5 Factors That Public Sector Organisations Need to Consider When Selecting a Customer Communications Management partner
Public sector entities in the United Kingdom have traditionally had very limited options when it came to communicating with citizens. They didn’t have the means to address the individual needs of the public, instead they relied on various forms of broadcast communications. But things have changed – ‘stay-at-home’ orders of the past 18 months accelerated the use of digital communication, which solves many of these communication challenges. As a result, most public entities in the UK have come to understand its value.
“50% Of public sector respondents said developing a digital service mode was a top priority for their organisation in the next year. Additionally, 87% of survey respondents agreed that improving customer experience is a top priority across all public services nationwide” – Survey by Ring Central
A Customer Communications Management (CCM) platform can be a crucial enabler in helping public sector entities achieve digital first modes. It provides citizens with the great experiences they have become accustomed to from private sector product and service providers. It is important to note, however, that not all CCM platforms are equal.
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5 Factors that your organisation should consider when selecting Customer Communications Management for the public sector
1. Cost saving
The costs of printing and mailing physical documents to citizens are significant.
While the UK economy has bounced back from COVID-19 quicker than many expected, public-sector offices and estates are still being impacted. In fact, 63% of respondents to the RingCentral survey said reducing costs was their top priority. A comprehensive CCM platform can help reduce the cost of sending, storing, and managing customer documents.
Given the sensitive nature of information that some public sector entities hold, there are also regulatory costs which must be considered. These include the storing of hard copy documents, as required by retention regulations. In the UK, this is governed by regulations such as GDPR alongside the Data Protection Act of 2018 and the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR).
As such, any CCM solution should help organisations stay compliant with the relevant regulations in whatever geographies they operate in. The digital storage of customer documents within a CCM platform reduces the likelihood of customers misplacing the original document and vastly improves the ability of customer service agents to locate documents (stored digitally, rather than in hard copy). It also facilitates the placement of targeted offers without increasing costs.
2. Consolidation and operational efficiency
Typically, councils will have a whole range of suppliers to create, store and present or deliver communications and documents. It would not be uncommon to have one supplier for archiving, one for printing and post/mail, one for document composition and one for email marketing. There could then be multiple suppliers for each of these functions across different departments or units. Consolidating all of this in to one CCM service provider can bring both savings and operational efficiencies.
Furthermore, a CCM platform helps improve efficiency by decreasing the time spent on customer queries, and it gives customer service representatives immediate access to customer documents, so they can resolve customer queries quickly and efficiently.
Historically, agility is not a quality anyone would associate with the public sector. This is especially true when it comes to billing. We have found that inflexibility of billing is a challenge for all our clients but is an especially big headache for councils. The past 18 months have only exacerbated those headaches, with councils unable to bill people properly and citizens unable to pay. In fact, as many as 3.5-million people across the UK are behind on payment of their council tax bills.
By using the right CCM platform, councils can ensure that bills not only reach their constituents on the channels they’re most comfortable with (and in a format that makes payment easy), but they can also leverage data to create payment plans to recoup outstanding monies.
4. Digital transformation strategy
While public sector bodies may have been slow to adapt to digital-first strategies, the pandemic forced their hands. There’s also no turning back now. It is evident how digitisation enables even the largest and most mature organisations to respond to crises.
Customer communication should be central to any digital transformation strategy, especially as the aim should be to create great customer experiences. A CCM platform can, therefore, be an integral tool for any public sector body looking to embrace digital transformation.
Finally, it’s important to note that a good CCM platform will allow your public sector organisation’s communications to be accessible to people with disabilities.
Ensuring that communications are accessible to people with disabilities is not only a moral imperative, but also a legal requirement.
Transactional communications and documents, such as statements, bills, tax documents and others, need to be produced on time and at scale for thousands of recipients, and present one of the key challenges when it comes to accessible communications.
To ensure such communications are compliant, your organization needs a technology partner capable of providing a variety of compliant formats, reliably and in a cost-effective way.
Ideally, a CCM’s accessibility solution should include the following capabilities and benefits:
- Digital document accessibility: accessible PDF and HTML documents
- Accessible physical formats: large print and Braille
- Accessible end consumer online portals
- Complete solution from template development to accessible statement composition, production, and delivery via digital channels and mail
- Creation of accessible documents at scale, based on compliant and tested templates meeting WCAG 2.0 AA standards
Effective customer communications management for the public sector enables great customer experiences
Ultimately, your public sector entity has a duty to provide the best possible experiences for the citizens you serve. Your best hope of doing so is to take a digital-first approach, which has communication at its heart.
Selecting a partner that can deliver effective Customer Communications Management for the public sector will enable your organisation to do so in a way which is transformative, efficient, and which works towards the best interests of both your organisation and the public.
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