Improving Customer Service:
How to Deliver Service That Benefits Your
Agency & Enhances the Customer’s Experi...
In order to meet these principles, agencies should embrace customer service concepts that
• Service...
Sapient Government Services
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Improving Customer Service: How to Deliver Service That Benefits Your Agency & Enhances the Customer’s Experience


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This Sapient Government Services white paper provides insights for how agencies can effectively provide high quality customer service in the connected digital world.

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Improving Customer Service: How to Deliver Service That Benefits Your Agency & Enhances the Customer’s Experience

  1. 1. POINT OF view Improving Customer Service: How to Deliver Service That Benefits Your Agency & Enhances the Customer’s Experience Our inter-connected digital world has changed customer trends and affected their expectations– customers want high-quality service that interacts with them on their time and their terms. Although agencies have recognized the need for improved service delivery and the Executive Order 13571 has established a mandate, they in general continue to struggle to develop & implement the transformative strategies to meet rising customer expectations. A recent MeriTalk survey finds that 79% of Americans still believe the Federal government needs to improve customer service. With the increasing pressure on government agencies to provide highly effective customer service while continuing to streamline processes and reduce costs, they must embrace new technologies in order to keep their services relevant to their customers. There are several principles that have changed how customers want to interact with your agency: • Your customers live in an interconnected digital world. Almost 90% of decisions are now being influenced by digital interactions. • Your customer service must be immediate and direct. Customers are now always on and want service that fits into their digital fingertips regardless of device, location, time of day or type of organization. • Your organization’s reputation is critical and valuable. It can be costly if your customer service strategy is not effective due to: • Distraction costs: As we have seen in many recent contemporary cases, customers are eager to act upon what they perceive as either bad service, lapse of judgment or ignorance. In today’s world, customers can amplify their voices – provide comments on the service, organize themselves, affect public opinion and your reputation – and cause your agency to manage a potential crisis in a reactive mode. If customers are dissatisfied, you can experience costs of chaos, disruption management and eventual re-start. • Operational costs: You are asked to do more with less every day. Without effective use of digital technologies, the cost of your existing services will drive your agency into tighter spending controls and disable successful mission execution. • Your customers want service that is contextual and personalized. They now demand this of government agencies as much as they do with their favorite global consumer brand(s). The days of mass communications are over - customers require interactions that are aligned with their specific situation and tailored to their understanding of the world.
  2. 2. POINT OF view In order to meet these principles, agencies should embrace customer service concepts that promote: • Service Instancy – The customer is a consumer of your organization’s information or services and is driven by a need that has direct urgency (e.g., job loss, natural disasters, health crisis, etc.). Customer service should first and foremost address customers in a big, clear and impactful way around these direct urgencies since they represent the core service functionality. • Service Adjacency – The customer is also a consumer of other organizations’ information and/or services, in addition to one linked with direct urgency. The urgency should be used as a point of reference to suggest additional ways the organization can add value. For example, a person seeking a job may also need additional information about food stamps should build these adjacencies to complement core functionality. • Service Engagement – Organizations need to provide services and information to the customers in a way that is both engaging and visually accepting. Our research shows that a disengaged customer is more prone to perceive lower satisfaction with the organization than an engaged customer is when receiving the same type and quality of service. The greatest service idea falls short if its implementation and presentation falls short. Developing a customer service strategy requires a systematic approach. Sapient recommends the four step approach outlined in Figure 1. Agencies should start with their Mission and Goals and full understanding of the customer needs and personas, which are describing general customer behaviors. This understanding will enable agencies to find right opportunities and solutions to fulfill its mission and meet their customers on their terms. A fully thought-out framework and roadmap will enable successful implementation. How do you stay relevant? Your customers will interact with you on their terms - however they want, at any time, using any device, for whatever they need. Your responsibility is to be there. Sapient’s customer service approach focuses on your customer touchpoints through the development of strategy and supporting technology to create meaningful and personalized customer experiences on a national scale. ABOUT SAPIENT GOVERNMENT SERVICES & CAPABILITIES Sapient Government Services, a division of Sapient, is a leading provider of consulting, technology, and marketing services to a wide array of U.S. governmental agencies. Focused on driving long-term change and transforming the citizen experience, we use technology to help agencies become more accessible and transparent. With a track record of delivering mission-critical solutions and the ability to leverage commercial best practices, we serve as trusted advisors to government agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Library of Congress, National Institutes of Health, United States Department of Health and Human Services, and United States Department of Homeland Security. Government managers must learn from what is working in the private sector and apply these best practices to deliver services better, faster, and at lower cost. – Executive Order 13571 What are your MISSION/ORG GOALS DRIVERS PRIORITIZATION INFLUENCERS FOCUS Who is your AUDIENCE NEED PERSONAS PRIORITIZATION Where are the OPPORTUNITIES OUTCOMES PERSONA MAPPING SOLUTION SETS PRIORITIZATION What is the ROAD MAP FRAMEWORK VALUE USER EXPERIENCE ALIGNMENT Figure 1: The four step approach
  3. 3. Sapient Government Services sapientgov.com