Top 5 Predictions for Government and Public Sector Customer Service Part 1: 2014 in Review

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You may remember that I made some predictions for what would take place in government and public sector customer service in 2014. Now that we have moved into 2015, it’s time to take a look at how I did with my predictions. I’ll review each prediction and give them a grade (on a scale of 1-10, with 1 meaning I totally missed on my prediction and 10 meaning I was spot on with my prediction). Let’s see how I did.

1. The public sector will adopt customer-centric user models for their digital user interfaces.

While I still believe my prediction will come true, despite a few exceptions (such as Fylde Council in the U.K.), there was little evidence of this in 2014. As I said before, more than most, the successful use of government websites by the general public will significantly increase if designed with a customer-centric user model. Score 1/10.

2. The role of mobile apps will continue to grow in public sector customer service delivery.

The role of mobile apps has absolutely grown in 2014, but of course, government organizations are also embracing the role of mobile Web in their citizen service. This has been supported by industry analysts, including thinkJar, which found that “more than 2/3 of organizations have embraced mobile as a ‘channel’ for customer service.” Score 10/10.

3. Social media will transition from innovation to an important business application in the public sector.

While there is definitely more interest in social among government organizations, it still hasn’t crossed the chasm into full mainstream adoption. We’re seeing it used in bits and pieces—more as a way of managing demand than as a full customer service channel. Again, this has been supported by analyst research, including thinkJar. Score: 5/10.

4. Some public sector organizations will operate a “digital only” approach to customer service.

We have seen a huge shift in this direction, particularly in the U.K. However, government organizations in the U.S. are beginning to follow suit. That said, I personally believe that some organizations have gone too far. The focus should be on “digital first,” which I believe will be the next evolution. Grade: 10/10.

5. Meaningful sharing will increase.

This is happening, particularly in the U.K. Neighboring councils are beginning to offer shared services, but more can certainly be done, especially in the U.S. and Canada. When managed correctly, shared services allow government organizations to retain their identity. The silver lining of this challenging climate for government is the establishment of more flexible, more consistent and ultimately, far more efficient services for the general public. Grade: 7/10.

Overall, government and public sector customer service in 2014 seemed to progress pretty much how I saw it in my mind. What does 2015 hold for government and public sector customer service? Be on the lookout for my 2015 Predictions blog coming soon to find out.

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