Imagine accessing government services as easily as ordering a product online. While this may sound too good to be true, a world where citizens can apply for permits, report concerns, and make payments with just a few clicks is a reality within our grasp.
Yet many governments still rely on antiquated, paper-based systems or outdated computer systems, which can unfortunately result in subpar service and increased frustration among citizens. In an era where the customer experience (CX) is paramount and digital service is expected, local governments must begin to improve the citizen experience by turning to the transformative potential of technology.
In this article, we explore the current state of local government services, some of the obstacles to improving government CX, and how to leverage technology to improve customer experience in government.
Understanding Customer Experience (CX) in Government
Providing a great customer experience involves a bit more than a pleasant customer service agent answering the phone (although that’s a part of it!). Understanding customer experience in government requires us to zoom out and look at all the interactions between government services and the citizens they serve.
This means examining how easy it is for citizens to access services, the quality of those services, and the satisfaction levels of citizens after engaging with those services. When the customer experience is poor, public trust can erode, which can lead to a host of other challenges.
That’s why it’s imperative government agencies prioritize CX, just like in the private sector. Doing so can help agencies regain public trust while improving their overall service delivery.
Key Services Offered by Local Governments
Local government services are the backbone of our cities, towns, and communities. From waste management and public safety to parks / public spaces and housing, these services directly impact citizens’ quality of life. Not only that, but the quality of these services can also drive economic growth and development, which can lead to increased revenue generation for a locality.
Other services, like issuing permits and licenses, help ensure public health and safety and can also maintain order within a community. Building permits, business licenses, and pet licenses are commonly issued necessities that require efficient handling to ensure smooth operations for both the government and its citizens.
Challenges in Delivering Positive Government CX
With so many services to provide, departments to manage, and processes to optimize, delivering a positive experience to government customers can quickly become challenging. Not to mention the rising expectations of customers for fast, personalized, and technology-driven service similar to what’s offered in the private sector.
The growing demand for digital customer service is challenging for many agencies to meet. Often, the path to digital transformation is not straightforward due to budget restrictions, latent procurement policies, competing priorities, high personnel turnover, and lack of skilled talent. These factors can slow down the adoption of new technologies that are proven to deliver a positive government CX.
Role of Technology in Improving Local Government CX
Despite these challenges, government agencies can still improve the customer experience with the help from simple, effective, and user-friendly technology. Here’s how technology, like GovPilot, can revolutionize the government customer experience:
1. Modernize Government Website Design
A modern, intuitive government website design plays a crucial role in improving the customer experience, while meeting their expectations for digital service. An easy-to-navigate site empowers customers to quickly accomplish what they came for, without the hassle of navigating a bloated, disorganized, and outdated site.
An updated website design also improves accessibility and encourages citizen engagement. When citizens begin to consistently rely on current information posted to a government site, trust in government will also rise.
Learn how to make your government website ADA compliant.
2. Digitize Permit and License Applications
To the digital-saavy customer, being able to quickly apply for permits and licenses online is expected. Gone are the days of downloadable mail-in PDF applications – a process that’s sure to raise frustration among customers.
When digitized, permits and applications are available to customers from the comfort of their own home (and not standing in line at the Clerk’s office). The steps involved to fill out and process digital applications are drastically improved, which saves the time and sanity of everyone involved.
Learn exactly how permitting software works to improve workflows.
3. Empower Citizen Engagement
Giving residents an easy way to voice their complaints and concerns and receive a direct response from the government is the hallmark of good government CX. Easy-to-implement solutions, like GovPilot’s Report a Concern module, ensure citizens’ voices are heard.
Enabling this level of citizen engagement is important on many levels. Not only does two-way engagement boost transparency, it also holds government agencies accountable to take action on issues that are important to the community.
Explore the most common concerns reported by citizens and effective strategies to engage your senior citizen population. You may also want to explore this guide on making your community more equitable.
4. Automate Government Workflows
Automating the day-to-day government work reduces the amount of manual, time-consuming tasks required of employees. This not only increases efficiency and speeds up service delivery, but automation can also ensure more accurate and consistent outcomes.
Additionally, digitizing workflows frees up valuable time for government employees to work on higher-level tasks that will have a real impact on the community. The consistency provided by automation can also promote more predictability when budgeting. All of these back-end benefits have a direct impact on the quality and efficiency of service delivery.
5. Analyze and Track Data
Harnessing technology to store, track and analyze data is a powerful way to improve government CX. Data collected from GovPilot’s government cloud solution provide valuable insights into which services are most important to citizens.
This enables agencies to strategically prioritize resources and formulate more accurate budgets. With more data available to government agencies, leaders can make better, more informed decisions, which can improve transparency and bolster trust among citizens.
Benefits of Prioritizing a Better Citizen Experience
Taking the time to carefully examine your citizen experience can bring both immediate and future benefits to your organization. Here are just a few:
Enhance Safety of Sensitive Data
Digital storage of financial, health, permit and license data not only improves efficiency, but also ensures the safety of sensitive data. Secure data storage solutions use technology, such as encryption and two-factor authentication, to prevent unauthorized access, which drastically reduces the risk of fraud, data leaks, and lost paperwork.
Rebuild Trust in Government
A positive customer experience can help improve trust in government. This is especially important in an era where public trust in government is in decline. By demonstrating your agency is committed to improving its services and making them more user-friendly, citizens may sense their needs are being taken seriously and may begin to trust the government more as a result.
Re-election of Elected Officials
Providing a better customer experience can also aid in the reelection of elected officials. Politicians who prioritize the citizen experience can demonstrate their commitment to their constituents, which can earn them goodwill and support. With increasingly more complex challenges for elected officials to overcome, improving the customer experience is a good place to start.
More Time to Focus on Bigger Objectives
Automation can free up government employees from repetitive, time-consuming, and mundane tasks. Doing so allows them to spend more time on significant issues and implementing more strategic solutions to complex problems. By relieving employees of tedious tasks, you may also experience a rise in job satisfaction and a more motivated and engaged workforce. Learn more about how government technology can improve municipal employee retention.
Simplify the Budget Process
By using technology to gather and analyze data on citizen preferences, government agencies can make better, more informed decisions about strategic resource planning and budgeting. With data insights, agencies can identify which services are most valued by citizens and which programs are more effective, and allocate resources accordingly. This data-driven approach can lead to more effective and efficient government services and a better overall customer experience.
Consider these revenue sources for government and tips for making the most of a local government budget.
Take Action to Improve CX in Government
Now is the time to take action to improve the customer experience in government for decades to come. By ensuring your town’s services go above and beyond, you’ll quickly reap the benefits of improved service delivery and increased customer satisfaction.
Book a demo to get started with GovPilot to power your future service delivery.
Municipal CX FAQs
- What is government citizen experience?
The government citizen experience (CX) refers to the interaction between the government (federal, state, or local) and its citizens. CX involves how citizens access and use government services, the efficiency and effectiveness of these services, and the overall satisfaction of citizens with their interactions. The overall citizen experience can be influenced by factors such as the ease of accessing information, the speed of service delivery, and the quality of customer care provided by the government.
- How can governments make their workflows better for the public?
Governments can make their workflows better for the public by leveraging technology to streamline processes. This includes digitizing paperwork and manual processes, using automation to speed up service delivery, and implementing data analytics to track performance and identify areas for improvement. Additionally, by providing online platforms and applications for service access, governments can make their services more accessible and convenient for citizens.
- How does online permitting help citizens?
Online permitting helps citizens by making the process of applying for and receiving permits more efficient and convenient. Instead of having to physically go to a government office, complete paperwork, and wait for approval, citizens can complete the entire process online at their convenience. This saves time and offers a more user-friendly experience. Moreover, online permitting also allows for faster processing times, as digital applications can be reviewed and approved more quickly than paper ones.
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