Insight by Zoom

5 keys agencies should follow to improve employee, customer and digital experiences

Agencies are redefining how to keep employees engaged and customers satisfied. Zoom's Matt Mandrgoc shares how how to collaborate in a hybrid workplace.

Agencies are taking a digital-first approach to service delivery, and redefining what it means to keep employees engaged and customers satisfied.

The COVID-19 pandemic gave rise to a hybrid federal workforce and new standards of how — and where — federal employees get their work done.

Matt Mandrgoc, the head of U.S. Public Sector at Zoom, said the federal government, over the past few years, “went through a time of unintended disruption, to now an opportunity of intentional transformation.”

“Instead of just putting solutions in place that may address the need, work needs to be done to understand the root challenges, to come up with these solutions. This is where technology and the customer experience, digital experience and employee experience are coming together,” Mandrgoc said.

President Joe Biden set a higher standard for federal customer experience in a 2021 executive order.

The Office of Management and Budget, more recently, gave agencies guidance on how to deliver a “digital-first” experience to their customers.

5 keys to better employee, customer experience

Whether the goal is to improve customer experience, the employee experience, or the digital experience in a hybrid workspace, Mandrgoc said meaningful results come down to a few foundational principles.

Security, he said, is a critical step for the success of a hybrid workplace. While Zoom for Government is FedRAMP-certified through the Joint Authorization Board (JAB), Mandrgoc said agencies also need more granular controls and solutions that can adapt to their specific workplace scenarios.

“A number of companies have to be really clear on how they’re operationalizing the security components for our customers — not just having a FedRAMP platform, but really being clear around what does that security mean,” Mandrgoc said.

A successful hybrid environment also needs extensibility.

“Interoperability between different parts of different systems can prolong investments through an agnostic hardware approach that really rejuvenates legacy devices or partnerships that minimize or eliminate additional connection costs, while being fiscally responsible taxpayer dollars,” Mandrgoc said.

Agencies also need collaboration platforms that foster innovation, and include standards for communication, with features like breakout rooms and noise suppression.

“All of this is needed without complex training, unnatural change management or hidden adoption costs to help people communicate more effectively,” Mangrdoc said. “Innovation accelerates the customer, employee and digital experience.”

Digital platforms, he added, also need to be scalable and “anticipate user needs.”

“This is important, as organizations are scaling through this customer and digital experience, as they’re looking to engage with employees differently in this hybrid workspace, engaging with the customers out there,” Mangdroc said.

Finally, Mandrgoc said these platforms need to be simple, intuitive and reliable.

“Intuitive workplace design fuels quick adoption with easy-to-use, manageable capabilities, which has led to an incredible growth of use cases by a wide set of diverse and creative government users,” he said.

Navigating change

While online collaboration tools help federal employees meet their mission, Mandrgoc said agencies also need to navigate culture change as part of this transformation.

“A lot of them have a culture of video not being on … And in that culture, we’re trying to create the human connection,” he said. “That’s the biggest part about the workplace. It’s not about just what technology you’re using, how do you create the human connection — whether you’re at home, whether you’re in the office, on the road, wherever it might be,” he said.

Zoom is helping U.S. Courts with translation captions. It’s also helping courts at the state and local level.

“We’ve actually helped organizations transform what they’re doing in the courtroom, taking noncritical dockets, moving it to a hybrid environment to quickly get through those and focus the court and those individuals on the most important things that have to be in person,” Mandrgoc said.

Zoom is also helping the Agriculture Department get information out to farmers, even in low bandwidth environments.

“The Zoom platform really shines in a low bandwidth environment and allowed these farmers to join into these different engagements, gather the most important information, and then, more importantly, created success for USDA by getting this information out to those individuals,” Mandrgoc said.

Zoom is giving agencies the tools to provide a better experience to their employees, in situations such as all-hands meetings.

“It’s not about setting up a conference call or just setting up a large meeting to do this. How are you really making these interactive meetings, getting questions out there, and putting it on a secure platform?” Mandrgoc said.

Zoom is also helping agencies with recruitment at job fairs and “setting the tone for the recruitment of the government worker of the future.”

“If I have somebody who lives in an area where maybe it’s not a high bandwidth, or it’s a low-bandwidth environment, but they have a certain skill set the government may need, I may not need them to move to the D.C. area. I could have them work in a rural area, which has low bandwidth, by creating that platform to allow them to have accessibility digital inclusivity, being able to interact with those individuals,” Mandrgoc said.

Accessibility & emerging technologies

OMB in December 2023 tasked agencies with making accessibility a cornerstone of their digital strategies.

“Accessibility is top of mind and government agencies. But it’s not just a compliance checkbox … It’s an opportunity to open the aperture, for customers and employees requiring accessibility, to have a human connection,” Mangdroc said.

Examples of accessible-by-design collaboration includes having sign language interpreters available for virtual and hybrid meetings, as well as automatically dimming a user’s screen when a presentation has flashing imagery that could be harmful to users with epilepsy.

Looking ahead, Mandrgoc said agencies are looking to emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence, to further drive improvements in employee and customer experience.

“AI is just an evolving opportunity for us to look at how does industry partner along with the organizations in the government to do this, he said. “It is going to play a critically important part around the customer, employee and digital experience.”

Regardless of how far agencies are in their customer and employee experience journey, Mandrgoc recommends  agencies “intently listen to employee and customer feedback.”

“Organizations need to truly embrace a bottom-up management, and not only listen to how your employees and customers are feeling, but also act on that feedback to continuously improve as a government – increasing retention, and attracting the government talent of the future,” he said.

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