Some government agencies are even exploring more multichannel and omnichannel customer service options. The biggest channels that they are considering are email, web chat, and social media, Herriman says.
But unlike the private sector, which has few restrictions on the operational aspects of information technology and greater control in dictating which channels should be used, government agencies often face statutory requirements involving audit trails, privacy, security, accessibility, and other legal issues related to their contact methods. Effective government must offer channels that have universal reach and affordability.
Statistically, phone is still the channel of choice to contact government agencies. CFI Group’s research found that 60 percent of people make phone calls, while 22 percent use the web and 12 percent use email. Fax, regular email, and in-person visits round out the list.
Mobile app usage is apparently on the rise, though, and yielding positive results for the government agencies that offer them. In CFI Group’s ratings, 79 percent of respondents who had downloaded and used government agency mobile apps gave satisfaction ratings 14 percent higher than those who had not.
As people move more toward self-service via the web and mobile, “having more powerful knowledge management will be the key,” Trzupek says.
Trzupek also sees a rise in chat and texting as channels for interacting with the government.
When it comes to channel choices, “the government is all over the map,” Herriman says. “There are some agencies that are more advanced, looking at more advanced automation and artificial intelligence, and some are still using mainframe computers.”
And it differs not just by agency but, in some cases, by specific departments within agencies, she says. Read more.