The following is a summary of an article published on GX.ae, a global government services excellence portal launched by the UAE Prime Minister’s Office.
Current government services are facing accessibility issues that affect customers’ trust and confidence in the government and its services. Therefore, there is a greater need for building and redesigning government services that result in delightful experiences for customers as the end goal. With the tools and technologies available today, governments can aspire to provide customer-focused services. This requires a fundamental transformation of their processes to create an approach that is focused on customer centricity, design thinking, and user experience as a primary consideration for decision-making. The fundamental transformation needed in this case is a distinct innovation that is yet to become mainstream in the area of government-service thinking – customer-centric design-led user experiences.
Many leading governments in the world are currently moving towards centralized applications (super apps) and service centers that seek to be the primary interface when dealing with multiple government service providers, but this is only the beginning. The focus now should be on designing all service provisions with the customer’s user experience in mind as the end goal is to provide a positive experience.
1. Customer Centricity
Customer experience and expectations are the central and beginning focus of all service development processes of any good company. One way this can be learned and achieved is through a series of workshop sessions that companies can attend in order to immerse themselves in the customer’s shoes, allowing them to learn about customer priorities and expectations of the company as a product provider, which can also be applied to governments. This helps to design a customer experience that leads to a positive experience.
A design-led process starts its focus with the customer as the starting point and not the product that you wish to provide. Therefore, it sometimes requires product teams to take a step back from their idealized product and go back to step one – understand what it is that the customer wants to solve, and instead of pushing the product to the customer, design the product that the customer desires and would benefit from.
3. User Experience
As the end goal of a process is to make customers happy, the next step is figuring out all the user journeys for your customer. For a product, what would be the ideal user experience if you were to build the product from scratch? What is the current number of steps the customer has to confront? How many documents do they have to upload? Once the entire process and experience are reviewed and re-designed, the number of friction points is minimized as much as possible. This process of service/experience should exceed customer expectations of the benchmark of the time, be it tech firms or luxury goods providers. It can also be customer expectations of the specific industry – in our case, the government – but that would be setting the bar too low.
Case Study: NSW Customer Strategy
The New South Wales (NSW) government is a model case study of a customer-centric approach to government services as the government has a Minister for Customer Services and aims to become the world’s most customer-centric government by 2030. Being a customer-centric government means placing citizens – the customers – at the center of decision-making. The NSW aims to use customer feedback to better understand and anticipate their needs and deliver better services through the use of the NSW Government website (nsw.gov.au) to consolidate online content from across the whole government and make it easy for customers to find what they need through a single platform. The NSW Government program focuses on 4 key customer-centric phases: User Research, Design, Testing, and Reviewing and Iterating. The NSW plans to effectively measure indicators through several methods including customer experience surveys, data and sentiment analytics, well-being statistics from official government sources, and community panels.