Putting the citizen at the heart of everything: How technology can help enable a citizen-centric public service

As a leader in the public sector, you probably find yourself under similar pressures to any business leader, with the expectation that you absolutely have to do more for less year after year. While you’re charged with saving money and reducing your cost to serve, at the heart of everything you do there is your customer, or citizen, who needs to be kept top of mind in all considerations.

Putting the citizen at the heart of everything: How technology can help enable a citizen-centric public service

In a world where the benchmark for a modern consumer experience is forever on the up – and people’s expectations rising with it – it’s now an absolute imperative to provide a consistently outstanding citizen journey across every single one of your organisation’s touchpoints.

What are the cornerstone elements for success in making citizen-centricity a reality? And how can Intergen and the Microsoft platform deliver a service management environment that supports ongoing micro-revolutions that will help you meet the expectations of all your stakeholders?

Putting the citizen at the heart of your service design philosophy

The process starts with a mindset change: that your approach can’t be constrained by the old ways, or policy designed for paper-based and face-to-face counter service.

The key question to ask is: How will we dramatically improve the citizen’s journey?

Without any doubt you will need to digitise processes. This is the new self-service world we all expect, after all, which is also more than likely complemented by Artificial Intelligence (AI), accessibility options and ideally the ability to interact in Te Reo. But it’s more than this…

More questions to ask:

Where is the friction in the process?

Why are citizens forced to come to a branch or have a face-to-face interview? 

Are we asking people to provide information that the government already holds, to prove and re-prove their identity and personal information at every interaction?

How often could a face-to-face interview be undertaken using video calling? We can even use cognitive services to validate that the person in the video matches the photo on record!    

The new experience-centric world we deliver for citizens envisages a day (in the present) when you leverage the rich data government already holds. It allows many services to be accessed together, and it moves from the need to “apply” for a service to acknowledging entitlement, and automatically enrolling a citizen in the service – they shouldn’t need to ask or apply when they are already entitled! In effect, citizens are automatically granted access to the services certain life events require; and, better still, the first agency interacting will also make sure boxes are “ticked” with their counterparts to eliminate the need to go from one form to another!

The payback is that our tangata whenua (citizens) receive what they are entitled to. No need to access a branch, lifting the barriers imposed by personal conditions and the perceived embarrassment of needing help.

Providing your people with a compelling working experience

The war on talent is actually an ecosystem of battles, with each public sector agency pitted against one another to compete for motivated people who do a great job and really care.

So, what helps you attract, retain and engage a public sector service management workforce? The answer, clearly, is “many things” but the minimum “table stakes” are often measured in the technology experience you provide.

When we look at an outstanding service environment, it can only be achieved when the front-end channel (be it digital, phone, social, or face-to-face) is seamlessly supported and integrated with a back-end service management environment. Digitising a front-end process without addressing and delivering elegant service design will simply set up expectations for a citizen experience your people have no chance of living up to!

What does “good” look like for your people? Well, given what we know – that your people have big hearts and want to help – we need to look at how they spend their time. We need to design processes that automate services wherever possible, freeing up time for your people to focus on those situations where citizens are on the fringe, when empathy and a personal touch are the only way to make sure they get the outcome they seek.

The key benefits of a modern working environment are threefold:

  • The first is being able to move effort expended to where it matters most (to citizens in real need)
  • The second is being able to create an environment of agility, to flex your service design “muscle” as and when you need. Change has to be ongoing and your architecture must support adaption
  • Third, a modern workplace creates an environment for structured (process) success and unstructured (information) sharing. In a modern working environment teams can’t be siloed and segmented by service or specialist skills; talent needs to be pooled and knowledge needs to be shared and created in the same way it is in our personal lives. 

At Intergen we are passionate about what we do for our public sector clients, and the role we play in helping to deliver tomorrow’s advantage today to agencies and the people they serve. To find out how Cohesion can help your organisation set the pace of change, contact us today.