Government agencies and departments are often tasked with providing the same services as private companies, but with fewer resources to work with. Handling processes as diverse as local city elections, federal health programs, disability benefits, and more, government agencies must find innovative ways to serve the public while dealing with understaffed departments and budget constraints. In addition to keeping costs low, ensuring the confidentiality of sensitive information and complying with necessary standards is a major concern for government agencies. Security and reliability must be key components when considering any outsourced provider. Beyond that, government agencies must meet the customer service expectations of the citizens who rely on their services. A 2014 study from Nuance showed that consumer attitudes are shifting towards a preference for automated voice self-service. Government agencies can benefit from this trend by transforming many tedious and resource-heavy tasks into a streamlined voice self-service experience.
Government agencies face challenges including:
• Communicating regulatory and time-sensitive messages to the public.
• Citizens demanding 24/7 access to FAQs and basic government-related information.
• Understaffed call centers unable to deal with high call volume and unanticipated call spikes.
• Collection and compilation of necessary information related to government programs.
• Maintaining positive caller satisfaction by providing the public with proactive outbound alerts.
• Funding many different government initiatives with a constrained budget.
Our perspective on government services for customers:
Government agencies must find INNOVATIVE ways to serve the public
The government is responsible for a wide variety of public services, which means an automated system must be able to comprehend many types of caller FAQ requests. Designing an IVR script to handle FAQs with a decision tree that uses a touch-tone system or directed dialogue is simply unrealistic. Government agencies need a system that gets rid of the long, complicated menus and allows callers to simply make their request using natural language. However, a person asking for directions to a post office and a person looking for the postal address to send in a tax return may sound similar, but are two very different things. Finding a system that has the ability to recognize and comprehend a caller’s request is essential in creating a more streamlined and efficient approach.
There are many government agencies that rely on intake processing as the first step in providing a service for the public. Aid Agencies, Hospitals, clinics, unemployment offices, public transportation authorities, and DMV offices are just a few examples of government entities that require citizens to provide basic information needed to complete a service. Much of intake processing involves collecting repetitive information, which takes valuable live agent time, but is too complicated for a traditional IVR to handle. With voice self-service, the burden is taken off the live agent and the caller experience is actually improved because of shorter queue times. Intake processes can vary greatly, depending on the government agency, but an intelligent self-service system can collect and process virtually all types of data in a safe, efficient manner.
Keeping the public informed and aware with outbound communication can benefit government agencies in several different ways. Reminding citizens of upcoming jury duty, an unpaid traffic ticket, or an upcoming election are just a few of the ways federal, state, and local departments can make processes more efficient. Messages delivered by the government are often time-sensitive and require strict adherence to regulations. A hosted IVR solution should be able to handle spikes in call volume and comply with the highest security standards. By proactively communicating with the public through outbound notifications, government agencies create a better citizen experience and more simplified procedures. If the need is not predictable or consistent then using a Voice-as-a-Service solution that requires no hardware is extremely cost effective.
Overall, the public depends on the government for everything from medical coverage, to driving services, to mail delivery. An automated system must be flexible enough to support call types that are as diverse as the constituents that government agencies represent. Automating applications like outbound notifications, intake processing, FAQs, and more can improve processes across all government agencies and deliver a better experience for the public.
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