Why is citizen engagement stagnant, or in some cases dropping? Why does the gap between timely delivery and citizen expectation seem to be growing, no matter what? Why is providing transparency so much more difficult today? These pain points seem ever-more prevalent and recognisable across public sector organisations.

Citizen engagement is less than desirable – with long lines, lots of paperwork, and the confusion of a bureaucracy makes it hard for citizens to access the right information. How often are citizens reporting issues vs. commenting (or complaining) on a soap box over social? How many elected positions ran with uncontested candidates in your last election?

Timely responses. How many times have you thought, “What more can we do to make this move faster? Why does progress on XYZ project seem to move so slow compared to everything else in life? How can we possibly do more with stricter budget and fewer resources all around?” Not only does this make it hard to motivate teams, but also it causes citizens to lose faith as they see responses lag and vague delivery commitments, impacting the government’s respectability from the perspective of their customers.

Transparency is difficult to deliver. Without transparency into the decision making process, progress against a request, or delivery impactors, citizens are left to make assumptions, that when paired with a lack of trust, tend to have a negative impact on relations with their governing bodies. Do you feel like this has impacted citizen relationships with your organisation, such as relations with local politicians, or the police department?

The reason for many of these pain points, as well as their solutions, can be attributed to the impact of technology in our lives and the requirement for government transformation. Government bodies must consider citizen lifestyles, needs and expectations to improve relations. Here are the six big trends to take note of…

1. Mobile   

Mobile gives citizens the power to connect to their government anywhere, anytime – and they have come to expect that level of engagement now that mobile is commonplace. This is good for government, as always-on citizens give organisations the ability to collect more data in context, enabling leaders to prioritise with more accuracy and be more aligned with what citizens care about all around.

2. Social   

Anywhere, anytime citizens tend to be anytime, anywhere customers. This means they have come to expect social interfaces as the user interface as much as they expect mobile accessibility, giving them an always-on receptacle for comments, inquiries, and request status. Social platforms help governments meet these demands in a scalable, cost conscious way by supplying a transparent and collaborative platform for engagement that is friendly to Q&A at the pace of conversation.

3. Apps    

With technology expanding an organisation’s potential reach, apps are becoming more and more popular as an internal asset. They are easily adapted to the next big mobile or tech trend (think apps for the Apple watch), helping organisations modernise/rationalise dated infrastructure at the pace of their citizens.

4. Connected Products    

More and more devices are coming online, revealing data that could never before be captured. While many organisations we talk to see this as a daunting, overwhelming force to be reckoned with, it’s not! By connecting ordinary objects, such as buses, trains, or stoplights to the internet, (made easier to service with apps on a common platform!) citizens will start to expose behavioural patterns that...

5. Data   

Unlock all kinds of data never before detectable. With increased data availability, variety, and context around everyday activities and citizen behaviour patterns, officials can better inform government strategy and resource planning.

6. 1:1 Journeys    

Customer experience – and therefore citizen experience – is the new differentiator, as new technologies enable customised, personal, more meaningful experiences with a given organisation. Just look at how taxi services have morphed so quickly with companies like Uber breaking down barriers between private and public sectors, changing the competitive landscape like government has never before seen. There is no reason why agencies can’t take this same approach to citizen services.

Ovum recently published a white paper that takes an in-depth look at how governments can tackle these trends, and use them to their advantage as outlined above with a cloud-model. Great food for thought to improve your citizen relationships. Download it here for free.