Transforming the citizen experience
Vocalcom’s Ali Kassab discusses how advanced omni-channel contact centres can provide strategic benefits to government
One of the most important developments in the transformation of government services today is how citizens and residents are able to interact with government, according to Ali Kassab, EVP Corporate Growth Vocalcom and CEO Vocalcom MEA.
Vocalcom is providing omni-channel customer experience solutions to a number of government entities in the region and worldwide, Kassab said, which have become a strategic part of how government can interact with and understand its customers, to best service their needs and create productivity across the board.
"Today data and customer information and customer behaviour has become very strategic and important for any organisation in general to understand the customer, where the focus is how to effortlessly and easily bring the service to the customer," he said.
"There is a transformation for the government, and we are seeing this transformation by stages. We have passed the e-government phase and the transactional phase, now we are in the transformational phase, and governments are looking at how to proactively bring services to the citizen, and create this concept of the ‘e-citizen'. This is also very important to contribute to the development of the economy for each country, as well as the way that citizens perceive the service from government."
The company counts government organisations including the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority Oman, Ministry of Manpower in Oman, Ministry of Islamic Affairs in Bahrain; Saudi Food & Drug Authority (SFDA), Saudi National Water Company, the Presidential Guard in Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority, Dubai Properties, Dubai Holdings among its government customers.
Advanced omni-channel communications solutions are important to government organisations for a number of reasons, Kassab explained. Consumers or citizens today want to be able to communicate with government through the platform of their choice, whether that is through a web-based solution, a mobile app, social media, self-service kiosks or in person. Vocalcom's solutions are able to seamlessly integrate with multiple channels to deliver communications in the way the customer expects, and also to monitor the customer experience across platforms.
The solutions include technologies such as voice analysis, which helps operators to know if the customer is pleased, or angry with the service. Other capabilities include omni-channel surveying, which allows the government, in real time, to monitor the net promoter score (NPS) - the user satisfaction - across all channels. Other advanced aspects of the technology include integration with applications to let users know how long they might have to wait until they are served.
"Waiting is frustrating - if you manage the expectation of the citizen, they won't be frustrated. We can put him in contact with the right service when it is available," he said.
The greater depth of interaction with customers, and the enhanced degree of customer data, will also be important as governments looked to data-driven services, Kassab added.
"We are moving to smart government, and more and more governments will move to the smart city concept, where everything is connected by the Internet of Things, so you need to understand the customer's behaviour in order to anticipate his needs and to make the government and the city and the economy more proactive to deliver smart services."
For ADWEA, an Abu Dhabi Distribution Company (ADDC), Vocalcom is managing a five year customer experience transformation project, from orientation of the customer, to the implementation and service management. The initial deployment of the project took just three months, with rapid deployment important to the government sector as they seek to deliver on national transformation initiatives in a short time frame.
The wide-ranging project is intended not just to change communications with citizens, but also create proactive interaction across different channels, to deliver on other strategic initiatives, like sustainability, Kassab said.
"We are changing the way that ADCC is dealing with the citizens from emergency centre to customer engagement centre, to be able to proactively provide information to citizens and in this way contribute to the smart city concept," he commented. "Today it is not enough to [for the customer] to receive his bill from ADWEA or ADCC, it is very important to understand what is your energy consumption, it is important for the strategy of the government to be able to understand, to educate the citizen on energy usage. This should be available on channels of interaction between the government and the citizens."
Advanced customer interaction technology is not just important to the customer experience, but also to empower government personnel to perform better in their jobs, said Kassab. Vocalcom solutions have enabled up to 40% improvements in productivity in government customers, he said, through providing better tools to staff, giving them more accurate information and enabling them to be more effective in their jobs. In this way, the solutions can help improve employee satisfaction as well.
"Citizen experience is very important for the government, but the major transformation for government is also how to provide more engagement for employees, to provide them with the right tools, and provide them with a better experience in order to deliver the citizen experience," he concluded.