As access to government services accelerates across multiple online channels (i.e., private network applications, the worldwide public web, email, calls, etc.), citizens expect the same level of speed, flexibility, convenience and personalization as they experience in other aspects of their professional and personal lives.
Governments in Singapore, UAE, Canada, the UK and the US for some time (pre-pandemic) invested in digital innovation, customer experience and adaptation of design thinking techniques to smooth access to key services. However, success requires more than mere digital tools, techniques and methodology. It requires an intimate understanding of citizens, continuously identifying what matters to them most, and then adjusting service offerings based on their evolving needs.
Most importantly, governments need to embrace new ways of working — considering the end goal as a guiding principle — to drive the continuous and purposeful change citizens (both born digital and digital immigrants) now demand. It’s all about creating meaningful, productive and intuitive citizen experiences.
Citizen experience actually plays a vital role in differentiating one government from another — from both a technology and human perspective. People have some choice regarding where they live, work and spend retirement. Take the UAE, where the government recently initiated a retirement resident visa that allows anyone in the world to come and spend their retirement life in the country. Therefore, government services provided online via the UAE are indispensable when it comes to not only attracting but fulfilling the needs of would-be citizens.
Delighting citizens consistently, whether they are in the country or engaging from the outside, is a tall order. Luckily, there is a blueprint for success. Here are the three strategies we have found that can help government institutions become a destination of choice for citizens, visitors and investors.
1. Transform experiences
Experiences change minds, behaviors and lives. They help determine where an individual decides to work, live and raise a family. While there are universal needs such as safety and security, housing, medical care, education, mobility, etc., what matters most varies based on the preferences and lifestyle of each citizen. The best experiences create moments that matter going beyond functional and emotional needs by addressing citizens’ latent needs.
How do you provide the best-in-class citizen-centric services and citizen-friendly policies to residents at scale? Are your citizens looking for speed, accessibility, simplicity or flexibility in your services? How do you understand what matters to them most in an evolving world?
Traditional approaches might not help shed light on those questions. Instead, government decision makers need to think big, create a collective vision, and bring an experience ecosystem (i.e., customers, employees, and partners) into the fold.
That said, transforming an experience takes time and effort. First, place the right skills and minds at the right place. Then, orchestrate citizens' experiences by applying the science of intimacy and the art of industrialization (see Quick Take below).