Getting the public sector up to speed with customer service


Customer experience should be as important in the public sector as the private sectors says Salesforce’s Gavin Mee.

Gavin Mee

One click and there’s a taxi on the way to you. Two clicks and you’ve paid your bills. A swipe right and you’ve renewed your car insurance, WITH a discount! These days we expect effortless experiences from all brand interactions.

But when it comes to the public sector, citizens often complain of paper-only forms, long wait times and having the same conversation with multiple departments – because meeting customer expectations is just not possible for organisations which depend on siloed, legacy IT systems.

So when public sector leaders look to access appropriate tools and relevant data and create an open culture, they can also look to help their organisations to exceed the expectations of the citizens they serve – by changing their approach to technology.

So with these challenges front of mind, what tools can government organisations use to meet increasing citizen expectations?

Intelligent use of Data

The world today generates 2.5 quintillion bytes of data. In fact, 90% of the world’s data has been created in the last two years – and the public sector is part of that data proliferation. Some of this data comes from citizen touch-points: the calls to service centres, the tweets complaining about overflowing bins, or the services they’ve applied for.  Public sector organisations that capture, combine and share all of this data across departments can better understand their customers and deliver a better service.

An increasing amount of the data government agencies are sitting on comes from connected devices and the Internet of Things. This information can also place public sector staff in a much better position to deliver powerful services for its citizens.

For example, at local authority level, autonomous vehicles can integrate with a smart grid to find parking spots nearby. Using data from sensors in wheelie bins, waste management teams can better schedule refuse collection only when bins are full, saving precious resources and driving cost efficiencies.

Let’s take a look at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA), where Salesforce is fully supporting the modernisation of the Swansea contact centre. The DVLA handles an impressive 1.1 million customer contacts per month – much of it through their contact centre. Advisors use a single platform to answer phone, email, web chat, and social media queries, giving them a complete view of each customer’s history with the DVLA. This multi-channel approach to service has improved resolution rates and increased customer satisfaction to over 90%.

Employees have felt the benefits too – engagement levels for contact centre staff have risen so that the DVLA now has more than 70% of employees engaged – the highest of any central government agency.

Predictive analytics

Today we’re just at the start of the AI revolution, but it’s clear that over the next few years machine learning and predictive intelligence will revolutionise every industry, including public sector offices. This technology will literally transform public sector service delivery, offering data to help employees work faster, smarter, and more efficiently. Using machine learning, public sector organisations can automate tasks, deliver personalised communications to citizens at scale and help customer support be more proactive.

Predictive analytics can also help government agencies solve some of the problems that impede services. For example, e-researchers can use aggregated human behavioural data captured from a mobile network infrastructure, in combination with basic demographic information, to help predict where crime may occur. Experimental results showed almost a 70% success rate when predicting whether a specific area in the city will be a crime hotspot or not.

It’s also worth remembering that there’s a healthy appetite for AI among citizens too. Research shows that 48% of UK consumers and 75% of UK business buyers expect that, by 2020, companies will anticipate their needs and make relevant suggestions before they reach out. We’re already seeing great use cases in the private sector – such as chatbots and predictive recommendations – and there’s no reason why the public sector shouldn’t be benefiting from this opportunity too.

Harnessing intelligence

Customer experience is of the utmost importance. So, it is no wonder that citizens are demanding the same of the public sector that they do with private sector companies. But, as we all know, you can only surprise and delight your customers if you have a wealth of intelligence backing your interactions and outreach. AI and cloud technology provide agencies with the ability to benefit from predictive and actionable insights developed from the citizen interactions – helping them deliver more personal, innovative services. And that’s a government engagement citizens can get excited about!

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