Richard Husband, Public Sector Development Director, ArvatoConnect
In an environment where central government departments and local authorities have access to more channels and data than ever before, there’s a huge opportunity to use personalised outbound communication to delight citizens.
Done well, it will turbocharge service quality and even save time and money.
But how can organisations deliver the quality, and consistency, of proactive communication that citizens expect? The solution lies in using the latest automation and artificial intelligence (AI) solutions to augment human team members and even manage outbound contacts independently.
Here’s how these tools can help.
360-degree view of the citizen
The first step to any effective outbound engagement model is knowing the citizen.
Organisations need to develop a full, 360-degree view of those they serve – understanding everything from their demographic details, to how and why they’ve previously engaged.
This information may be fragmented or stored across multiple systems or departments, making gathering it and keeping it up-to-date a challenging and time-consuming task.
Applying robotic process automation (RPA) can be transformative.
The technology gathers and combines data from across different systems into a central database, all in real-time.
And, it works entirely without the need for human input – freeing-up valuable employee capacity by shouldering manual, labour-intensive tasks so that they can instead focus on the more value-add work of the outreach itself.
Power to the people
With a constantly updated citizen info-bank in place, public sector organisations have a wealth of personalisation opportunities.
A 360-view allows communication to be tailored by contact channel. Citizen data may indicate that they primarily engage with a local authority or government department entirely by phone – never emailing back, and maybe even never opening outbound, email-based communications.
This suggests a clear preference for phone as a channel – a learning that can be applied to future outbound communication to that specific individual to make it most convenient for them to receive the message, and to increase the chances of them engaging with its content.
It also enables organisations to tailor their time of contact.
Call logs, email records, or text archives might, again, indicate that certain individuals consistently send inbound messages at a certain time of day – perhaps coinciding with a quiet moment on a commute, or a time they personally set aside for admin. Using this insight to time personalised outbound communication can again decrease the risk of that message being seen as irritating or inconvenient, and enhance the quality of the experience the citizen receives.
And it means authorities can hyper-personalise the content of their communications.
They can use demographic details such as age and family size, and information on other public services that a citizen accesses, or benefits they receive, to give specific options on how they access or use services, or even proactively recommend others they may be eligible for.
Putting insight into action
The opportunities are clear. But the next challenge is how to unlock them.
Here, again, transformative technology lends a digital helping hand.
As part of the latest generation of customer service digital engagement platforms, artificial intelligence works alongside support teams to analyse citizen data, nearly instantly. It then delivers recommendations on everything from the right contact channel to use, to the most relevant services for each individual they engage with.
The technology can help agents shape outbound contact strategies before they make first contact, and even work while they’re speaking to citizens in real-time.
This means agents can continue to deliver a hyper-personalised, proactive, service as the conversation develops – for example, being able to anticipate a request a citizen may have while they’re still on the phone and to suggest a solution to a challenge, before it’s even raised.
AI can also be combined with email or chatbot technology to entirely automate the outbound contact process.
Through this, factors like message content, timing and channel are automatically personalised and tailored by the system, and contact is initiated independently without the need for any human input.
For example, a chatbot can then continue conversations with the citizen in the same way a human agent would. If the conversation requires the support of a team member to resolve, the chatbot will automatically escalate it seamlessly into the relevant team.
This unlocks significant time and cost savings for organisations, as well as helping them conserve valuable human resources for the tasks they’re best suited to – including managing more complex, emotive queries.
And it can significantly improve quality of service by enabling citizens to conveniently, and seamlessly, respond to proactive communications, all at their own pace.
Delivering the future
Public bodies are undergoing significant programmes of digital transformation. Proactive communication is the next frontier.
At ArvatoConnect, we work with the public sector – including central government departments, executive agencies and local authorities – to design and deliver technology-led solutions that make personalised outbound contact possible, and to unlock the benefits it brings.
We’re currently working with an executive agency of the Department for Education to futureproof its citizen experience by promoting AI-powered self-service options, on both inbound and outbound channels. To see how we could help you on your transformation journey, get in touch today: CRMSE@arvatoconnect.co.uk.