Customer service is not just for businesses anymore.

Producing happy customers is just as important for municipalities as it is for business, albeit for the opposite reason. Businesses want their customers to return and spend more money.  Municipalities need to create happy citizens, so they don’t come back and consume more resources, or worse yet, complain on social media. How can government create meaningful customer experiences without a net increase in cost?

Create an Interactive Website

Create a truly interactive website with chatbots that provide more than just “FAQ-type” information. Using Artificial Intelligence (AI)-driven tools, municipalities can not only provide general information, but also specific, data-driven answers. Dynamic, changing information such as where to vote, hearing schedules, and licensing, as well as 2-way interactions such as permitting and payments, are all available via chatbots that are connected to your data via easy to provision API’s. Cost is mitigated or greatly reduced as citizens adopt automation instead of tying up a staff member on the phone.

Take Advantage of SMS Communication

Consider SMS text messaging as a contact method. Texts can also be routed to a chatbot during off hours, but more importantly, text messaging doesn’t nail down a staff member like a phone call would. Plus, you’d be using a communications method that many people prefer. Cost savings are realized by the ability to “multitask” with text messages.

Use a Customer Service Platform

Leverage a customer service platform like Amazon AWS Connect, which allows your staff to manage citizen phone, text, and chat communications, measure success, and quickly ramp up and down as needed. Such services are usage-based, surprisingly affordable and available on government contracts. Municipalities, especially towns and small cities, do not need expensive call center software to achieve outstanding results, and the savings is instantly realized through greater efficiencies and usage-based pricing instead of legacy capital investments.

Using a combination of the methods above, your municipality or government agency can save on costs while increasing customer satisfaction. Time to implement is relatively short, with limited capital investments and competitive usage-based pricing. For any of the methods above, your chosen vendor should be able to provide a free proof-of-concept to show the solutions in action before any commitment is made to move ahead.

Article written by Brooke Simoncavage

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