One of the big buzz words among marketers and contact center leaders these days is omnichannel. In simple terms, omnichannel is an integrated customer experience across any and all touchpoints a customer may happen to use. One of the keys to delivering seamless omnichannel customer experience is to connect the dots between channels so that customers can move effortlessly from one touchpoint to the next in their journeys. But one of the most important things for business leaders to bear in mind when designing omnichannel customer strategies is that customers don't think of themselves as omnichannel or even multichannel. They simply want to find what they're looking for or to resolve an issue using whichever channel or channel suit their preferences at that point in time. This includes being able to move easily from one channel to the next.This is also true for consumers whether they're interacting with a company or with a government agency. Historically, the public sector has been considered a laggard when it comes to adopting emerging technologies or cutting-edge management techniques. But that's changed a lot in recent years as many government agencies have set ambitious goals to become more citizen centric and make greater use of cloud platforms and other technologies to operate more efficiently and effectively.
I recently had an opportunity to discuss some of these trends with Duke Chung, co-founder and CMO at Parature, which is being acquired by Microsoft. Chung pointed to work that Parature has conducted with New York City, which has embraced omnichannel by expanding and interconnecting its 311 services to the web, social media, and across other channels. "It's making it easier for state government to answer questions regardless of the channel a citizen is using," says Chung.
Consider your own experiences at the local, state, or Federal level. Is it easier to find information or receive answers to your questions than it was just a few years ago? Do you still have to endure long wait times or is customer support more efficient than it used to be? Moreover, how do your government experiences compare to the best experiences you receive from companies in the private sector?
Customers have such high expectations for receiving great experiences that they easily become frustrated if they don't receive at least an adequate experience from their local DMV office or from other public agencies. The bar has been set high, even in the public sector.