Two goals should drive agency improvements at federal contact and customer service centers: trust and empathy
Cloud services can help agencies achieve both — for citizens, internal customers and agency employees, said Steven Boberski, public sector chief technology officer at Genesys.
Agencies want to engender trust that the government will get the citizen to the end result they are seeking, Boberski said during the Federal News Network Cloud Exchange 2022.
And empathy shows that the agency understands the situation the citizen is trying to address, he added.
Agencies deliver critical services “that people want to reach from anywhere, at any time,” Boberski said. Knowing that services can scale immediately makes citizens more confident and builds trust when they get the help and information they need without waiting on hold forever, he said.
Cloud lets an organization “dynamically add resources from anywhere to do that. That’s a big advantage for the agencies in the customer experience model,” he said. As agencies move to the cloud, it’s important that they keep track of where these resources are and that they employ the technologies required to do the analytics and gain value, Boberski said.
Journey mapping the experience
Cloud and other modern technologies can help agencies introduce empathy into their customer experience efforts through the use of journey mapping.
Journey mapping helps identify “where the customer has been and where they’re going or what they want to do,” he said. That way, by the time a customer arrives at an agent’s desktop, the agent can respond effectively and efficiently, Boberski said.
That completely changes the initial interaction between an agent and a citizen, he said. “Rather than saying, ‘Hi. How can I help you today?’ They know where they’ve been. The agent now can see in front of them everything they’ve tried to do,” he said. “The ‘How can I help?’ is that empathetic moment that is such a big deal because I, as the caller, realize that I don’t have to explain what I just did for the last nine hours or nine days trying to get in. They know. They’re ready to help.”
At the same time, being able to tap into that detailed information makes the employee’s job more rewarding and satisfying, Boberski said. That leads to better retention, better knowledge management and less basic training — all agency objectives.
Agencies are quickly realizing the potential these types of capabilities can deliver and are more aggressively modernizing their service centers, he said. The government has seen the benefits of using a cloud-based infrastructure to deal with surge requirements, whether from emergency situations or seasonal needs.
Modular approach to modernization
The stability and availability advantages that the cloud makes possible are changing how federal agencies approach contact center technology and also the reach that they have.
“You can get to it from almost anywhere,” Boberski said. “We’re seeing a lot of proposals that are focusing on the advanced analytics as part of the journey mapping.”
It’s also important to use mapping to understand where an agency is currently because the biggest challenge of any technology journey is that an organization can’t know where it needs to go if it doesn’t know where it is, he said. Sometimes capturing analytics upfront will help guide that technology journey and also improve the experience as the organization moves forward, Boberski added.
He suggested that rather than try to modernize an entire customer experience infrastructure at once, agencies should pick one function at a time and work on making improvements incrementally.
“Business functions beget functional requirements and business requirements beget technical requirements, not the other way around,” Boberski said. “Look at the business requirements, your cost requirements and some of the technology you are using, and think about the transformation that can be done.”