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How to Improve Service Delivery in Public Sector & Government – 4 Foundational Steps

Improving service delivery in government and the public sector comes with unique challenges. Governments must be accountable to citizens in a way that the private sector is never constrained by. While a private sector business can identify its target audience and deliver an experience to cater for this specific subset, governments must ensure they don’t prioritize any demographic over the other.

This inherent and necessary fact can lead to frustration with public service delivery, and is a key reason why government customer satisfaction falls so far behind the private sector. However, it’s not all doom and gloom. With digital channels and technologies built for the public sector and its specific needs, there are many strategies that can be adopted to improve service delivery in government. So let’s dig in and explore how to improve service delivery in public sector with 4 foundational steps.

A Complete Guide to Improving Customer Service in Government

A Complete Guide to Improving Customer Service in Government

Explore this comprehensive guide to understand citizens’ customer service expectations and what government agencies are doing to meet them.

Learn more

1. Start with efficiency 

When improving service delivery in government, efficiency is the first building block. This becomes clear when looking at the way government leaders speak to success in programs and services. The delivery speed of a new program implementation, the engagement level of citizen stakeholders, and value provided, are all now more widely used as barometers of success than traditional economic markers. 

“The reality of the public sector today is that it is assessed by the efficiency of its service delivery. No longer is the effectiveness of the public sector measured by the revenue it generates or the employment it provides…” – R Chandrashekhar, Additional Secretary, eGovernance, Government of India 

With a need to drive down costs and prove value, improving service delivery in government today requires a focus on digital innovation. Live chat is becoming central to this as a way to provide citizens’ channel of choice, with an eye on maximizing resources. 75% of consumers prefer live chat over any other communication channel, while live chat costs 1/3 the cost of traditional phone support.  

The efficiency of live chat also helps government agencies to handle higher volumes of inquiries while providing better and faster service to the public. WCB Manitoba introduced Comm100 Live Chat and saw significant benefits to their agent’s efficiency and quality of service. 

Live chat also includes a variety of efficiency features that aren’t possible with traditional phone support: 

Canned Messages: Canned messages are pre-written messages that can be used to quickly respond to common questions and greetings. This saves agents considerable time as they don’t need to retype repetitive responses. Agents can also personalize these messages to add a little personality to the conversation. 

Chat Routing: This feature allows incoming messages to be automatically routed to the right agent or department based on the answers the citizen gives in a pre-chat survey, or using pre-set rules based on the citizen’s geographic location, previous conversation history, or the page they initiated the chat from. This saves agents (and citizens) the time spent on transferring the chat between agents, while improving the overall service experience. 

Screen Sharing: The screen sharing feature allows agents to instantly view a citizens’ web browser, and vice versa. If a visitor has difficulty navigating a web form or finding the right resources, agents can intervene and personally direct them. Best of all, privacy is maintained through automatic masking, and since screen sharing is browser-based, no downloads are required.

2. Keep chipping away at siloes 

Hierarchy in any organization is common, and no more so than in government organizations where these structures are often tied to legislation or funding. This causes major information and knowledge siloes that damage service delivery. With that said, there are still many ways to improve public service delivery by breaking down these silos – primarily achieved through  digital omnichannel platforms.

Using a digital platform like Comm100 Omnichannel, every digital communication channel is connected through one unified platform. This means that all citizen touchpoints, conversation histories and essential data are all visible in one console. If a citizen reaches out via email and then later follows up using live chat, an omnichannel platform lets the agent access all previous communication. This means that citizens are not repeating themselves, and agents can provide more personalized service. 

With all this data then gathered into one platform, government agencies can also gain insight into their citizens. They can understand what they are searching for, identify common problems or questions, and learn how they feel about certain policies or issues. Santa Fe County recognized the importance of this data to help build an accurate image of their citizens when they implemented Comm100 Live Chat:  

“Getting access to all the data that comes through Comm1000’s platform is gold. We present a lot of this data to our administration to show them what our constituents are asking for, what they need, and how they feel.” – Santa Fe County, Tommy Garcia, Quality Control Program Manager 

From an organizational perspective, digital omnichannel platforms mean that government service areas can be more strategic with digital channel support. Instead of juggling multiple contracts with CRM providers and other online services, a digital omnichannel platform can allow a large and diverse organization to unify client management and knowledge resources. For example, an omnichannel platform allows live agents to easily log live chat interactions to a CRM from inside the live chat window, enabling field agents to stay current on client touch points with government as they are working on a file. This is an essential and effective way to improve public service delivery that more and more governments are adopting.

3. Set clear customer service expectations  

When improving service delivery in government, it’s crucial that citizens’ customer service expectations align with your capabilities. The most common example of this concept in action is one that everyone has been on the receiving end of – long wait times for services. By establishing service standards and being transparent with clients around expected wait times, customers can make better informed decisions around how and when they seek assistance. 

Simply telling a customer that they are next in line could send a wrong message, causing them to incorrectly believe they may be only seconds from receiving help. When several minutes pass and that citizen is still waiting, they’ll undoubtedly feel worse about their experience than if accurate expectations had been set at the start.

When setting customer service expectations, you also need to include  organizational conversations around client outcomes. With all members of the service area on board, agents can more effectively communicate expected outcomes, improving the customer experience. A better understanding of where citizen and organizational expectations meet allows service agents to more effectively communicate with external and internal stakeholders alike.

Read more: Expert commentary: Closing the CX Gap between Customer Expectations and Business Reality 

4. Show commitment to security & privacy 

When researching how to improve service delivery in public sector, public trust in technology and government must be considered. Only 21% of consumers trust established global brands to keep their data secure. Because of this, a focus on secure technology is the key to moving forward as the public sector looks for means of improving service delivery in government. In a post-pandemic world, expectations have never been higher for digital engagement, and pressure is on to keep , while also protecting the security and privacy of its citizens.

Digital infrastructure has frequently become a target of attackers in recent years, making procurement of secure services more important than ever in the public sector. With this in mind, government organizations should be mindful to work only with technology partners that have demonstrated a commitment to data security. Some of the most significant certifications to demonstrate compliance with security and privacy standards include: 

SOC 2 Type II: Regulated via external audit, this certification looks for controls related to service security, availability, process integrity, confidentiality, and privacy. 

ISO 27001: Recognized worldwide, this standard regulates how information security management systems are established, implemented, maintained, and continually improved.  

PCI DSS: This information security standard regulates how organizations handle payment processing, ensuring that credit card information is kept secure. 

HIPAA: The HIPAA certification regulates data protection in the U.S. health industry, stipulating how personal information is maintained and accessed. 

PIPEDA: A Canadian law regulating data privacy, PIPEDA covers how private organizations collect, use, and disclose personal information while conducting business.  

Read more: Digital Transformation in Customer Service – Navigating Security Threats 

Wrap Up 

Public sector organizations are increasingly expected to adopt the technologies and practices of the private sector. While some government constraints are going nowhere, the introduction of digital technologies like live chat and omnichannel are helping government agencies to  

To learn more about how to improve service delivery in government with live chat and a digital omnichannel platform, book a personalized demo

Note: This blog post was originally published in March 2022. Because it is one of our most popular posts, we have updated it to include the latest research, up-to-date statistics and best practices in this topic.

Kate Rogerson

About Kate Rogerson

Kate is the Content Marketing Manager at Comm100. She has extensive experience in content creation for technology companies across the world, including the UK, Australia and Canada. She specializes in B2B messaging, branding and soccer trivia.