Government departments are not generally known for their sterling service and good communication. Most struggle with substandard experiences, where their poor customer experience (CX) hampers mission success.

A Forrester report discusses why the need to improve government CX has never been more urgent.

The report, How and Why to Improve Government CX, is based on the analysis of data from Forrester’s US federal Customer Experience Index (CX IndexTM) as well as reviewed examples from around the world.

The study shows that, as governments implemented better CX they spent less, improved the rollout of legislation, and could even avoid scandals.

The second finding showed that as CX improved, more customers complied with a department’s directives, engaged proactively with it, spoke well of it, trusted it, and were more likely to forgive its mistakes.

The third finding went further still, showing that good CX resulted in raising the faith of the people in the country itself.

“Each department that improves its CX also strengthens the foundations of the political system by boosting people’s pride in the country, optimism for the country’s future, and belief that government can function well,” explains Forrester’s principle CX analyst, Rick Parrish and Laura Garvin Tramm, data scientist on the Forrester Customer Experience Index.

The power of CX in government

The report focusses on how great CX can make mission performance achievable – largely due to customer behavior. In fact, even a small improvement in CX can make a substantial difference to departmental outcomes. Some highlights include:

* For every 1-point increase in an agency’s CX Index score, 2% more customers do what the organisation asks of them. This can have a marked impact on revenue collection efforts, including taxes and other fees.

* A 1% increase in the CX score results in more citizens engaging proactively with a government agency. Findings show that with a 1% increase, 2.5% more customers were likely to seek its expertise, and 3% more customers would sign up for benefits and services that weren’t mandatory. What’s more, 73% of customers who had an excellent government CX experience said they would alert an agency if they suspected someone was trying to defraud it – an important benefit for countries fighting corruption in the public sector.

* With just a 1% CX improvement, departments would benefit from good word of mouth (4.4% more customers will say positive things about the organisation), increased trust (up 2.8%), and customers would even be more forgiving of errors (2.7% more customers are willing to forgive the agency when it makes mistakes).

* Operational improvements are high on every government agenda. Forrester shows that with just a small improvement in CX government departments could save costs, enjoy a smoother rollout of legislation and even avoid scandals – public failures can be used by opposition parties to delay rollout of new projects or launch costly and lengthy investigations.

A methodical CX approach is required

Forrester warns that a ‘scattershot’ approach to government CX will not achieve the desired results. Rather, it recommends that a systematic approach be taken with each department approaching CX methodically to fulfill a crafted vision.

Forrester found that not only did pride in the country grow and belief that the government could function well improve, but that with a 1% increase in the CX score, 3.1% more of its customers became optimistic about the country’s future. Something progressive government leaders should be striving for.