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INDUSTRY INSIGHT

Improving citizen satisfaction begins with web content management

A recent report released by the American Customer Satisfaction Index found that citizen satisfaction with federal government services dropped in 2018, landing more than 10.9 percentage points lower than satisfaction levels for retail and consumer brands. By looking at the four key drivers of citizen satisfaction -- ease of processes, quality of information, customer service and website usefulness -- ACSI found that citizen satisfaction was lowest among agencies that touch the most citizens, like the Department of Veterans Affairs and IRS.

Citizens expect to be able to access government services in the same convenient way they engage with their favorite private-sector organizations online. While the digital aspect is only a portion of the citizen experience, it is imperative that agencies to improve the personalization, access and security of their online domains.

As government forges ahead to improve the overall citizen experience, here are three ways agencies can effectively manage web content.

1. Make relevant information accessible and personalized

Citizens are now used to accessing information at any time, from any device. They no longer have the time or patience to stand in long lines in government offices and wait days or weeks for mailed requests to be processed.

While most government agencies have an online presence and services available via the web, it’s critical that information citizens seek be easy to obtain, personalized and secure. To provide consistent access, services must be designed from the start with digital channels in mind -- not retrofitted with online delivery added as an afterthought.

To ensure that the right information and services are easily accessible, agencies will need to leverage content management platforms that help them integrate business systems and give citizens tailored experiences based on specific actions and a clear, uninterrupted path to essential services.

Agencies should also keep in mind how each citizen’s online interaction with government is personalized. Although much of the interactions are transactional, it’s not uncommon for an individual to revisit a webpage numerous times before completing an action. Agencies should have a system in place to personalize each visitor’s journey and prevent returning users from having to restart the transaction each time.

Similarly, agencies must also be able to serve citizens regardless of their language, so implementing technology that allows users to seamlessly translate webpages and documents across multiple languages is a major part of personalizing the citizen experience.

2. Be accessible from every device

Citizens are engaged online from a variety of connected devices, and government must be able to meet them however they’re accessing data. For example, if citizens have poor experiences requesting information on their smartphones, it cannot be assumed that they would try again from their laptops. Maintaining a universal, omnichannel platform is an integral aspect of government services.

Fortunately, the federal government has made significant strides in improving the digital citizen experience with the passing of the 21st Century IDEA Act, which requires public-facing federal websites to have a consistent look and maintain an online and mobile-friendly version of any in-person government transaction.

In addition, the Office of Management and Budget introduced a new section to its A-11 guidance in 2018 that directs agencies to establish customer experience frameworks and instructions for managing CX improvements.

To ensure that websites are responsive to different devices and to enable access and provide a consistent experience, agencies  will have to rely on content management platforms to help them effectively sustain a multichannel presence.

3. Prioritize security to protect sensitive data

Many government services require the collection and use of sensitive information from citizens, such as health care or taxation data, making agencies a frequent target for cybercriminals. In fact, a recent Government Accountability Office report found that federal agencies reported more than 35,000 information security incidents over the previous year.

If government wants to improve the citizen experience, agencies must build their digital infrastructure around a content management system that encrypts citizen data at rest and in motion to protect personal identifiable information. Citizens must be assured that privacy and security policies are in place and that regulations are being followed to ensure that transactions are secure and build trust.

The government has already identified steps toward improving security and building trust among citizens. In 2018, the White House released the President’s Management Agenda, which outlined steps to address the issue of trust in government by prioritizing technology modernization to improve the security of the customer experience.

Today's citizen experience begins online, and constituents expect government to provide personalized interactions. Improving citizen satisfaction will hinge on the agencies' ability to deploy a content management system from a secure, consistent platform that enables robust citizen engagement wherever citizens are and whenever they need access.

About the Author

Clark Campbell is vice president public sector at Sitecore.

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