Helping the public sector become Digital by Default
Citizens today are increasingly embracing digital channels, such as the web, email and social media. Led by central government and its Digital by Default agenda, the public sector is therefore changing how it communicates to match the needs of citizens, patients and other audiences. More and more services can now be completed online, from renewing a tax disc to registering children for school.
Digital by Default delivers two main benefits – it improves the choice for citizens, enabling them to use their preferred channels, at a time that suits them. And for public sector organisations it increases efficiency as it removes paperwork and manual processing from operations, with citizens using self-service systems that capture data quickly and distribute it to the right department. In practice, Digital by Default introduces two, interlinked issues for the public sector:
As the private sector has found, adding new channels actually increases contact from customers – and multiplies their expectations. As it is often easier to get in touch through email or social media, compared to the phone or letter, more people will use these channels. Overall this is a good thing as it creates closer relationships with taxpayers and patients, providing insight into their wants and needs. However customers expect the same level of service, whatever the type of organisation they are dealing with, meaning they want fast, accurate answers to their questions.
Growth in unstructured contact
Unlike filling in paper-based forms, digital channels support and encourage unstructured contact (i.e. not organised in a pre-defined format). Understanding and successfully responding to unstructured queries takes longer, potentially impacting response speeds, customer satisfaction and jeopardising efficiency gains.
Public sector organisations therefore need technology that can help them quickly understand this fast-increasing of unstructured, digital queries and deliver quick, consistent and comprehensive answers.
To meet these needs Eptica already works with public sector customers include the NHS Business Services Authority and the London Borough of Brent. Our customer interaction software underpins Digital by Default initiatives as it delivers improved quality of service, faster resolution of queries and increased efficiency, across all channels, including the web, email, social media, chat and telephone.
Building on this, and showing our commitment to the market, our cloud-based multichannel customer interaction software has just been accepted on the G-Cloud 4 framework. G-Cloud allows the public sector to buy cloud-based services off the shelf, avoiding lock-in to expensive contracts with single suppliers, and encouraging cost-effective, innovative solutions. It is available to organisations across the public sector, including central and local government, education and health services, devolved government, the emergency services, defence and not-for-profit organisations.
Eptica Web Self-Service, Pro Active Web Chat and Multi Channel Agent Desktop are now available via the government’s CloudStore portal to any UK public sector organisation, within the Software as a Service (SaaS) category.
As citizens demand a more personalised, responsive and faster experience, the public sector has the chance to both improve efficiency and increase satisfaction. As we move into 2014, we’re confident we can help public sector organisations to manage the increasing number of unstructured queries flowing through digital channels and consequently transform how they operate going forward.