Great customer service in government is the dream. It can mean shortened waiting times, quicker problem resolution and efficient delivery of knowledge from agent to customer. Further, with the improved quality of customer service in the private sector, the pressure for governments to step up their support is greater than ever.
In our previous post we explained why great customer service is important in government and today we explore how to make it happen.
1 Easy Access To Knowledge
The key to providing great customer service is knowledge. An effective customer experience strategy focuses on facilitating the fast, consistent and accurate delivery of knowledge.
We’ve written at length about building knowledge bases that empower customers to help themselves, but in reality, customer support teams need them too.
Instead of slowing down the problem resolution process by bouncing customer requests between departments, create a repository of information that is easily accessible. This is especially useful in government, due to the large amount of information that needs to be conveyed to different teams.
The knowledge base should also be easily updated, so information can be captured over the daily course of interaction with customers. Government organizations often have large number of departments that interact minimally. Thus, enabling support agents to update the knowledge base with frequently asked questions can help other agents resolve customer issues faster.
Beyond building a data archive, put extra effort into keeping information organized, retrievable and easily approachable by agents. A knowledge base that has a complicated user experience will deter agent use and end up being obsolete and unused. Encourage the use of a knowledge base within the entire organization so information is collected and disseminated in a clear and organized manner.
2 Multi-Channel Support
We’ve evangelised about multi-channel support in organizations, but it plays a more significant role in Government. Most government organizations only offer traditional channels of support— service centres and phone calls. Which means customers have to waste time travelling and physically waiting for their problems to be resolved, leading to inefficiency.
However, implementing multi-channel support goes deeper than just setting up social media accounts. Most government bodies have official accounts on Facebook and Twitter, but few actually dedicate support agents to answering customer queries that stream in.
You’ll need a full time support team to back up your support channels, whether it’s on Facebook, Twitter or live chat. When customers speak to you, they expect you to answer back.
Sushma Swaraj, the External Affairs Minister of India is the benchmark for what support on social media should be like. Not only is her team responsive, they also proceed to solve problems efficiently and effectively.
Customer service tools like Zendesk makes things easier for your team because they allow multi-channel management within a single cloud-based platform. Whether it is email, phone or even live chat, they can all be centrally managed and administered. This prevents multiple responses to a single customer email and allows each team member to keep up with ticket statuses.
3 Proactive Engagement
Proactive engagement works wonders for businesses. In Government, it can prevent unhappy customers and lessen the workload of your customer support agents.
By stepping in to help your customers before a problem arises, you reduce the need to resolve issues in future. Send out email reminders before tax filing is due with personalized information so each individual knows exactly what forms they need filled. Sometimes, a little reminder can go a long way in reducing the number of frantic calls your support team receive as deadlines draw closer.
However, knowing how to proactively engage with your customers in the most effective manner can be a challenge. Too many reminders and messages can make them tune out future engagement attempts. Too little and your messages might get missed.
Understanding your customers and constantly tweaking your efforts will help you find the optimal engagement strategy for your business.
4 Monitor and Adjust
Being able to quantify the performance of your support strategies lets you see what’s working and what isn’t. First, you’ll need to come up with metrics that define the quality of support. Businesses traditionally track conversions and churn rates, but a government could take note of resolution timings and customer satisfaction rates.
Once you identify the key metrics, track their performance and assess the impact of your strategies. If customer satisfaction dips, find out why. This will help you to stay on top of your customer service team and prevent small incidents from transforming into uncontrollable problems.
Keep your metrics transparent so your support team knows what they’re doing right. Set attainable goals and provide real-time updates to key metrics so progress can be monitored and there’s an immediate feedback loop.
Customer service doesn’t necessarily have to be bad in government. However, it does have to be given priority and attention in order to maintain high customer satisfaction rates and efficient processes.
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