Citizen Empowerment Through ServiceNow

By Shakira Talbot

Traditionally, the conception of the “consumer” and the “citizen” have always been distinct. Consumers demand choice, speed, and simplicity, whereas citizens want security, protection, and integrity. This distinction is fast becoming irrelevant: the “new citizen” wants it all.

A shift towards digitally transformative technologies – powered by cloud-enabled applications – is one way that public sector bodies can evolve to meet the standards of this new type of citizen. But there’s still a long way to go. We consider the demands of the “new citizen” and explore how an innovative CSM platform could reshape the way that public sector organisations manage end-to-end service delivery and facilitate citizen empowerment.

The demands of the “new citizen”

All around the world, public sector organisations are facing up to the realities of digital transformation. Unfortunately, there is still a serious gap between what citizens want and what the public sector has been able to provide, with just 58% of the UK believing that the impact of digital transformation on public services has been positive. While the UK government is committed to a digital first strategy, public sector CIOs claim that the digital transformation divide between public and private sector is only getting bigger.

At the same time, technological innovations in the private sector have raised the bar for government organizations, with citizens expecting consumer-level interactions from public services. After experiencing seamless transactions and services in their day-to-day lives, the siloed and inefficient systems used by public sector bodies can be relatively prohibitive to use, and are no longer seen as fit for purpose.

For the “new citizen”, there’s no reason why there should be any discernible difference in quality of service between – for example – paying your council tax and booking a flight with a commercial airline. As a result, the public sector will need to fundamentally rethink its approach to customer service delivery.

Barriers to quality customer service delivery in the public sector

Despite the push towards digital transformation, customer service in the public sector is often hindered by clunky, unintuitive platforms that people find difficult to navigate. So, what’s wrong with public sector customer service delivery as it stands? There’s several different problems, including:

  • The need to re-enter the same information into multiple systems
  • Lengthy, complicated processes
  • Compartmentalised structures and a lack of joined-up service
  • Lack of personalisation
  • Inconsistency across channels
  • Inability to engage with public sector bodies through the channel of choice
  • Lack of 24/7 access to public sector services

In addition, there’s a serious problem with citizen portals. Although they’re in vogue and seen as an easy way to connect citizens to the services they need, citizen portals are often designed around business processes, rather than user needs, making them frustrating to use. While a personalised experience of digital services is desirable for lots of people, the citizen portals offered by many local and central government bodies simply aren’t up to the task. In many cases, an enormous amount of money has been blown on portals that still aren’t live, all of which serves to impede the progress of customer service delivery in the public sector.

Cloud-enabled CSM solutions

The rewards of switching over to a cloud-based CSM platform may be substantial. According to a recent survey from Sopra Steria, 87% of UK citizens want a one-stop digital portal to access digital services, while the appetite for a joined-up digital government remains strong. ServiceNow CSM, for example, allows citizens to effortlessly access digital public services and solve their problems much more quickly.

Cloud-based CSM applications are able to take advantage of the internet of things (IoT) to deliver proactive customer service (as opposed to high-cost and ineffective reactive services), pinpointing and resolving issues in real-time, often before citizens are even aware of them. In addition, they can provide a personalised experience for citizens, while also allowing them to connect via their channel of choice. This helps to create a customer-centric journey that makes the whole experience quick and effortless. Furthermore, CSM applications drive efficiency by automating common problems and encouraging self-service, reducing the workload of public sector employees. Put simply, cloud-based CSM applications can help public sector bodies to create citizen-centric services that put user experience first, and enabling the shift to citizen empowerment that has been brought about by the wider process of digital transformation.

Regardless of where you are in your digital journey, the shift to a cloud-based CSM application with proactive customer service capabilities can be valuable. If you’re interested in the benefits of a customer service management application for the public sector, find out more about ServiceNow CSM here.