Is customer experience also important in the public sector? Yes – for so many reasons. Here we'll give you an overview.
Making Information Available
For many companies, improving "customer experience" is a high priority. We can clearly see that as digitization advances, people care more and more about how easily and smoothly they can digitally interact with their providers. An improved customer experience includes comprehensibility and intuitiveness, and content relevance is also important. In short, it's all about how well a customer's needs are met.
For a long time now, the customer experience issue hasn't only been important in the private sector. Governments, administrations, and public institutions all over the world are increasingly realizing how relevant this subject is in their interactions with the general public. Even if in many cases there is less talk of customer experience than of "citizen experience," there is still the same need: public institutions are increasingly striving to provide members of the public or "customers" with the best possible offerings on their digital platforms.
Why is that?
Reasons for Digitizing Administrative Services
Depending on the offering and design, there are various reasons why the public sector is increasingly focusing on a positive customer or citizen experience. This includes:
- A more efficient and often more cost-effective design with shorter processing times
- Better support for employees through digitized processes and information retrievability (improved employee experience)
- Faster project implementation
- More transparency, which also increases trust in the authorities
- More investment from abroad or from other regions through simplified authorization procedures
- Better quality of life.
Potential Digital Offerings in the Public Sector Include:
- Completing administrative tasks (such as applications, certifications, authorizations, etc.), either completely or partially
- Viewing protected documents and contracts
- Having information available on procedures and guidelines
- Providing opportunities for collaboration and public participation with projects, and more.
What are the Hallmarks of a Positive Customer Experience in the Public Sector?
These offerings are not only extremely relevant for cities and municipalities, but for higher-level authorities and institutions as well. Regardless of authority, a positive citizen experience is distinguished by:
- Relevance, members of the public and other stakeholders being able to independently solve problems via self-service options
- Accessible and transparent information
- Speed and comprehensibility during the transaction
In a nutshell, just as we all use digital services such as online banking and online shopping, the public sector's digital services should be just as integral to our everyday lives.
Almost all the governments and decision-makers worldwide have recognized that a country's public sector digitization is also a sign of its future-proofing. Many countries and regions now have ambitious plans and laws in place for moving forward with their public sector's digitization, and as a result, bringing about a positive citizen experience.
Challenges for Digitization in the Public Sector
But it's easier said than done. The difficulties in administrative digital transformation can often appear in the details:
- How can relevant inventory systems be integrated into the tool?
- How can the public sector be as independent and flexible as possible in developing what it can offer?
- How can the tightest possible security be guaranteed, especially when handling sensitive data?
In many cases, state-of-the-art digital experience platforms (DXPs) have emerged as the technology of choice for bringing about a positive "citizen experience" — while also taking into account the challenges mentioned above.
As the name states, DXPs are platforms that provide the basis for state-of-the-art digital offerings. In other words, unlike software products developed for a specific purpose, DXPs can be used as the backbone for entire digitization offerings. They form a whole toolset of different features ranging from content management for content editing to numerous functions for administrating and developing interfaces, workflows, user databases, catalogs, and much more.
In other words, a DXP assimilates itself into an administration or provider's existing processes and makes these accessible to users as a digital offering.
Not Limited to Digital Channels
Even if most of the efforts to improve the citizen experience go into digital channels, what ultimately counts in the public's eyes is their overall interaction with the administration or authority. Of course, the digital offering's accessibility plays a major role here— but so does how tailored and useful the solution is to the problem in question.
Here's an example: a member of public has already applied online to have a new document issued. For various reasons, however, the order must be placed on-site at the administrative office; however the applicant should not have to resubmit their data and forms, as these have already been logged via the digital channel.
Though this meshing of digital and analog processes seems logical at first, it is often not at all easy to implement. In this aspect, too, digital experience platforms provide the solution through their ability to integrate different tools and systems — and a consistently positive "citizen experience," across all touchpoints.
Putting Digitalization into Practice: the City of Vienna
One example of this approach is the City of Vienna's digitization strategy. Vienna is well on its way to becoming one of the "digitization capitals" of Europe. One of the cornerstones of this strategy was the choice of the Liferay digital experience platform as the basis for almost all of the city's digitization efforts. Liferay is available as a platform to all of the city's departments and institutions so that they can implement their own digital offerings. For example, the city's schools can use this platform strategy in just 1 to 2 hours to develop their own websites.
Liferay: the Optimal DXP for the Public Sector
The open source product Liferay DXP is not only characterized by its technological performance, but also by its high connectivity. As an API-first platform, Liferay can be effortlessly connected to any conceivable existing public sector tool to link internal processes and digital offerings. Thanks to open source, administrations also constantly have total freedom to develop whatever they want while also benefiting from a high level of security and regular maintenance through Liferay DXP's subscription models.
So, with a platform approach based on DXPs, making a state-of-the-art citizen experience happen isn't that hard anymore. What counts is your own offering — and the right platform.