Evolving Public Sector Self-Service for Next-Generation Citizen Experiences
Great customer experience has become more than just a competitive business advantage; it is now a presidential priority.
President Biden recently signed an executive order to enhance the federal customer experience, calling for public sector agencies to embrace technology to modernize the delivery of government services, empower government workers to solve problems, and make it easier for citizens to access public services and benefits. State and local government and education (SLED) agencies will also play a big role in delivering on this mandate, as will emerging innovations like artificial intelligence and automation.
In fact, according to research by Deloitte, 79% of government officials say automation is already making a significant positive impact on their organizations, and more than 80% of early adopter public sector organizations are currently using or planning to use AI.
Let’s take a closer look at how SLED agencies can deploy these technologies in practical, cost-effective ways to improve the citizen experience.
Instantly scale self-service and support more channels
Consumers are more comfortable using self-service and digital channels than ever before. And they want to be able to engage with government agencies in the same way they interact with their favorite shoe store or food delivery app. Adding to the challenge of quickly evolving to meet these new expectations is the sheer number of citizens who now rely on their local agencies for critical information and services as a result of the pandemic.
One state agency facing this scenario was able to quickly implement Five9 Intelligent Virtual Agents (IVAs) to provide conversational self-service over the phone. IVAs use AI and Natural Language Processing to solve routine requests, such as booking appointments or processing payments. Deploying IVAs during the early days of the pandemic allowed the agency to quickly stand up an automated system that could answer calls, collect citizens’ information, and automatically schedule callbacks for when a live representative was available to provide the best answers and support.
This system was simple and cost-effective to set up because Five9 uses a low-code development environment with pre-built IVA templates that can be easily customized by non-technical users. It helped the agency rapidly scale a “digital workforce” that handled 87% of the agency’s calls without human agents being involved. And in one week, IVAs scheduled over 65,000 callbacks – enabling citizens to get the help they needed without waiting hold.
IVAs can also provide conversational support across text messaging and web chat, which helps agencies serve more citizens across more of their preferred channels. For citizens that first contact an agency over web chat and then request to speak to a live agent over the phone, an IVA can reach out to the next available live agent and deliver the chat transcript to them, so they are prepared to take the call. Maintaining this context between interactions is key to providing customers a seamless experience on every channel. This is increasingly important, as Deloitte recently found that citizens rate state and local agencies high on trust if they think that their digital services are easy to use and help them accomplish what they need.
Extend operations in multiple languages at 10% of the cost of hiring more staff
One of the reasons IVAs are such a natural fit for government agencies is that they can provide self-service for citizens in more than 125 languages. Cloud APIs allow the technology to easily integrate with an organization’s data stores and back-end systems to complete common public sector service tasks, such as answering frequently asked questions, providing automated self-service for reporting a service outage, or activating a utility service. Agencies can also automate outbound phone or text messaging campaigns to send alerts during an emergency, notify citizens of service outages, and relay reminders for jury duty and other appointments.
And the best part? IVAs cost about 10% of what a live agent costs, which also makes them a great fit for the budget conscious public sector. For example, a large state agency implemented IVAs to process payments for several of its services, including driver’s license renewals and auto registration fees. The IVAs handled about 25,000 transactions per day, with 25% of them occurring outside of regular business hours. As a result, the agency was able to reallocate 35 of its full-time contact center agents for more complex tasks, saving hundreds of thousands of dollars each month in labor costs. The IVA application yielded an ROI payback for the organization within two weeks.
If you’re ready to create an IVA success story in your own SLED agency, Five9 and our Partners have deep experience working with public sector organizations, and we’re looking forward to hearing from you. You can also learn more about IVAs here, and stay tuned for part two of our public sector series on how the latest contact center technologies can empower government workers to be more productive and engaged in serving citizens.