Innovative government agencies are taking advantage of the latest technology to achieve better responsiveness and help people find answers more quickly 24 hours a day. The following are four scenarios for government customer service, along with current tools and techniques.
1. Citizen Services
Many government agencies deliver services to citizens, such as social services, building inspections, public safety and many more. These agencies make themselves available through many channels, such as office hours and call centers.
A growing technique is to enhance the agency website to include a detailed knowledge base which helps customers find answers on their own without making or phone call or waiting until office hours. The knowledge base can take the form of frequently ask questions (FAQ) or troubleshooting wizards.
The Social Security Administration, for instance, has the following FAQ site:
The site has menu options of top help topics, a search option, and a listing of the most popular knowledge base articles. Each article captures feedback from users so that they can be continuously improved.
Investing time to build a knowledge base is an important tactic in preparing for turnover in government personnel. Writing down the knowledge and making it more widely available can improve productivity.
2. Live Chat and Social Integration
Another scenario for government customer service is live chat. Consumers are increasingly relying on live chat to interact with companies. It offers advantages over phone calls because it captures a written record of the transaction, and allows easy sharing of links, videos, photos and screens to zero in on an answer. Live chat is asynchronous so customer service reps can handle more than one chat at a time, unlike a phone call.
The General Services Administration operates the USA.gov website which offers live chat. It is a portal to access all government agencies.
Social integration offers a new channel into customer service so that customers can initiate a conversation on Twitter, Facebook, or other social media which will be answered by the government agency.
Parature, from Microsoft offers multiple channels including social as well as knowledge base and a full featured service desk for managing cases.
3. Video Training
Video training allows agencies to take their knowledge base to the next level, and provide deeper interactive content for complex subjects.
The National Institutes of Health, for instance, offers a wide range of online tools for researchers.
The Small Business Administration has a learning center with dozens of instructional videos to help business get started on the right foot.
4. Agency Help Desk
In addition to customer service to the public, government agencies have high demands for internal support within their agency. Large federal agencies must support tens of thousands of employees with sophisticated services such as on-boarding, computer support, security procedures, leave tracking, and benefits.
Most agencies have multiple help desks, often using different software systems to track trouble tickets. It can be difficult for employees to know the best place to start for their problem or question.
Creating a single portal to get help within an agency produces the same benefits that it would for customers of that agency or a company.
New software products provide integration between help desks, allowing issues to be routed to the right people to solve problems quickly. Cazoomi, for instance, offers bi-directional integration between dozens of products including Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Parature, Jira, MailChimp, Salesforce, Netsuite and more.
Agency help desks benefit from the same tools and communication channels as outward-facing help desks, such as knowledge base, live chat, and videos. Increased transparency in government has revealed agencies that need to improve their customer service for internal and external customers, and we can expect progress in adopting tools to achieve better results.