Amazon is an undisputed leader in setting the standard—and constantly raising the bar—for customer experience (CX). As a result, every public agency and private company serving customers, clients, or constituents must rise to Amazon-level CX standards, or fall behind. That’s because when CX doesn’t meet consumer expectations, people notice.
In its State of the Connected Customer report, Salesforce.com put it this way: “Alexa, where’s my stuff? That’s how easy it is to check the order status of an Amazon purchase—and it’s setting the standard for customer engagement with every company. In fact, a staggering 73 percent of customers say that an extraordinary experience with one company raises their expectations of others.”
It’s critical that companies meet the standard. Knowing your audience and understanding their needs has become necessary for success—no matter what industry you’re in, public or private.
Expectations Apply to Government Too
The world’s most recognized consumer brands are leading the way in exceptional customer experience. However, a 2019 guidance from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) elevated improving CX practices from nice-to-have to necessity. The OMB included CX guidance for the first time in 2018. The latest update offers more specifics for what it expects government agencies to do in the area of CX. As a result, agencies now have a mandate to raise the bar for customer experience.
Even with the OMB’s guidance, significant improvement in CX within the government will not happen overnight. Some agencies, though, have already taken steps forward with overall digital transformations that have had direct and positive effects on CX.
In fact, government agencies and businesses alike are seizing the opportunity to better serve their users while simultaneously saving money. According to Gartner, in 2022, self-service will account for 64 percent of customer engagement, compared to 48 percent in 2017. Gartner analyst Brian Manusama notes that from an automation perspective, low-complexity tasks (such as scheduling an appointment at the DMV) are often the best place to start to improve customer experience and save money, comparing them to an express lane.
Through better service delivery channels that make it easy to conduct business and get necessary information, government agencies underscore their value and increase public trust, while public companies and brands generate greater customer loyalty. When government agencies improve CX, it can also serve to validate funding or increase budget allocations.
Realizing Organizational Benefits While Raising the Bar for CX
Self-service portals improve CX by allowing users to access information, conduct transactions, or make payments on their terms and schedules—from their personal devices. That’s good news for users, but it’s also benefiting the agencies and businesses implementing them.
Here’s how organizations are seeing returns in self-service portals:
- Gain efficiencies and do more with less
- Ensure compliance and transparency
- Deliver modern, convenient services that build loyalty and engender trust
- Mitigate security risk
- Accelerate project timelines for faster time-to-serve
Self-service portals offer information, tools, and resources when users need them, reducing wait times and service delivery delays. When people find answers on their own, or conduct transactions digitally—like completing applications, signing documents, scheduling appointments, or making payments—the costs associated with customer support decrease significantly.
By lowering transaction-related costs, organizations can use the savings to invest in and enrich products, services, and programs. Compared to manual legacy systems, self-service portals are easier to maintain, upgrade, and integrate with data, business systems, and processes.
Gartner research finds self-service digital assistants reduce call, chat, and email volume by up to 70 percent, while delivering higher customer satisfaction. Based on studies of more than 8,000 customer journeys, Gartner also finds that 70 percent of customers are using self-service channels at some point in their resolution journey.
Unfortunately, though, according to the research, only 9 percent can fully resolve their issues via self-service channels. The message then, is that for self-service to reduce cost, save time for staff, and improve CX for users, organizations implementing self-service as part of a complete digital transformation must get it right. The Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services is one government agency that did.
Improving CX Through a SaaS-based Self-Self Service Licensing Portal
Using technology and services from Image API, the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) updated its manual paper-based process for licensing nursing facility administrators with an online self-service solution that empowered applicants and improved the overall experience for users and staff. The self-service licensing was part of the agency’s overall digital transformation. Here’s how it worked:
Prior to implementing the self-service portal, DADS’ paper-based licensing process was slow and inefficient. The manual system was disruptive and time-consuming for staff, and service delivery suffered as a result because it was inconvenient and complicated for applicants. Additionally, it resulted in compliance and security risks.
Image API implemented a SaaS solution with a self-service portal that empowered nursing facility administrators to submit, renew, and track license applications entirely online. The online solution now includes payment processing for application fees, reporting, automated notifications, and print fulfillment for licenses.
Because Image API is an Advanced Technology Partner in the AWS Partner Network (APN), the agency’s self-service portal is securely hosted on AWS cloud technology, ensuring data and documentation security and compliance throughout the licensing process.
The portal delivers a vastly improved experience for applicants by simplifying the application and results in more timely processing of both new and renewal applications. Because AWS eliminates security and compliance risk, it also reduces associated operational costs.
The self-service system freed up staff time previously spent receiving and processing the paper applications and renewal requests and shortened overall license processing time. By putting control in the hands of applicants, DADS now delivers on its mission while fostering public trust and engagement.
More Real-World Examples and How Your Organization Can Improve CX and Efficiency
In today’s digital-first world, consumers increasingly expect to access the information and services they need through websites and online self-service portals. Creating these self-service channels doesn’t have to be complicated, resource-intensive, or cost-prohibitive. Working with an experienced expert is the smart choice.
Backed by a dedicated and experienced team, Image API uses innovative technology and proven approaches to help organizations digitize paper content and simplify complex, manual processes. The result is improved CX, operational efficiency, and security. To see how, read our real-world case studies here.
Ready to talk about your specific challenges and needs? Contact us today to talk about how we can help you.