With industries around the globe raising the bar on innovations that drive personalized experiences, many government organizations also feel pressure to deliver better customer service in order to maintain public trust and credibility. As a result, they are seeking ways to leverage disruptive technologies to drive program impact, even as priorities and needs change.

Rising customer expectations are disrupting every industry. In a global study of consumers conducted by management consultancy PwC, survey respondents overwhelmingly agree their business has been impacted in the past five years by a greater need for customer centricity, with nearly half (49%) of all business leaders surveyed describing this impact as “significant.”

This shift poses quite a challenge for the public sector. Government does not have customers in the commercial sense, but nonetheless serves citizens, businesses, and other stakeholders as “customers.” And government has unique constraints. It’s highly regulated, with layers of oversight and scrutiny on budgets and priorities. Governments are risk-averse because they deliver critical public services; however, this can leave them hesitant to make needed changes. But even with these intricacies, a real shift in mindset has started to emerge globally.

Over the past year, I’ve had the privilege of working with officials all over the world — from Belgium, France, the United Kingdom, Australia, the United States, and more. And teams across government are starting to look at digital transformation from the customer perspective.

I’ve seen successful public sector teams make this customer-first shift with two strategies: empower employees to do their best work, and then build a customer-centric culture. Together these strategies form a powerful combination to deliver modern customer service, fulfill the mission more effectively, and safeguard the public trust.


Empower employees to do their best work

Great customer experiences actually start by taking care of employees. Employees who are highly engaged and committed to their mission are those equipped with the right skills, with technology that makes it easier for them to do their jobs, and supportive leadership.

Often this means breaking down silos, connecting interactions and touchpoints across the customer journey. Technology is key to uniting teams around the customer. Bringing the front-line program teams together with the IT department as systems are integrated and new apps are rolled out helps everyone focus on service delivery and the customer.

Employees no longer spend their time working around cumbersome tools to get the job done. Instead, they use a 360-degree customer view, as well as data-driven insights to form the right set of actions needed for each unique outcome.


Build a customer-centric culture

The second piece of the equation is understanding your customers.

According to Integrated Transformation, an Economist Intelligence Unit report found “respondents overwhelmingly agree that businesses that do not include customers in innovation processes—not just frontline customer service—will fall behind.”

The natural tendency in government has been to go “inside-out.” Programs and services are delivered according to how bureaucracies are structured, and how siloed technologies and processes reinforce the organizational chart.

To go “outside-in” means understanding what your customers value and need, first, and then seeing where programs, processes, and technology need to change to meet customers where they are.

It’s all about creating engaging employee and customer experiences, like a case management system that unifies efforts internally and externally by providing a centralized view of all relevant case information.


The case management journey for government organizations

The need to improve customer service and customer experience (CX) has never been more important, especially for the public sector. Government organizations have historically struggled to meet stakeholder expectations and needs with transparency and agility, due to their reliance on legacy systems that were rigid, unscalable, and expensive to maintain.

Governments around the world are turning their intentions toward delivering experiences stakeholders come to expect from the commercial sector. With solutions like case management, the public sector can more effectively manage the increasingly mobile-enabled, responsive, and innovative customer experience.

For example, one large city previously had 12 different ways to lodge a graffiti complaint, (depending on which internal department was responsible for the graffiti removal), causing confusion and frustration among residents. Using a customer-first approach, the city consolidated, not only graffiti removal, but all other municipal services, and standardized on the Salesforce platform for case management and service delivery. Residents now have an easy one-stop portal for all municipal services and don’t have to navigate a complex bureaucracy to get help. Furthermore, they can quickly see the status of their request and track service completion. Such transparency can play a key role in making their communities thrive.

Salesforce helps manage the full case management lifecycle for a wide variety of use cases, including contact centers, inspections, grants management, talent management, and health and human services.

To evaluate the impact of an investment in case management, read the study, The Total Economic Impact TM Of Salesforce Case Management For Government.