We have written a couple times already this year about what we call “311 2.0”, the next generation of customer engagement capabilities now being implemented by state, local and municipal governments. These 311 2.0 projects are all occurring despite very difficult fiscal conditions for government organizations of all types. One reason for this is the existence of four “game-changing” enablers our contact center consulting experts are seeing deliver significant improvements in constituent service while at the same time delivering real reductions in operating costs:
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 settled into a period of quiet stability. However, that period is now over. Private companies like Apple and Zappos have ‘raised the bar’ on the definition of good customer service. As a result, consumers now have higher expectations for government services as well. North American municipality, county, state and provincial governments have responded with a variety of new 311 initiatives that have reinvigorated the entire 311 space.
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.
Cammie Blais is currently Vice President of Customer Engagement at Eventus Solutions Group and former Chief Financial Officer of Connect for Health Colorado. She graciously gave some of her time to answer some questions about open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act.
November 15, 2014 marks the second open enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act. Contact centers are ramping up staff and getting ready for significantly higher call volume over the coming months. Open enrollment lasts for three months, until February 15, 2015. The logistics behind getting prepared for this period began as soon as last year’s open enrollment was over. Contact centers in every state, whether they are working with a state exchange or the federal exchange, have experience now and are ready to implement their strategy for an efficient and seamless customer-centric experience.
Many analysts monitoring the contact center industry have coined this time period as “The Age of the Customer” as more customers are empowered by advances in information technology and the information available to the average customer through public sources. Correspondingly, customer expectations for how companies will serve them have risen, requiring companies to constantly improve in order to keep their highly informed and empowered customers satisfied. Here at Eventus, we have embraced this age with open arms and now believe that it has evolved to include “The Age of the Government Customer.” It is because of this that we believe that more and more of the constituents or ‘customers’ for government agencies begin to expect their service experiences with agencies to be comparable to those provided by commercial enterprises.