advanced digital communications system is impressive in its ability to mitigate or eliminate most of the obstacles that have plagued governments for a long time.

RingCentral for Government has best-in-class benefits to assist your agents in optimizing internal collaboration and external communication. It offers efficiency, accuracy, and record-keeping improvements. It also features the most advanced security protocols, including multi-factor authentication, to protect the sensitive information you share.

See our government solutions and find out for yourself how RingCentral can help your government!

Originally published Jun 30, 2022

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