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INDUSTRY INSIGHT

Improving case management in local government

Global business is embracing digitalization and most consumers now expect a certain level of efficiency that comes with it. Organizations that are late to the game may jeopardize customer experience and subsequent relationships.

While government isn't a business in the traditional sense, constituents increasingly expect and demand the same level of service from the public sector that they get from private-sector companies. The recent 2017 Connected Citizen Report found that people generally have better experiences with the latter. The study showed that millennials largely believe one of the ways to improve their experience with local government is for agencies to be more transparent in how they handle constituent issues.

This can be difficult  because it requires personalization and attentiveness that is nearly impossible on a large scale without the use of digital tools. The idea that local government funds are used “just to keep the lights on” rings true, but there are key areas in the case management process that can be improved without large investments.

Simplify case management

One of the biggest challenges for local government is too few resources, which can then be wasted by poor processing and information exchange between stakeholders. This inefficiency can be addressed in small issues, such as ensuring case and customer records are in the correct places for retrieval and review, and larger issues like verifying cases are being adjusted in accordance with regulations. Improving knowledge management is vital to this process. According to Gartner, CIOs can reduce customer support costs by 25 percent or more when a proper KM discipline is in place.

Giving government workers an easier way to locate and work with information is key to improving communication with constituents on their cases, and it can also empower staff to be more engaged in their jobs. A 2016 Gallup study found that 71 percent of state and local government workers are disengaged, potentially costing the government millions. The process of collecting, tracking and routing cases must be done more efficiently to reduce human error and improve constituent relations.

Create and market mobile apps for citizen services and requests

To improve transparency, it's important that citizens feel they can monitor the progress of their requests to government officials and have a simple way to contact an employee if they have questions. These services could be easily provided through an app, which can act as a hub to house each request and connect a constituent to the right person or department. Not only do these channels help communication, they also reduce wasted time for the workers who manage constituent confusion or complaints.

If government embraces digital tools in constituent communications and case management, it's equally important to allocate resources to promote these digital assets.  Good marketing and front-line employees pushing this option at every interaction (by email or phone) is essential. The 2017 Connected Citizen Report determined that many Americans seem to be unaware of the digital channels local government provides or that they mistakenly believe that their government lacks the ability to provide citizen services through digital channels, such as smartphone apps, email or websites. Citizens can't use what they don't know exists.  

Omnichannel access to case information can improve case management

Remove redundancy from communications between government and constituents by allowing citizens to continue the same conversation via SMS updates or a phone call – whatever platform they wish.

There is no cure for the complex nature of casework and case management in local government. Often overworked and understaffed, agencies inevitably have backlogs. But improving transparency during the arduous process is achievable. These methods can provide clarity to constituents and lighten government employees' load, making them less overwhelmed and less inclined to make errors.

About the Author

David Squibb is chief sales and marketing officer for Xpertdoc.

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