Think about your own experiences with the brands and organizations you interact with. You’ve likely grown to expect some level of personalization, self-service, and the ability to access information or complete transactions on demand. And that expectation, perhaps once limited to more consumer-oriented experiences, has likely extended across all interactions — whether it’s with an e-commerce brand or with a government agency.
When an organization meets that expectation, it goes a long way to build loyalty, brand affinity, and trust. But when you operate in an industry, like the licensing industry, in which your customers have no other choice but to transact with your organization, you might wonder if rebuilding your operational infrastructure around the customer experience is worth the investment.
It turns out, becoming more customer-centric doesn’t just benefit the customer. While every organization should prioritize establishing a foundation of trust among customers and delivering a great experience, the fact of the matter, this has traditionally been sidelined in many licensing organizations. Particularly as demand has increased over the years, the priority has simply been to process licenses, complaints, and requests as quickly as possible.
While it may seem counterintuitive, involving the customer in process improvement measures actually helps organizations operate more efficiently.
When engaging customers improves operational efficiency
Many agencies that have approached business transformations from a stakeholder experience perspective have recouped hundreds to thousands of hours and dollars that were previously wasted on unnecessary or redundant processes. For that reason, the customer experience has become a top priority for many CIOs.
In fact, according to a NASCIO survey of state CIOs, two of the top five priorities regarding strategies and management processes revolved around improving the citizen experience and building customer-agency confidence, trust, and collaboration. This is a big shift for state agencies, particularly considering customer relationship management didn’t even make the NASCIO state CIO’s top 10 priority list until 2019.
But in today’s consumer-driven world, customer experience and organizational health are proving to go hand-in-hand. A report by McKinsey found that delivering a great customer experience reinforces other critical agency outcomes like reducing response times, enhancing employee engagement, and decreasing risks. According to the report, two years into a transformation, one US agency had experienced a 50% increase in organizational health.
By restructuring around the customer, it urges your team to look at your organization through the lens of the customer. You’re better able to identify points of friction, limitations in the ability to complete certain tasks, redundancies, and how many touchpoints it takes to reach a resolution or complete a task. When this is coupled with the digitization of processes and services, it eliminates otherwise labor-intensive and manual administrative work and paper-bound transactions and empowers customers to self-serve –– freeing your team to tackle other important tasks.
Customer-centered digital transformations deliver a healthy ROI
More agencies are realizing the bottom-line benefits of involving their customers at the beginning stages of their digital transformation efforts. For one, it helps your team better assess gaps and technology needs which will help guide you toward the right technology solution, and two, it helps you build a digital infrastructure that is more future resistant. Lastly, there are efficiency gains that are realized, freeing up constrained resources within your organization.
Rather than falling into the trap of “this is the way this has always been done,” customers offer a fresh perspective on how services can potentially be delivered differently. As more of our transactions shift to the cloud, it will prove critical to involve customers as you reimagine the delivery of your agency’s services. Doing so will also help ensure your organization builds a technology architecture that is future resistant vs. something you’ll have to redo in another few years.
Additionally, when you involve customers, it naturally strengthens customer satisfaction — and this builds trust. In fact, McKinsey found public customers were nine times more likely to trust a government agency if they are satisfied with its service. Meanwhile, dissatisfied customers were more than two times more likely to contact agency hotlines three or more times for help, straining resources, and stretching budgets.
When digitization is coupled with a customer focus it can help drive more successful outcomes for your agency and customers. Proving these results can in turn help your organization make the argument for additional budget allocation to expand your digital efforts over time.
As the nature of business and government operations shift to more virtual and on-demand settings, citizens are morphing into more than just customers — they’re now strategic partners in agency transformation. By listening, understanding, and making things easier for customers to achieve their results, organizations can more likely achieve internal goals.