Tennessee redefines the customer experience for government services

This post is part three in a series about award-winning customer experience transformations. Part one focuses on Epicor, and part two focuses on NICE.

The Tennessee Department of Human Services (DHS) offers temporary economic assistance, work opportunities, and protective services that improve the lives of Tennesseans. By partnering with other agencies delivering services, the DHS helps citizens in need become self-sufficient and improve their quality of life.

The DHS found itself struggling with service delivery. Wait times at its customer service center peaked due to a large-scale voluntary employee buyout, a hiring freeze, and a dramatic increase in customer volumes.

According to Landon Cook, director of customer service operations at the DHS, “We experienced a perfect storm. Call center wait times shot up to more than two hours at peak periods, and email responses took several days on average. At the same time, we saw call center complaints increase 275%, and our annual escalated calls nearly doubled from 8,800 to 16,600. To deliver the level of service that our citizens deserve, we had to modernize our approach to customer service.”

From slow, manual processes to a responsive, omnichannel experience

At the time, the DHS customer service center still relied on antiquated manual processes to handle customer interactions. Inquiries were created, logged, and managed using a combination of emails, spreadsheets, and printouts.

The DHS needed a new customer service solution that empowered its team to serve Tennessee’s citizens. The department looked for a platform that would help it create a seamless customer experience, simplify and accelerate service delivery, unify workflows and share information, and deliver the insights its leadership needed to make data-driven decisions about customer service.

It chose ServiceNow Customer Service Management. Cook explains, “We looked at other products, but we had major concerns about security, expandability, and cost. On the other hand, ServiceNow ticked all the boxes. And, because our state IT department, Strategic Technology Solutions, already used ServiceNow and was very satisfied with it, that meant that we were part of a state-wide platform.”

A single view of customers

Cook continues, “We’re giving our customers the experience they deserve – and it’s not just about response times. Our services are now accessible by phone, email, live chat, lobby kiosks, and mobile. We deliver a consistent experience across all our channels, and we now have a single view of our customers that has broken down silos across our program areas, increasing collaboration and dramatically reducing duplicate inquiries. And, we now have the data and reports we need to continuously improve the services we deliver.”

Success breeds success

Cook also stresses the impact on team morale. “Before, we were struggling with negative perceptions, both internally and from our customers. Put simply, customer service staff were seen as the ‘bad guys,’ and that created low morale. Now, morale is at an all-time high as our success is recognized. We’ve even won an internal award from the State of Tennessee.”

Learn more about ServiceNow’s work with DHS: https://www.servicenow.com/customers/tennessee-dept-of-human-services.html.

Watch the recorded webinar as Landon Cook shares how a connected service experience drives CX ROI