Satisfying the Contemporary Customer

The Future of Customer Experience in Government Contact Centres

According to the Australian Government’s Digital Transformation Office, more than 1/3 of Australians stated that digital means of communication would be their preferred channel of communication with government agencies.  This number is expected to grow as more customer service operations in both the public and private sector are digitised.

The Digital Transformation Office has reported that 1/3 of surveyed Australians prefer digital contact channels over traditional methods. (Pull Quote)

The smart phone has revolutionised customer contact, providing multiple channels of communication and greater transparency of customer mapping.  As the Australian public becomes reliant on their device for everything from grocery shopping to paying bills, digital communication should become a priority for government customer service delivery.

Many government organisations are in the process of streamlining their digital communication channels, however the public is not completely satisfied with their service levels.

Long wait times and lack of efficient resolution have been some of the main complaints of customers in the public sector.  Government services must innovate and adapt to meet the expectations of online citizens.

Service NSW has consolidated multiple agencies and created multiple channels of service.  This has resulted in increased transparency and more consistent customer satisfaction.

“Prior to the inception of Service NSW in 2013, NSW Government customers had to navigate through more than 100 call centres, 380 different shopfronts, 1,000 websites and 8,000 different customer service phone numbers. Customers can now access more than 850 transactions through the one stop Service NSW shop.” (NSW ICT Strategy, 2018)

Many large government organisations have seen vast improvement in customer satisfaction and service delivery through a consolidation of contact centres.  Centralisation, along with digital infrastructure, provides streamlined service with greater customer insight.  Digital tools such as webchats and virtual assistant provide an engine for customer mapping.  This ensures the customer’s contact history is readily available.  When the contact centre employee has insight into the customer’s previous interactions, they can communicate effectively and resolve the inquiry, more quickly and more completely.

Government organisations are under unique pressure in their contact centre delivery because they do not strive to sell, rather they are solely focused on public satisfaction and efficient operations.    The contact centre is many times the first line of communication between the public and government.  Thus, innovating the contact centre to streamline and prioritise the customer experience remains of high importance in the public sector.

The Government Contact Centre Summit 2018 provides a space for the best in public sector contact centre leadership to collaborate and present innovative case studies about:

  • Streamlining digital strategy for increased efficiency and higher customer satisfaction in your contact centre
  • Fostering a culture of high engagement through out your contact centre to drive positive organisational change
  • The future of innovation in government contact centres

 

Attend the Government Contact Centre Summit 2018 to hear these expert case studies on digital innovation and exemplary customer experience.

How to engage with the disengaged

Public participation and consultation are essential for building trust with government organisations.  We spoke with Jason Downs, Leader for Engagement at the South Australian Department of State Development, to find out how government organisations can effectively engage disengaged communities to drive positive outcomes.  Read more to find out why Jason considers trust and genuine relationships to be a fundamental key to enhancing community engagement.

Konnect Learning: How can government organisations best engage with disengaged communities?

Jason Downs: Primarily there is a need to develop a strong sense and understand as to why communities are disengaged, what is the history, what is the issue, is there a background story driving this lack of engagement, generally there is. Once this is understood the next step is establishing a relationship and building a level of trust and understanding, this is often referred to as pre engaging. Once a relationship is developed then a plan of interaction can often be co designed with the group to ensure interaction, or it may be in some cases the group doesn’t wish to be engaged and this must be respected.

KL: Why do some communities become disengaged in the first place?

JD: Generally there is a breakdown in relationships caused by a lack of trust. In some cases communities find dealing with government agencies a waste of time, complicated and of no value. In some instances communities themselves become fractured and strong personalities can drive agendas which cause others to become disengaged as well.

KL: How do you genuinely reengage communities?

JD: Relationships and trust are central to any interactions. The critical success factor to building these is listening to people and understanding their worldviews, not assuming and not engaging to tell or sell.

KL: How do disengaged communities effect public sector organisations as a whole?

JD: Generally these communities often go under the radar unless there is a specific requirement to engage them or a demand to do so.

KL: Why is it important to engage with disengaged communities?

JD: I think this is a case by case issue, as mentioned some communities don’t wish to be engaged and must be respected. It is still necessary to understand why and having honest conversations and building relationships may over time change this. As a practitioner however the more people who can be engaged on a particular matter that impacts upon them the better the end result can be in terms of progressing. Often the disengaged have the greatest knowledge and solutions to issues

Jason Downs will be chairing Community & Stakeholder Engagement for Government 2018 this July In Canberra.  Attend this summit to learn how to effectively engage disengaged communities and innovate your public sector engagement strategy.   

The time for traditional media is over

The time for traditional media is over

 

Digital communications are far more efficient than traditional media. When delivering your department message, digital mediums can spread the word to large audiences your audience in a fraction of the time. We talked to Lachlan McKenzie, Assistant Director, Strategy and Media to find out how Transport for NSW is driving productivity through their digital communications strategy. Read more to find out why Lachlan thinks that traditional media no longer the communications king.

 

Konnect Learning: How have digital mediums changed the way Government departments communicate in the last 10 years?

 

Lachlan McKenzie: Probably one of the most dramatic shifts centres around how the majority of our communications channels now go directly to customers or stakeholders, bypassing the media almost completely.

In the past we would rely heavily on media releases to pitch the information we wanted to transmit through to various audiences.

Given the declining resource levels across the media industry, and burgeoning competition for journalists’ attention, it makes sense to exploit ways that are more efficient in reaching our audiences and easier to control the messages that are conveyed to them.

 

KL: What has been the biggest road block you’ve encountered while building your digital communication strategy?

 

LM: I’ve come into an organisation where there are a number of legacy platforms or channels that made sense sometime ago, but may not anymore. My approach is “what’s this meant to do, does it still do it and if so how could we do it better?”

In that sense, the road block is the menagerie of systems and status quo assumptions about how digital communications is being done, in comparison to how it should be done.

 

KL: What impact have digital mediums had on reaching external stakeholders?

 

LM: With a number of major infrastructure projects, we manage the disruption communication that goes to every individual and stakeholder that is either identified by us, or signs up for regular tailored communication.

Through websites like MySydneyCBD.nsw.gov.au we’re able to provide tailored information on a regular basis that can tell a business on George Street or a resident in East Sydney what’s coming up in their part of Sydney and how to plan around it if necessary.

 

KL: What road block do you think Government Departments still need to overcome?

 

LM: Traditional media is not king, it’ll tell you it is… but I disagree. More people get news from their Facebook feeds than through any other medium – noting the propensity for mastheads to prioritise breaking news through their social channels.

There will always be press conferences and media releases, but Government shouldn’t be afraid to break more news direct to customers, stakeholders and voters direct through social and make traditional media do some ‘journalism.’

 

Attend the Government Digital Communications Summit to hear how Transport for NSW used their digital communications strategy to reach stakeholders protect their department reputation in the recent industrial action across Sydney Trains.

10 Top Tips for fostering a positive company culture

Research is increasingly revealing some scary statistics when it comes to employee satisfaction. Employees aren’t engaged, trust in our leaders is at an all-time low, and employees are on the constant lookout for something new, exciting and more appealing. The fact is the happier your employees, the more productive, loyal and committed they will become.

You cannot underestimate the importance of a positive company culture. Get that right, and so much of your business will fall into place. Follow these top tips to create a more effective culture in your workplace.

Communication is key

We are all starting to realise the value in realising effective communication in the workplace. A tight communication strategy and an open-door policy can make strides in changing the way your employees see both the leadership team and the company. If you have five minutes, we highly recommend taking a moment to view these hilarious videos about communication in the workplace.

Be the right kind of leader

There are some pretty uninspiring examples of rubbish leadership out there – quick to put people down and crush morale. Striving for power and superficial congratulation is the quickest route to becoming a crappy leader. Be an authentic, genuine, effective and trustworthy leader, and your team will follow you to the ends of the world and back.

Know your vision and communicate your goals

When your team understands your wider vision, they are more likely to be invested in it. Create achievable goalposts for all employees and create a direct link back to your wider company vision. This way your team is always connected to your higher overall goal.

Do everything in your power to engage your team

Employee engagement is one of the most important tools in maintaining satisfaction, loyalty and productivity. Don’t be another statistic. Don’t make the same mistakes as so many companies. Your culture is entirely reliant on whether or not your team is engaged with it. Read Dale Carnegie’s 50 Employee Engagement Ideas and Tips for some hands-on advice.

Whatever decisions you make – be transparent with your team

We often talk about the value of transparency in our blog posts, because you really cannot underestimate how valuable it can be. When someone feels trusted they are more likely to trust in return. Your team will be more powerful, more loyal and more engaged when you involve them in the process.

Celebrate when things go well

We are so often quick to criticise when things don’t go to plan – looking for a face to blame in a bid to ensure it doesn’t happen again. What about the wins? Your team has achieved their goals and instead of celebrating, it’s business as usual. Celebrating those wins with your team is crucial to a positive culture and there are numerous ongoing advantages.

Foster health and wellbeing

Employee health and wellbeing are not just buzzwords to repeat in your annual report. If you want to keep a solid, satisfied, productive workforce, you absolutely must actively support their mental and physical health. Following these simple tips, are just some of the ways you can improve your workplace health and wellbeing.

Promote teamwork and camaraderie

As we’ve mentioned your company culture is entirely dependent on the investment of your team. Without them, it’s lip-service for the board. Your team needs to feel that they are part of something – they need to feel like a team. Work on building a feeling of camaraderie amongst your employees by implementing changes such as the recommendations in this Small Business article.

Inject a little bit of humour

We all love to laugh, it makes us happy and builds positivity. In the workplace, there are real and tangible advantages of injecting a little bit of humour into your workplace. Don’t be afraid to throw a little fun into your work. If it is consistent with your wider goals, it’ll only serve to improve your company culture overall. Watch this hysterical Twitter video on workplace culture for a little inspiration.

Support training and development

Nothing shows you’re invested in your team more than when you actively invest in their development. The wise words of Richard Branson are timeless and so true. Create an effective learning and development program, and you’ll reap the rewards.

Culture is a fickle thing. If you get it wrong, you can forever scar your reputation and business overall. Register for the Konnect Learning Fostering Company Culture Masterclass and you are on the path to business success.