Local government is all about people. But right now, it’s struggling to deliver the best experience in service delivery for citizens and employees alike
There is enormous pressure on public services to match the user experiences being served by consumer brands. Citizens expect services to be intelligently delivered through the right channel, with the right message, and at the right time. But this isn’t always the reality.
Public sector agencies are faced with cumbersome legacy operating models. Built long before human-centred design, these systems don’t have the user in mind. They were dictated by the limitations of the legacy technology, the organisational structure of the department, or the historical paper processes that preceded it. This means services are not where they should be in the digital era.
There are new opportunities for public sector organisations to transform their services and operations to focus more successfully on user experience. Local agencies can prioritise citizen and employee needs and convenience rather than simply ‘getting the job done’. The question is not if, but how these experiences can be optimised for all stakeholders.
Digital transformation isn’t easy
As technology advances, demographics shift, and citizen expectations evolve, government needs to adapt and consider how to improve all interactions. However, it’s not as straightforward as it seems, particularly when working with deeply ingrained paper processes and legacy technology.
Too often, agencies set out on digital transformation journeys with preconceived ideas about what should be delivered, without first engaging with end-users. This approach risks leaving them with services that fall short of citizen expectations, resulting in frustration and confusion for everyone involved.
Now, more than ever, local government must have a growing focus on human-centred design.
To build an experience-led agency, employee experience (EX) and customer experience (CX) must be at the core of every decision. And for many government agencies, these are now major priorities. However, they are often treated in silos, creating missed opportunities for genuinely transformational experiences.
Why treat them separately when the link between better EX and improved CX is so strong? Naturally, happier employees provide better service. But there isn’t a quick fix. It’s the carefully designed intersection between humans, processes, and technology that yields the most significant and value-creating change.
And this is where a Total Experience (TX) approach will produce truly transformational outcomes for local government agencies.
The future of government work is changing
Gartner recognises TX as one of the strategic technology trends for 2023. This approach enables governments to create superior shared experiences by uniting employee and citizen experiences – resulting in a better outcome for all.
By considering these parties, agencies can eliminate pain points for both, creating streamlined and efficient services that satisfy all stakeholders.
Local governments must engage with a carefully developed process to unlock the value of a TX strategy.
Through the discovery stage, a TX-centred process ensures agencies develop a deep understanding of the organisation, its employees, and its citizens. Thorough research and analysis provide insight into pain points, uncover user needs, and the current state of the service.
It’s then important to focus on the fundamental problems that need to be addressed and look at how users interact with services before envisioning the future of that service. For example, this can be done by developing user scenarios and journey mapping.
Detailed information and planning will inform the delivery stage, where the service can be built and deployed.
By effectively implementing TX, public bodies can remove costly back-office interaction whilst offering a better experience for citizens. This can drive huge cost and time efficiencies, freeing resources to be redirected to drive value in other areas.
The shift towards experience-led change will allow users to interact with services how they choose and empower employees to provide as much value as possible in the citizen journey.
Entering an era of human-centred design
TX is key to transforming public sector services. Gartner predicts that by 2023, at least 85% of governments failing to prioritise the experiences of all stakeholders with public services and therefore without a TX strategy will fail to transform service delivery successfully. It’s time for government agencies to embrace this approach, or risk getting left behind.
By Lisa Arnold, head of public sector at CDS
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