Customer service, collaboration, and mobile communications top the list of trends important to UK government in 2013, according to results of a GovDelivery survey of nearly 100 individuals.
The respondents – individuals within the UK government — identified the top trends from a list of hot topics, such as big data/open data, cybersecurity, budgets, technology and cloud computing. They were asked to identify the most important trends affecting the public sector at large and their specific jobs.
Respondents were asked to look at the trends through three filters:
• Trends taking center stage in 2013 (affecting their agencies and others)
• Trends directly affecting their own work
• Trends that their organizations are already addressing
The three trends ranked at the top of all three categories were those with the greatest impact on government productivity and effectiveness:
• Citizen/customer service
• Collaboration with other agencies and with citizens
• Mobility and bring your own device (BYOD)
The top trends are related. For example, an initiative to provide citizens with the ability to subscribe to email and text messaging updates might address the three objectives of improving customer service, supporting mobility, and improving collaboration.
As a whitepaper on the survey notes, embracing digital government initiatives will be a key to improving efficiencies. By improving collaboration, digital services can help departments work more efficiently. And by streamlining communications and services for citizens, digital tools can help departments meet their objectives of improving customer service even during constrained budgets.
Following is a brief summary of each top trend presented in the white paper about the survey that is available for download.
Customer Service is the Top Priority
Customer service was the top trend identified for UK government as well as the top trend that departments were already addressing. More than two-thirds of the respondents said they were currently addressing customer service.
Digital technologies are playing a major part in how government departments are addressing customer service. The Government Digital Strategy published by the Cabinet Office calls for government organizations to embrace digital services to constituents.
About half of respondents said their departments use social media to communicate with citizens, which leaves room for improvement.
Given the focus on digital government, expect to see the increasing adoption of social media, email, web and other digital channels to improve communications with constituents, such as:
• Expanding awareness of and participation in services
• Raising the profile of community development projects
• Communicating public safety alerts
• Cross-promoting programs and topics across departments and channels
• Allowing customers to subscribe to updates using the channels of their choice (text messaging, email, RSS feeds, etc.)
Collaboration is the New Imperative
Collaboration is needed with other government entities, between departments and levels, and with citizens. The emphasis on collaboration is due in part to resource constraints, as collaboration should improve efficiency.
The Government Digital Strategy suggests using digital tools and techniques to engage with and consult the public by creating plans to listen to and understand conversations in social media, using the insight gained to inform the policy-making process and to collaborate more effectively with partners.
As the white paper notes, there is a difference between passive listening and active collaboration. As the government seeks to solicit citizen input on policies and services, they will need to expand their use of digital channels, including:
• Interacting on existing social media communities already widely used by customers
• Using dedicated online communities for stakeholders
• Creating other digital channels with citizens to streamline information exchanges and knowledge sharing
Given the increased use of mobile devices and applications by the public, it’s not surprising that mobile government is the third most important trend affecting UK government.
Within government, employees are increasingly using mobile devices to access government sites and applications. Externally, more citizens are accessing government services and information using mobile devices.
Of survey respondents, 42 percent said a more mobile government would affect their jobs, yet only 32 percent said their departments were addressing the issue.
In 2013, expect that UK government organizations will find new ways to interact with citizens over digital channels, including Twitter, text messaging, and mobile-accessible websites. Government departments will look for ways to integrate transactional messaging and services over digital channels.
Download the white paper for more details and analysis.