“We are experiencing a high call volume and longer wait times on our phone lines. We appreciate your patience and understand you have questions.”
This is just one iteration of a similar message, played on repeat and posted to government websites across the globe, alerting the public that access to critical services would be delayed. It was the perfect storm. The medical effects alone of COVID-19 caused hundreds to require time out of work and as the pandemic dragged on, mass unemployment from shutdowns required more individuals to apply for a variety of government assistance programs.
As phone lines backed up, wait times were further exacerbated when government employees, like many of us in the private sector, transitioned to remote work. In a study by the Government Accountability Office (GAO)1 , state agencies were still relying on legacy IT systems developed in the 1970s, had outdated software, and many workers required additional training once they began working remotely.
With so much in flux, constituents were finding themselves on hold for hours only to be disconnected and their query unresolved. Furthermore, due to antiquated systems, the GAO found that the annual paperwork burden imposed by executive departments and agencies on the public has been in excess of 9 billion hours2. With the excessive burdens being placed on constituents to file paperwork and wait on hold for hours to receive basic services, trust in the government dwindled.
Customer Experience Had to Improve
While constituent customer experience continued to worsen, it quickly became apparent that the government had to be agile and move to adopt changes within its systems in order to rebuild the trust it was losing in its constituents.
In December 2021, President Biden signed an executive order on “Transforming Federal Customer Experience and Service Delivery to Rebuild Trust in Government.” This executive order directs agency leaders to identify and improve on the customer experience in key Government programs, processes, and services.
This latest CX-driven Executive Order addresses 36 CX improvement commitments across 17 Federal agencies, all of which aim to improve people’s lives and the delivery of Government services. Agencies will be modernized as new technologies are adapted to provide a more seamless experience.3
Some key experiences the Executive Order aims to improve include:4
- Approaching retirement
- Recovering from a disaster
- Navigating the transition from active duty to civilian life
- Providing support for low-income mothers and children
- Facing a financial shock and becoming newly eligible for critical support programs
As government agencies work to close the gap and provide quality constituent experiences, we have to be mindful that there will be some bumps in the road while making the switch from legacy on-premise systems to the modern cloud. Fortunately, we already know that modernizing processes will be well worth the effort. According to the study, Unemployment Insurance: Pandemic Programs Posed Challenges, and DOL Could Better Address Customer Service and Emergency Planning5 by the US Government Accountability Office, states who had already transitioned to cloud-based systems were in a better position to serve the public and could launch CARES Act Unemployment Insurance programs faster, thereby reducing call volume, improving wait times, and maintaining a higher level of trust with the public.
A Platform You Can Trust
Delivering a great customer experience is the key to building trust with constituents. Unfortunately, due to the poor CX to date, people are losing trust that their next experience with a specific government department or agency will result in their queries being resolved timely. As the systems to deliver great CX grow more complex, now really is the time for the Government to take steps to modernize and earn the goodwill of its constituents again.
Unlike the private sector, where a customer can take their business to another company if the quality of service is poor, the services that are needed from the government can only come from specific departments. By providing low-quality CX, this forces constituents to continuously receive less-than-stellar service and seriously risks the reputation of government agencies. The solution? Investing in the cloud, automation, and AI. By modernizing and implementing solutions such as CX testing, government agencies can mitigate CX issues by catching them before they affect constituents, and assure the customer journey is performing as designed.
One of the hardest parts about transitioning from legacy IT systems to the cloud is finding the right partner to help make this as seamless as possible. For government agencies, it is crucial to select a platform that can manage security concerns and ensure they are delivering a flawless constituent experience with each interaction. Watch the recording from our webinar in partnership with Carahsoft, where we discussed how to:
- Accelerate your migration of contact center technology to the cloud, and assure that technology works flawlessly
- Improve the quality of digital and voice self-service, including chatbots and conversational AI, to ensure that constituents questions are answered
Ready to assure your CX? Contact us today! https://info.cyara.com/contact-us