Why Do You Need a Government Chief Customer Experience Officer?

In the past few years, we’ve seen the emergence of Government Chief Customer Experience Officers, a new kind of executive in the Mayor, City Manager, or Secretary’s cabinet. While this role is growing more and more popular, there are still lingering questions about where it is necessary for a government agency.  As a former Chief Customer Experience Officer for the City of Philadelphia and Senior Contact Center Advisor for the Veteran Administration, it shouldn’t be a surprise that I agree with the role’s necessity.

While it can be argued that government agencies are relatively concerned with customers to want and needs, efforts can become fragmented across an agency through its departments or leaders over time. The financial department, for instance, could be modeled to provide an excellent customer experience but limited resources, staffing changes or other department-specific events could shift priorities. Now take this example and multiply it across each and every department or leader within an agency, each with an equal chance to lose sight of the customer due to unique circumstances. This is why a Chief Customer Experience Officer is essential, to drive customer-centric initiatives and to coordinate efforts across departments so that these initiatives stay intact.

Marchai Bruchey, the Chief Customer Officer of Thunderhead describes the need for coordinated efforts for successful customer experience strategy:

“It is really important to look at the customer from across the organization, because as a customer if I am calling my bank and have a conversation with a call center agent after having just finished a web transaction, I would like that agent to know about this activity. If they know about all the conversations I have had then they will have a different dialogue with me than just having insight into one channel. Customer service doesn’t own the customer. The customer owns the company. And that means we touch them across it.”

In the public sector, like a major city government, such coordination is vital to maintaining a high level of customer experience. We have tried to facilitate this coordination through the Administration’s Department Customer Experience Officers  Program, naming specific DCXO’s for each department. While this effort helps to keep customer experience as a priority across the administration, the Chief Customer Experience Officer guides the actual effort, making sure that it too stays completely customer-centric and does not waiver.

The most important takeaway is that there absolutely cannot be silos for customer experience and service throughout an agency. Customer experience needs to be “silo-less.” A Chief Customer Experience Officer can help, initiate and coordinate to create the absolute best experience for customers, across an agency, whatever their experience might be.

What have your experiences been with having (or not having) a designated executive for customer experience?

Is Your Government Contact Center ISO Certified? Why Not!

CX is critical for customer and employee engagement so knowing the current state of CX is important. Many organizations don’t do this, don’t know how or cannot afford to do so for time and cost reasons.  How can this be resolved?  Get your government contact center a prestigious designation with the ISO 18295 certification.

What is ISO?  International Standards for Organizations (ISO) International Organization for Standardization develop and publish International Standards. International Standards make things work. They give world-class specifications for products, services, and systems, to ensure quality, safety, and efficiency.

Why an ISO 18295 certified is important for government contact centers? 

  • Measure productivity in service delivery across all of the government.
  • Apply consistency of benchmarking data, performance metrics, digital engagement, staff training, and technology to access customer experience results with other government customer contact centers.
  • Create value for the customer, the community, the employee, and customer contact centers.
  • Deploy strategic tools that reduce costs by minimizing waste and errors and increasing productivity.
  • Improving the efficiency of the service and the client or customer contact center relationship.
  • Demonstrates that you have an effective quality management system in place and firm control over your processes and procedures.

Zainuddin Hussein, Chair of ISO/PC 273, the project committee in charge of ISO 18295 (Requirements for Customer Contact Centers), said it considered and addressed many customer concerns when developing the standards, such as waiting times, means of contacting the company and customer experience expectations.

“The committee established that there are already some regulations and national standards present in some countries,” he said, “and our research showed that where they were implemented, customer satisfaction improved.

“The new standards bring together international best practices that can improve the service offering and customer experience even more, while also providing a framework on which future national standards can be based.”

ISO 18925 International Organization for Standardization specifies requirements and gives guidance for in-house contact centers and outsourced contact centers. It is intended to be used for any customer interaction with a Customer Contact Center (CCC).

This standard can be applied by organizations both in-house (captive) and outsourced (third party operator) Customer Contact Centers of all sizes, across all sectors and all interaction channels, including inbound and outbound. It specifies performance metrics (KPIs) as and where required.

Key global principles in standard development for contact centers:

1. ISO standards respond to a need in the market
ISO does not decide when to develop a new standard but responds to a request from industry or other stakeholders such as consumer groups. Typically, an industry sector or group communicates the need for a standard to its national member who then contacts ISO.

2. ISO standards are based on global expert opinion
ISO standards are developed by groups of experts from all over the world, that are part of larger groups called technical committees.

3. ISO standards are developed through a multi-stakeholder process
The technical committees are made up of experts from the relevant industry, but also from consumer associations, academia, NGOs and government.

4. ISO standards are based on a consensus
Developing ISO standards is a consensus-based approach and comments from all stakeholders are taken into account.

How do you get started to become certified and accredited to meet the ISO 18295 contact center requirements?

Many companies hire a consultant to get outside help to manage the certification process. With the right preparation and a good understanding of what is required for ISO 18295:2017 certification, most organizations can expect to achieve certification within 3 to 6 months depending on their size and complexity.

IMPORTANCE OF AN OPERATIONAL AUDIT IN A GOVERNMENT CONTACT CENTER

government customer experience clsss

Why are government contact center operational audits important?  According to the Institute of Internal Auditor, an operational audit is a systematic process of assessing an organization’s effectiveness, efficiency, and economy of operations under the influence of the management and giving details of the evaluation and recommendations to suitable persons. An operational audit has a number of objectives that define the importance attributed to conducting it on a government contact center. Some of these benefits include:

  1. Influence a positive change: Conducting operations audit for government contact centers assists its management to understand how future processes and policies will bring about maximum efficiency. An operations audit assists in developing clearly defined aims and strategies that will make the contact center a high performing one. An operations audit entails verifying written policies and procedures for operations.

For instance, the procedure by which employees are placed on shift sessions is evaluated. Assessing each process to determine if any of them should be combined or scrapped is also important. When these instances have been sufficiently sorted out by the operations audit, the path to positive change isn’t a lengthy and difficult journey any longer.

The employee turnover is another measure to demonstrate a positive change in a contact center. Fortunately, an operations audit evaluates this factor. When an employee has a high turnover, it may be that the manager has inadequate supervisory skills. Organizing seminars and workshops for these supervisors may help in improving the employee’s turnover.

  1. Review Internal Controls: In the accounting department, internal control is a term used to describe the processes that ensure organizational aims have a positive impact on operational efficiency, reliability of financial reporting and is in compliance with rules and policies. Internal controls provide an avenue by which organizational resources are allocated, monitored, and assessed. Internal controls help in protecting organizational resources and identifying fraudulent schemes.

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) of 1977 and the Sarbanes–Oxley Act of 2002 posted that there is a need to improve internal controls in public corporations including government contact centers. Truly, many a time the internal controls need improvement. However, these internal controls are key elements of the operational audit. Hence, getting to assess those internal controls helps the organization improve its performance.

  1. Understand Risks: There are several risks that are susceptible to occurring during operational hours. These risks may include errors committed by personnel, IT system failure, network interruption, safety and health matters, fraud, and litigation amongst others. There may not be a definite stop to these risks, but operational audit gives us an insight into how these could happen. When a government contact center employs agents, they are given access to sensitive information about the citizens.

Contact centers often have a high turnover and average attrition which is put at about 30% in the United States. Additionally, the employees at government call centers are mostly entry-level workers. An operational audit helps the management to understand how all these threats to the security of citizen’s information may be mitigated and avoided.

Discover areas that need improvement Opportunities: A consequence of understanding risk is the recognition of faulty areas where improvement is needed. There are various forms of risk – financial risk, operational risk, environmental risk, and reputational risk. Operational audits allow the auditors to determine these risks and thus, discover opportunities to do forestall them. Conducting a regular operations audit on government contact centers allows auditors to determine how these centers can improve their services and prevent risks such as network interruption, fraud, and theft of information from happening. Every operational audit brings with it an opportunity to make positive changes and improvements, no matter how small. Thus, the role of operational audits in a high performing government contact center cannot be overlooked.

Wanted – Women CIOs in Federal Government

About 18% of chief information officers or chief technology officers at big U.S. firms are women, according to a Korn Ferry analysis conducted in early 2019 covering the country’s top 1,000 public and private companies by revenue. That’s up from 16% in 2017.

An informal survey indicates the number of females leading IT operations in the federal government is even less than the national average.  However, in the government, a lot of women have a great reputation in the technology field which includes, but not limited to, Federal Chief Information Officer Suzette Kent, Dana Deasy, CIO, Department of Defense, and Renee Wynn, CIO, NASA.

Federal CIO Advice

Worldwide spending on information technology is expected to reach near-$4 trillion this year, according to Gartner, with the fastest growth rates in enterprise software, IT services, and data-center spending, as the cloud still booms and greater cyberthreats loom. Larger technology budgets and resources are being made to improve the customer experience for customers and employers. Therefore, it is very important for women to be at the table to help bring their diverse expertise and experience to drive those discussions and have the authority on where to prioritize those investments.

Women in the public sector have played pivotal roles in moving toward a more open, innovative, and responsive government.  Women can move up their career ladder and get hired on the government IT jobs. It is not an easy task but is not impossible indeed.

Women climbing the ladder would have to make their own place in the government sector by following this advice:

Be Passionate
Try to be passionate. It is crucial to make your work your passion so that you can enjoy it. Taking pleasure in your work is quite a motivator. If you will have a passion for your work, then you will be able to pay full attention to it and will achieve success shortly. There are about 8 million women who have started doing work, which they love in different Government sectors and received success in those positions. You should come up with new ideas, increase your responsibilities and try to get more projects. These things will lead you to success and make you more visible.
Make Yourself Valuable
It is time to make yourself useful so that you can get hired in the government. Perfection is important for all. Simply, finish your work on time, try to solve problems and figure out the solutions quickly and provide better services than others. These are the primary qualities that can make you valuable.
Be a Risk Taker
Many women are afraid of taking risks. They are afraid of failure. NO! Never do that! Risks can find you new ways to success. It is better to be brave and bold to perform different tasks. Do not be rigid as it can be a hurdle between you and your success. Take different risks and always believe that you can do it. If you would believe, then you can do! Think new ideas, do research and then implement your ideas. These things are important for getting hired in the Government IT sectors.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is changing the way we receive information, how we process it, how we work and what jobs we will do. Because of this, we simply cannot afford to have any less than our whole population engaged and contributing.  Women can and will be critical to leveraging this revolution to benefit our global society.

About Me: I am a pioneer in the field of Government Customer Experience Management and have devoted an entire career to bettering the lives of everyone around me through my work. I am right at home as the CEO of GovCX Professionals where I am able to spend all my time focusing on establishing government and their partners with a building a welcoming, innovative, and engaging government customer service experience.

 

Using Human Centered Design for Government Digital Transformation

Let’s be clear about my position – government will better serve all stakeholders by establishing a focus to oversee the design and implementation of a human-centered design-centric digital strategy.

The Business Case for Using HCD:

  • Streamlines, integrates, and scales websites and call centers consistently over time,
  • Takes a holistic, iterative approach to prioritizing improvements across channels,
  • Maintains a mobile-experience first philosophy (people seeking information often use mobile devices first because they want information immediately, or rely on mobile exclusively because it is what they can afford),

Digital Customer Experience Values and Benefits:

  • Uses clear, concise, and consistent language and messaging across all channels,
  • Identifies and responds to key touchpoints in a stakeholder’s journey,
  • Establishes a feeling of trust by providing consistent experiences across channels to different stakeholders, and
  • Firmly focuses on the future by laying the groundwork to integrate social media and emerging technologies in later phases of the project.

I am a staunch believer and GovCX Practitioner who understands leading a human-centered design change initiative requires vision and broad oversight to bring stakeholders, products, technical processes, and communication into alignment.

Jane – Typical Government Customer:

For example, picture Jane, a retiree who needs help. She goes to one website on her phone to get information fast, but it doesn’t help. Later she visits another site on her laptop and can see it better, but finds additional information, organized in a new way, and described with a different language.

Jane doesn’t know what to do or trust, so she tries a call center looking for a person to talk to instead. The wait times are long because so many others are having the same problems. When she finally gets through, the call center staff wants to help but they talk about services and options in yet another way.

Jane is distressed by her experience across siloed channels. She encounters disconnected technologies, has to translate between different language use, and finds that information is inconsistently organized or even offered to leave her frustrated and miserable. The call center staff who takes her call can hear that misery as it overflows into their conversation making the staffer’s job harder, the call longer, and both the financial and emotional costs higher for both.

Each time Jane’s journey plays out for another taxpayer or call center staffer, taxpayers lose confidence in the government agency and increase the costs of call center operations.

A single focus and oversight for government Contact Centers and the internet presence is a logical first step towards an improved Customer experience. Needed research must be conducted across channels and changes prioritized coherently across all platforms to maximize results. If the system is not treated as a whole, customer experience will continue to be fragmented and frustrating no matter how many isolated improvements are made over time.

A seamless experience requires a consistent approach to technological solutions, human needs, and organizational responses. The goal is to inspire taxpayer confidence and government efficiency by making it easy to start with a website, reach out to a call center if needed, and then complete tasks on the web when they are ready. In the future, integrating social media will increase responsiveness and better serve millennials and future generations.

A robust online database of Frequently Asked Questions can enhance customer experience based on insights from web analytics and call center topics. Web analytics and the call center knowledge management technology can be used to identify frequently accessed data, searches that come up empty, and how often users access particular information. In-depth interviews with call center personnel can shape resource allocation and better prepare them to address complex situations since the basics are covered in a searchable database.

Starting with aggregated website and call center data creates a solid foundation for human-centered research to address persistent pain points across channels then effectively design and deliver satisfying stakeholder experiences.

What if Jane went to a central website and found the basic information she needed quickly and easily? If she still wasn’t sure what to do in her situation, she could reach out to a call center. When she did, her wait time would be shorter since more people were finding what they needed on a streamlined easily searchable site that highlights frequently asked questions. Jane wouldn’t be so upset when she connected with a staff member, her questions could be answered more quickly, costs would go down, and Jane would regain confidence in the government agency. Later when it worked for her schedule, she could fill out any required forms on the website and get immediate confirmation that they were submitted. Now when Jane talks about the government agency she shares her experience. I get help when I need it, I get things done on my schedule, and I trust that the government agency has my back.

Conclusion

Integrating processes, products, services, and content in an organization like a government agency takes time, vision, and leadership. Consolidating oversight with the right vision offers the best possible chance to successfully transition the taxpayers to a coherent seamless experience.

About me: I am a pioneer in the field of Government Customer Experience Management and have devoted an entire career to bettering the lives of everyone around me through my work. I am right at home as the CEO of GovCX Professionals where I am able to spend all my time focusing on establishing government and their partners with a building a welcoming, innovative, and engaging government customer service experience.

311 Data Fuels Government Response & Transparency

From managing requests to running rich reports and engaging citizens regularly and during disasters, 311 data systems are evolving government operations.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: efficientgov.com

Customers are holding public sector agencies to service standards typically found in private industry. As a result, local governments are turning to innovative technology to keep up with rising service expectations.

311 systems offer local governments speed and insights that boost overall performance. They:

  • Enable citizens to submit requests from anywhere at any time
  • Provide location accuracy related to requests with GIS functionality
  • Mobilize information sharing across government departments
  • Account for service costs more accurately and timely

Using Human-Centered Design (HCD) Approach to Improve Your Government Contact Center’s Experience

Every interaction the taxpayer has with the government is a touch point that shapes their impression on the quality of service received based on a positive or negative experience. The contact centers for government are an integrated platform that provides taxpayers and their family members with accurate information about services and information that can provide taxpayers with their desired requests. Rather than government leaders improving solutions that seem accurate to taxpayers, there has been a commitment to creating ideas that better meet taxpayer’s needs by developing processes and tools tailored to their specific needs. To understand the needs of taxpayers, contact center leaders are standardizing the approach by using the human-centered design (HDC) technique. To best serve the taxpayers and create that emotional connection immediately, government leaders must understand the needs of the taxpayers by hearing about the good and bad experiences occurring with every single touch point occurring.

Human-centered design thinkers use a tool called a design artifact (physical model) to aid in communicating, exploring, and defining solutions. Government leaders have created a unique design artifact, the customer journey map, to allow leadership and employees to gain a deeper perspective of what the taxpayer is experiencing and feeling at each stage of their life journey. The results of honing in on the needs of the taxpayers will provide seamless, emotionally connected interactions to events that have been identified (by using HCD), as “moments that matter.” The “moments that matter” are moments that can have a significant impact on the taxpayer’s experience that directly connects to government’s contact centers. Creating that immediate emotional connection with the caller is essential in ensuring the experience is a not only positive but meets the needs of the taxpayer.

Government contact centers have historically struggled with gaining positive taxpayer’s satisfaction due to long wait times, inability to get connected, and inaccurate information all contributing to the lack of trust in government’s ability to care for them. To build confidence, make a connection, and provide accurate information, government leaders must understand thoroughly what makes a taxpayers tick and ensure the communication is clear in the minds of the taxpayers and the service rendered yields a positive experience. When looking through the lens of the human-centered design approach, government leaders can gain insight through direct observation or surveys of what the taxpayer likes or dislikes, what was confusing or what was clear, and figure out how to develop an internal process that can meet their needs. Improving the process, also known as lean management, is a critical output to the problems defined when taking the perspective of taxpayers into consideration.

Customer Service Versus Customer Experience: What’s The Difference…And Why It Matters

Reblog article: September 24, 2015 by Bruce Jones, Programming Director, Disney Institute

In case you’ve missed it, the term “customer experience” is everywhere in business these days. In fact, some experts have declared that focusing on the customer experience has become the single most important factor for an organization to achieve business success—creating a significant point of differentiation and competitive advantage.

But, what exactly is customer experience? How does it differ from customer service? And, how focused or concerned should your business or organization be about it? These are all great questions we hear from participants in our professional development training courses, so we thought this was a great opportunity to dive a little deeper.

First, let’s start by defining customer experience. According to Harvard Business Review, it can be defined as “the sum of all interactions a customer has with a company.” This can include everything from a customers initial awareness or discovery of a company, product or service, through the purchase and use of that’s company’s products or services. Together, these all add up to the critical moments—what we call touchpoints—that create an organization’s overall customer experience.

Then, to better understand what customer experience is (and isn’t)…consider this story about a car dealership we worked with several years ago. Although sales were solid, management was concerned that their customers and employees were not happy. So, we worked with their team to help them intentionally create, design, and implement an experience that would exceed customer expectations at every key touchpoint. By helping them think differently about aligning the entire organization – the employees, the processes, and the physical plant itself – around the customer experience, the results were dramatic, increasing sales by 26 percent over the past few years.

The key learning, we have found, is that “customer service” is too often thought of as a specific department, rather than as a core value and strategic imperative, owned by the entire organization. Consider that the traditionally defined “service department” could soon be obsolete, because there are so many interactions consumers have with your business before, during, and after any one specific touchpoint.

“Customer experience”, on the other hand, encompasses every aspect of a company’s offerings—from the quality of its customer care to its reputation management, marketing, packaging, product and service features, ease of use, reliability and beyond. As we like to say at Disney, while no one “owns the Guest,” someone, in every case, “owns the moment.”

Today, this distinction is more important than ever, especially if organizations want to continue to differentiate themselves from their competition. Customer experience must be understood and approached holistically, with those responsible for each area of a company’s offerings giving intentional thought and focus on how their decisions will shape and impact the overall customer experience.

So, there you have it. Customer experience goes beyond customer service alone, and is far more than any single leader, employee, or department. It’s about truly understanding your customer as segments and as individuals, architecting a plan for delivering exceptional experiences, and then empowering employees to deliver it across all touchpoints. And, it’s about developing leaders to reinforce the beliefs and behaviors that support exceptional customer experience.

Bottom line, if your organization wants to advance its customer experience, you must make it a strategic business priority.

Welcoming & Innovative Cities Are Creating Digital Strategies to Improve Customer Interactions

The internet changed things to the point where the world cannot even imagine going back in time and possibly living without the convenience afforded by it. Everything and every aspect of our lives was influenced by the internet, shaped and molded by it. And then technology took a step further and beyond.

Usually termed as the internet 2.0, mobile devices have removed the restriction of the internet from being a remote portal on our desktops, to an everyday need within the palm of our hands, and on the tip of our fingers, literally. From online browsing and emails to online transactions and messaging, our social interaction with loved ones and complete strangers has never been more important.

So important, that the governments of various developed states are acknowledging the need for development of a more friendly and interactive experience with their present and potential citizens and business customers. For example, the government of New Zealand is no different and has made a statement of intent to improve the interaction of their government with their citizens and business customers by delivering better public services that are mostly used in a digital environment and providing the completion of transactions online easily and conveniently.

There are many other benefits to be realized other than satisfied citizens and business customers. The recently appointed CEO of the Australian federal government’s Digital Transformation Office (DTO), Paul Shetler, revealed at a “Technology in Government” conference in Canberra, that digital interactions between citizens and government agencies could save costs of up to $20 billion. The figures were cited in a research conducted by Deloitte and could help improve other governments who are cost restrained and would like to improve further digital interaction with their citizens.

Accenture, a global brand, conducted a citizen survey back in 2013, that showed a high correlation between the overall satisfaction experienced with public services and use of digital channels. The design needs to be focused on mobile technology as more than half of the world’s population is connected through their mobile devices.

Many companies have shifted their focus on such initiatives, but by and large the majority has yet to do so. Developing countries that have bigger populations that are connected through their mobile devices, have governments that have yet to realize the potential in developing digital channels for presenting their services.

Rosetta Carrington Lue is the City of Philadelphia first Chief Customer Officer. She is a dynamic leader in the fields of Customer Experience Management, Strategy and Technology, Social Media and Community Engagement in both public and private sectors.

Here We Grow! City of Philadelphia @Philly311 Receives 2015 CRM Excellence Award

Congratulations to the City of Philadelphia Philly311 Contact Center for being awarded the 2015 CRM Excellence Award.

Thanks to the great staff at Philly311 who continues to set the bar for customer service excellence at a high level in local government.

“The 2015 CRM Excellence Award winners have been chosen on the basis of their product or service’s ability to help extend and expand the customer relationship to become all encompassing, covering the entire enterprise and the entire customer lifecycle. Based on hard data, facts and figures, each CRM Excellence Award winner has demonstrated the improvements their products have made in their clients’ businesses.

‘The 2015 CRM Excellence Award winners are industry leaders in CRM products and services who have demonstrated a commitment to their customers and clients. All of the winners have substantially improved the processes of their clients’ businesses by streamlining and facilitating the flow of information needed for companies to retain customers,’ said Rich Tehrani, CEO, TMC (News – Alert).”

View additional information about the award here:  http://cloud-computing.tmcnet.com/news/2015/04/30/8183290.htm