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Why local governments should invest in customer experience

April 01, 2021

Why local governments should invest in customer experience

4 Minute Read

The pandemic has created significant behavioural shifts and local governments need to adapt to keep up with new expectations.

Chris Lavin
Chris Lavin, MBA, FCMC
Regional Managing Partner, Advisory Services
Sean Murphy
Sean Murphy, FCMC, CPA, CMA, PMP, CMC
Partner, National Digital Services Leader

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a significant shift in our daily lives and experiences. Changes that would have taken years happened over the course of a handful of months. While many of the things we used to do and love will come back eventually, there will be lasting impacts from the pandemic, and recognizing these permanent shifts is important for keeping your local government up to speed with citizen expectations.

Many of the changes we’ve experienced appear to be separate from the role of local government. Key trends like working from anywhere, increased ecommerce adoption, and accelerated adoption of digital technologies may seem detached from how citizens engage with their municipalities. But the behaviour shifts matter because it creates a change in how local governments will need to deliver services to their citizens, and how citizens will want to interact with government.

Now is the time to focus on customer experience. COVID-19 may have put life on pause in the earlier weeks and months, but people continue to need the services you provide. Through our team’s research, we’ve identified three key reasons to prioritize customer experience.

Liquid expectations from citizens

People have adapted to the circumstances and seek out opportunities to access services virtually. And according to research from Accenture in 2019, 85 percent of citizens expect the same or higher standard of quality from government services as they do from commercial organizations.

Fair or not, this research suggests that your team will be held to the same customer service standard of seamless digital experiences people get from stores like Amazon. To ensure you are on the right path to meeting those expectations, you need to take a critical look at your customer experience now and start building a plan for improvements.

Backlogs and increased demand

We’ve heard about the surges in workloads from local governments. There’s a lot of work to do and not enough hours in the day. To solve this problem, you need to look at how you can leverage technology to increase output.

One area of opportunity is reducing in-person services and replacing them with new no-contact alternatives. For example, municipalities are moving permit applications to online platforms to reduce the need for in-person contact. We’re seeing increased adoption of tap and go entrance to recreation facilities too.

New realities

Work from anywhere is one of the COVID-19 trends that is likely here to stay. A Gartner poll of Human Resources leaders found 81 percent of their employees are currently working remotely. This same group expects their companies to extend remote working in some form for 41 percent of their employees.

Some communities have quickly embraced the change, creating programs to incentivize the digital workforce to move to their city or town.

Local government leaders should plan for the work-from-anywhere approach and understand how this will impact service delivery, as well as how communities are developed to encourage and support that lifestyle. With the right strategy and approach, you could unlock new opportunities for efficiency and create growth in the community.

Local governments are at a unique crossroads. Right now, we can clearly see a trend developing and have the opportunity to reimagine the conventional way of thinking. Changing the customer experience is a complex task, but with the right approach and experienced partners, you can achieve success.

To learn how team can help you take on this challenge, contact Chris Lavin, MBA, FCMC, Regional Managing Partner, Prairies Consulting, at [email protected] or 780.733.8640.


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