Customer service, regardless of chosen channel, has become a key indicator of trust and value for money for local government. The nature of councils’ interactions with their residents means that delivering superior and seamless customer service at all times is vital.
This is particularly challenging during spikes in the volume of resident contact. Human agents on their own cannot manage these peaks, let alone deliver a consistent and personalised customer experience. Long call queues and fragmented customer engagement lead to frustrated residents, reputational damage, and ultimately a failure to deliver efficiency and value for money.
Why does hyper personalisation in local government matter?
Hyper personalisation is a way for public sector organisations to provide a bespoke customer service using real-time behavioural data from multiple channels to react to resident queries and tailor the experience appropriately.
Although councils hold a wealth of resident data, they often lack the tools to provide a personalised customer experience. Artificial intelligence (AI) and intelligent automation technologies can revolutionise the way local authorities use data to deliver hyper personalisation across all interfaces and channels.
Local government can draw lessons from other industries; for example, utility companies are already successfully exploiting this technology. Phone numbers are used to identify which resident is contacting them and the location of their property. If there is an outage in their area, they are directed to an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) recording which provides them with instant access to information about the situation. The resident’s enquiry is answered automatically, leaving human agents to focus on dealing with more complex customer queries.
Deep integration enables hyper personalisation
To deliver the best results, AI-driven hyper personalisation requires integrated front-end and back-end IT systems. Councils often hold residents’ data across multiple channels and systems. If these systems remain disparate, organisations end up with data siloes and miss out on invaluable insights which can improve customer service. Deep integration means that data can be processed and leveraged to personalise the resident’s experience throughout every interaction.
For example, a local council holding records of past interactions in its back-end systems will see that a resident calling in regarding Council Tax Reduction might have recently lost their job. This information will be fed into the front-end with prompts during a call. A human agent handling the query will be encouraged to demonstrate empathy to help build a relationship.
A blended approach to customer experience transformation
While technology is the driving force behind hyper personalisation, the role of human agents cannot be overlooked. The success of a hyper personalisation strategy relies on a blended approach that maximises the potential of both IT and the human touch. For instance, sentiment analysis can detect if a person is getting agitated or angry with the Machine Agent and route the call to a human agent that has specialised skills to deal with calls of that nature.
AI-driven hyper personalisation enables authorities to meet resident demand for a seamless, consistent experience. In order to achieve this successfully, the technology must be deeply integrated into an authority’s existing data, and function as an extension of the human agent. A blended approach to hyper personalisation is a key ingredient for enhanced customer service. Local government plays a far too important social role to be left behind – It must act now to deliver the real value that residents expect.
Matthew Chadd is senior project director at Content Guru