| Oct 12, 2022

Enhancing Security Can Improve Experiences Constituents Have with Government

In the private sector, using customer relationship management and identity-verification tools won't just improve customer experience — it also will enhance security. In the public sector, this will improve the experiences that constituents have with their government.

The other day, I headed into a well-known retail chain with my kids for some shopping that ended up including more items than what was originally on my shopping list — namely, anything that caught my kids’ eye. One such item was a Harry Potter Lego Advent calendar. But when we proceeded to the cashier, I was told I couldn’t buy the calendar until the next day because — even though it was on the shelves — it wasn’t for sale yet. I had to return the following day to buy it (at which point it had piqued other shoppers’ interest and was the last one on the shelf).

This is an example of a poor customer experience (CX). Unfortunately, these situations abound not only in the private sector, but in government, as well. Think of the age-old complaints against the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) — a 10-minute task turns into four hours of waiting and occasionally, multiple trips. In general, government services have become a kind of euphemism for poor customer experience — a telling indication of how Americans feel about their government. According to an American Customer Satisfaction Index report, federal government services scored an all-time low of 63.4% in citizen satisfaction in 2021.

It doesn’t have to be this way. In fact, many government agencies are taking action to provide a better customer experience. We should continue this work by providing personalized, convenient experiences. Better yet, using customer relationship management (CRM) and identity-verification tools, agencies can both improve customer experience and enhance security. Sound like a pipe dream? Let’s find out why it’s not.

The Core of Good CX

Good customer experience balances personalization with a secure, low-friction environment.  Imagine calling a contact center and being greeted with your name and a general understanding of your circumstances. While you see the pleasant front-end experience of having an empathetic person on the other end, you’re not seeing the back-end security work providing that secure, personalized experience.


Why Good CX Matters

Usually, when people call into a company or government agency for help, they’re trying to accomplish something. In addition, the odds are there’s a stressful experience behind the call, which may already work against the ability to provide a good customer experience. For instance, a person calling a government agency about an error may already be agitated, and more so when they can’t get an issue addressed quickly and properly. Agencies that implement better customer identification and back-end verification measures can spend less time verifying identity with the caller and more time with them on issue resolution.

Poor customer experiences have the opposite effect. Long hold times have made Americans hesitant to call customer service at all. Further, these examples may have influenced people to procrastinate mandated tasks, like renewing the registration on their vehicles or asking why their cable bill changed. Simply, Americans deserve better service that doesn’t compromise security or disengage them from interactions altogether.

Connecting the Dots

Poor security and lack of fraud prevention measures have considerable costs. Government funds can be lost rather than ending up with individuals and businesses that truly need them. There’s also added cost when the government tries to recover lost funds — and often they’re unable to recover the entire amount. These lost funds and incurred costs take money away from valuable government-funded programs like law enforcement initiatives designed to keep people safe or from parks that enable outdoor recreational activities.

Fraud prevention measures like cross-referencing data from various sources — from a phone number and relevant personal data as an example — helps improve customer identity verification, lowering people’s likelihood of experiencing fraud in the first place.

Fixing a Known Problem

The friction constituents face with poor CX is a time tax that’s unnecessary and, frankly, unfair. But government agencies that understand how they can improve processes can step up to the task.

People depend on government services to do anything from renewing their driver’s licenses to accessing life-saving medical care.

It’s time we make government interactions more personalized and easier, and there’s no excuse for them not to be secure.

Scott Straub
Executive Author

Senior Director, Public Sector Market Planning, TransUnion

Scott Straub is the senior director of public sector market planning at TransUnion. view profile


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