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According to a recent Gartner survey, leading technology and service providers tend to be primarily customer-driven when it comes to product-related decisions, versus technology-driven. Further, organisations that take a customer-driven focus report an uptick in revenue and a marked outperformance of their competitors, demonstrating the benefits of adopting a customer-centric approach.

As organisations like these set the standard for public expectations, there is mounting pressure on government agencies to prioritise citizen experience (CX) in order to drive better outcomes.

That said, these agencies often assume that, when it comes to CX, improving design will have the biggest impact on customer satisfaction. But this perspective fails to take into consideration what’s happening on the backend. Manual tasks, paper-based systems, and legacy systems bog down processes and prevent you from achieving your objectives. These inefficiencies aren’t just tedious for government workers—they have a direct impact on CX.

The truth is, the back-office is really hard to get right, but the rewards are well worth the effort. Optimising your back-office will enable you to make use of the valuable data you’re collecting every day to inform your CX and improve the effectiveness of your operations.

Why is the back-office important for CX?

You can create an amazing CX, but if your back-office isn’t supporting the information needed to drive that experience, you may be sacrificing more than you realise. In some cases, up to 60% of dissatisfaction with the customer experience can be traced back to ineffective support and administrative functions that are largely driven by the back-office.

Think of your back-office as the engine room of your CX. It relies heavily on quality data to feed systems and to drive insights and decision-making. This is what allows your organisation to truly engage with citizens and deliver a positive experience.

The four pillars of back-office transformation

To start improving the efficiency and effectiveness of your back-office, keep the following tips in mind:

1. Data management

The back-office relies on quality data to drive a strong customer experience. When collecting data at the source, it’s important to get it right the first time. Data accuracy is essential to developing your decision-making processes in a way that’s consistent with the reality of your citizens. If your data is compromised from the outset, your CX and your processes become more likely to break down.

With digital transformation comes a multitude of ways to collect data, such as through online services, web forms, mail, audio, or even via touch. With every interaction, citizens are providing you with valuable intel to help you tailor your CX.In order to source the most accurate data possible, we encourage organisations to take a multi-channel approach to meeting citizens at the data source. This includes meeting citizens across generations, language barriers, time zones, and across geographic boundaries. In doing so, you’re helping to ensure the equity and quality of your data, and directly contributing to an improved CX.

2. Efficiency

Once you’ve captured your data, the question becomes how do you make that process efficient? How can you recall the data and deliver it to the right stakeholders as quickly as possible?

Manual repetitive tasks, legacy systems, and information silos exist across organisations, resulting in errors as data ends up in the wrong place. This can make working in real-time difficult. By automating processes and managing the flow of data to make sure it gets to decision-makers as quickly as possible, you get closer to working in real-time—ultimately driving a faster, better, and more satisfying customer experience.

If you’re struggling to overcome automation process inertia in your organisation:

• Look at packaged services and As-a-Service offerings to see what’s available to you
• Consider your current processes and how better or faster access to data could improve them
• Explore options for enabling interdepartmental decision-making
• Aim for incremental, small changes

Remember, optimising your back-office doesn’t have to mean a massive transformation project—look for quick wins and resources within your organisation that you can leverage into bigger initiatives.

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3. Agility and innovation

With so many operations being outsourced and data scattered across multiple sources, it can be difficult to get a clear picture of what’s happening in your organisation.

This is where having a platform that drives rapid change and innovation can be especially helpful. Using the cloud, you can consolidate all of your data and enable easy reporting and rapid relaying of information in a way that is scalable.

The Microsoft Office environment, for example, offers the ability to iterate and find solutions rapidly. And because many organisations are already the platform to some degree, a partner like Canon Business Services (CBS) can help them to derive greater value from something they’ve already implemented. As a result, they can start small with focussed projects, while still implementing change across their organisations.

4. Security

Above all else, an effective CX is a secure CX. With threats to cyber security on the rise, security must be at the core of everything government agencies do—it needs to be as integral to the development environment as it is to the production environment.

As you develop new processes to improve CX, make sure you’re not opening your agency up to a potential security breach. Keep in mind that security is not a ‘one-and-done’ deal. The cyber security landscape is always changing—over time new threats arise and new vulnerabilities can be uncovered.

In order to adapt to this ever-changing landscape, your security strategy must be continually updated and optimised. A cyber security assessment is a good first step towards mitigating cyber risk and providing a secure citizen experience.

A third-party provider like CBS has the tools and knowledge to test your network and diagnose any potential vulnerabilities. Throughout this process, our team can help you take stock of the current state of your agency’s network, identifying areas for improvement and providing you with a roadmap to secure your network and ensure you meet cyber security compliance criteria.

To learn more about how CBS can help you assess the security of your organisation, reach out to our team today.

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