Rightly or wrongly, constituent expectations for the goods and services they receive from commercial organizations influence their expectations for the services they receive from public organizations. Over the past few years, consumer expectations from commercial organizations have increased thanks to the robust and optimized customer experience consumers have learned to expect from the likes of Apple, Amazon, AARP, USAA and Zappos.
These organizations combine understanding what their customers want, with doing everything possible to satisfy their expectations, part of their core business strategy. They have not only optimized the products and services they provide, but also how their customers interact with them over the entire lifecycle of selecting, obtaining and getting help with the product or service. Customers have embraced this new level of service and they have voted with their wallets.
While leading commercial organizations are one cause of this trend toward higher expectations, the other is mobile, high-speed access to the Internet. Consumers armed with smart phones and tablets now have 24x7 availability of virtually unlimited information about brands, companies, products and services. For example, applications created by Edmunds.com provide consumers with information at their fingertips during all phases of the consumer purchase lifecycle, so they have more information about car models than some dealer employees. Beyond the web, with mobile and social platforms, they have access to virtual communities to get the real scoop on the actual customer experience before they buy that particular car model. In addition, they can use these communities to quickly and easily share their own experiences.
These trends are so strong that Forrester Research has now declared our economy has entered what it calls the “Age of the Customer”. They define Age of the Customer as “a business cycle in which the most successful commercial enterprises are reinventing themselves to systematically understand and service increasingly powerful customers.”
When it comes to government services, most constituents don’t expect government organizations to be as state-of-the-art as leading-edge commercial entities. However, they do expect their governments to provide adequate and effective services, particularly as they are spending taxpayer money to do so.
What is undeniable, however, is that as consumers get used to new capabilities such as using texting and social media to interact with brands, they want to do the same with government agencies. Furthermore, if they have a bad experience with a government agency, they are just as willing to share that experience with the world on Facebook or Twitter.
Following the initial introduction of 311 fifteen years ago, and the widespread rollout of first generation 311 systems in the early 2000s, the 311 industry had settled into a period of quiet stability. However, that period is now over. The result of these increased expectations has been renewed vigor in the entire 311 space, which has translated into a second generation of 311 initiatives.
Based on observations gained in numerous contact center consulting engagements with both commercial and government clients, Eventus Solutions Group has recently published a whitepaper describing the five different types of 311 projects that are now taking place throughout North America. It also describes four key drivers that are enabling these “311 2.0” initiatives.
If you would like to download a free copy of “Moving Toward 311 2.0 – Trends and Developments in the 311 Industry”, please click here.