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How Stellar Digital Services Boost Citizen Experience and Trust

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If you’re a public agency employee, set aside that hat for a moment. Think about yourself as a citizen of your town, city, or state. Remember the last time you needed to renew your driver’s license, get a copy of a document, enroll your child in school, or interact with a government agency in some respect. What was that experience like? Were you satisfied with the process, the speed of responses, and the outcome of the situation?

Did the agency provide top-notch digital options?

If you said yes—your government employees deserve a high-five and a gift basket.

In a global Salesforce survey, only 16% of respondents agreed that the government sector successfully uses technology to create great customer experiences—the lowest out of all 17 industries.

It’s clear that most government agencies have their work cut out for them! Why do digital services matter, and what can you (putting back on your public employee hat) do about it? In this blog post, we explore why governments should prioritize digital services to elevate citizen satisfaction and strengthen trust.

The Demand for Digital Services

The COVID-19 pandemic was the catalyst for many agencies to begin modernizing services. As a result, most citizens now say that they prefer to interact with government services online.

And it’s easy to see why. Digital platforms are available 24/7, so citizens don’t have to rearrange their schedules to visit an office during business hours or wait in long queues. For example, the City of Salem, Virginia created an online payment portal for property taxes that dramatically reduced the number of walk-in payments year-over-year. And Cabarrus County, North Carolina implemented a chatbot to help citizens apply for rental assistance with reduced wait times at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Enhanced Transparency, Accountability, and Citizen Engagement

Although we believe you want to meet citizens’ expectations simply because it’s the right thing to do, there is even more at stake: Digital services help to build trust in government. In a study by Salesforce, 87% of respondents noted that a great digital government experience would increase their trust in public organizations.

Governments that prioritize digital services demonstrate their commitment to meeting citizens’ expectations and fostering trust. According to a Forrester study, for every one percent increase in an agency’s customer experience (CX) score, 1.9% more customers will do what the organization asks of them! After the struggles that agencies saw in getting constituents to comply with COVID-19 policies and recommendations, it’s easy to see the importance of trust in carrying out your mission.

The City of Naples, Florida provides a strong example of an agency committed to digital services. After they revamped their website and adopted JustFOIA to process open records requests, they even earned award for increased transparency.

Digitization also facilitates citizen engagement. Through Content Services Platforms, agencies can provide easy access to information that their citizens are looking for. Colorado’s Department of Natural Resources and Salt Lake City, Utah both use Laserfiche to publish searchable meeting records and other important documents.

Tips for Starting Your Digitization Journey

Ready to start your digitization journey? Keep in mind these key features that ensure good citizen experiences:

Mobile-responsive sites and mobile apps: With the increasing use of smartphones and tablets, governments should prioritize developing mobile-responsive websites and mobile apps to cater to citizens’ preferences for accessing services on the go.

Accessibility: Governments must ensure that their digital services are accessible to all citizens, including those with disabilities, by adhering to accessibility standards.

Non-Digital Options: Don’t throw out the printer just yet. Those who prefer digital services tend to be younger and have higher household incomes than those that don’t. It’s important that agencies continue to provide non-digital options for those who don’t have the technology or skills to access digital resources.

Security: Data security is a top concern for citizens. Governments should implement robust security measures to protect citizens’ sensitive information and maintain their trust.

One Step at a Time: Even small steps can strengthen the public’s trust in your agency. Our Roadmap to Digital Transformation in the Public Sector outlines five broad phases for modernizing your services. It can seem overwhelming, but you don’t have to do it all at once—or on your own.