Governments are evolving to become more customer-oriented in the delivery of their services. Rising citizen expectations of government and the ongoing demand for greater efficiency have increased the urgency of this transformation. The move towards customer centric service in the private sector has provided citizens with a set of comparative expectations. People are seeking simpler ways of dealing with government and increased responsiveness to their individual needs and concerns.
The introduction of the Right to Information Act has led to a higher level of critical scrutiny of government programmes by the public. This factor raises risk and increases the need for the government to keep pace with citizen expectations.
Despite a clear goal to improve the levels of services delivered by governments, this cannot be achieved at the expense of overall productivity. The pressure to realise continuous gains in efficiency is a permanent feature of modern government, and so raising the levels of service in this climate requires innovation.
Citizen centric service delivery offers huge opportunities to reduce cost or similarly achieve better outcomes with the same resources. Technology acts as a catalyst for enabling citizen centric service delivery. The following section describes key technology capabilities, which enable citizen centric transformation in government. The key capabilities are:
1. Citizen Data Integration
2. Citizen Interaction Management
3. Citizen Outreach
4. Government Insight
Citizen Data Integration
For a business to be centered on its customers, a fundamental prerequisite is the availability of complete, accurate and fully integrated customer data. Similarly for a government it is equally important to know who the citizen is, what are the key attributes that define him, and how he expects to interact with various agencies for the delivery of benefits and welfare schemes.
Forward-looking governments are working to create an informative, authenticated and secure Citizen Data Master. The State Government in India is creating a unified view of a citizen across various departments and plans to consolidate this information in a Citizen Data Hub. Information on citizens can be taken from existing departmental systems or directly captured using household surveys. Such information can be used to determine the eligibility of citizens for various welfare schemes being planned by the government.
By drawing together a complete set of citizen data, Citizen Data Integration enables increased efficiency, reduced error, lower level of fraud and faster, higher quality decisions – leading to better outcomes and a superior citizen experience.
Citizen Interaction Management
A mature and widely adopted citizen interaction management strategy is a core component of citizen centric service delivery. Citizen interaction management coordinates interactions across the many often-siloed communication channels available to the citizens, such as contact centres, the Internet and face-to-face contact.
New York City created a Citizen Response Center as a single authoritative source for all citizen inquiries. Over 14 pages of phone numbers were replaced with a single point of contact for 8 million residents. New York needed a system to increase productivity and quality of service by quickly and effectively answering enquiries, routing requests to the appropriate department, and clarifying responsibilities and inter-department coordination.
The consolidation of call centers was to be the a first step in the transformation process. The overall IT solution would help make city government easier to navigate and ultimately create a powerful tool to help manage ‘quality of life’ issues that confront citizens daily. One of the things that make New York’s solution unique is that it uses sophisticated data-mining techniques that enable city administrators to gain fresh insight in real-time into the challenges that confront the city. What are the hot button issues that are generating the most complaints from the citizens? Which neighbourhoods are suffering from the highest rates of vandalism? Which departments are doing the best job of responding to citizen needs? The solution also makes it possible to monitor and analyse trends in order to address the specific causes.
The increased focus on achieving measurable outcomes for citizens creates the need for agencies to have sophisticated Case management capabilities. Case management enables government agencies to plan their services and communications with citizens around case goals and then to track and manage the interactions and transactions over time against those goals.
Establishing an enterprise wide case management platform enables an organisation to provide consistency of service over time and across all of its staff and organisational boundaries. It also fundamentally changes the focus of interactions and transactions from individual service activities to a more planned set of citizen outcomes. Further, a common case management framework provides a basis for government to coordinate citizen service delivery across a multi-agency portfolio or potentially across the whole of government.
Citizen interaction strategies aim to leverage the knowledge an agency gains from its citizen interactions, enabling communication and service delivery to become better targeted and more personalised, and even to inform future policy.
In today’s increasingly competitive environment, government agencies need to be more knowledgeable about the citizens they serve than ever before. Using the principles of targeted marketing government agencies can interact with their constituents on the nature of programmes being planned. They can also communicate the effectiveness with which services are being delivered.
Governments plan welfare programmes for a target constituency. Citizen outreach systems provide improved segmentation and campaign targeting to identify target populations, design and execute outreach campaigns, and increase programme awareness.
In an outreach campaign, a regional government located in the northern region of Spain, with a population of approximately 1.1 million used its new Citizens Service Bureau to offer free breast cancer testing for its female citizens. Implementing a Citizen Relationship Management (CRM) system that offered multichannel e-Government services to its public and managed relationships with citizens, the health department was able to capture, measure, and analyse individual health status. Based on the information acquired, the government was able to offer women within a certain age interval free testing through its multi-channel communication system. This example demonstrates how CRM uses information from citizen enquiries, allowing agencies to initiate proactive campaigns to provide improved local services.
Measuring service performance and increasing accountability for government services is crucial in the drive toward e-Government transformation. Government insight or analytics solutions provide a complete view of operations, empowering government officials to identify and analyse specific department performance and service delivery.
Once service levels are established for public services there is a pressure on the system to improve the processes and achieve outcomes that adhere to the service levels. Analytics solution aligned to the government business processes and outcomes provide visibility into agency operations and programmes that help government officials identify and target areas for improvement.
The health department of a regional government in Southern Europe implemented an integrated call centre that manages relationships between the public healthcare system, citizens, healthcare providers, and partners. Its new system now offers the capability to collate and analyse information on enquiries for an insight into the evolution of requests, call activity patterns, the percentage of calls belonging to a particular area such as clinical appointments, how many patients requested a second medical opinion, or how long each request took to process. Most importantly, the department is able to assess what percentages of calls are being successfully resolved. These analytics allow the health department to assess performance levels across its 13 hospitals and 50 primary care centres to ensure it is delivering a high level of service to the 15 million inhabitants of the region.
A more demanding public with the need to communicate along a variety of channels and fierce competition from the private sector would mean government agencies must make efficiency their top priority. It has become vital to deploy systems that empower government workers to follow processes and deliver the high levels of service expected.
A combination of flexible, easy-to-use technology, effective processes and productive staff will allow this aim to be realised.