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In Western Europe, the public sector occupies a special place in the customer relations landscape. Public sector services, country to country, have varying levels of maturity and therefore, different user experiences. These differences not only have a significant impact on the type of technological solutions needed to properly manage user relations, but also on the specific stakes of the public services: the volume and complexity of interactions, the weight of political power, data security, accessibility and the quality of the customer relationship. How can Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) solutions meet the challenges of public services?
Unlike other sectors, such as retail, banking or insurance, their services are not offered for profit and moreover, users are not ‘customers’ but citizens with rights. CCaaS solutions help address these issues and the major challenges facing public services.
A large part of the state budget is spent on public services. For example, total expenses on public services for 2019 in France represented 5.5% of GDP, an amount mirrored in Spain. It represented 6% of GDP in Germany, 7% in Belgium, 4.2% in the UK and 4% of GDP in the Netherlands.
France has the largest number of agents, directly employed in the public sector, in Western Europe. According to Insee Première, at the end of 2019, the amount of public sector employees numbered 5,613,000, which equalled 21% of total employment (salaried and non-salaried), or one in five employees. The UK has 2.75 million, Spain 2.6 million, Germany 5 million, the Netherlands 1 million and Belgium 820,000.
This data represents the total number of agents directly employed by these institutions. At the European level though, it is difficult to draw comparisons regarding public employment, because the definition of the term is not standardized. However, the OECD has provided a definition in its “Government at a Glance“: public employment includes all levels of government as well as ministries, public agencies and departments, and non-profit institutions controlled by public authorities. This variety reflects the challenges faced by public services which CCaaS solutions can overcome, but to what extent?
One of the main characteristics of the public sector is the significant number of interactions that need to be managed, which of course depends on the number of people concerned and the policies of the countries (health, family, employment, etc.). Public sector organizations in any country usually have a large number of agents in contact with users.
Public services often reflect the political structure and divisions of the country in which they operate. In France and Spain, most services are organized according to three levels: departmental, regional and national. There are also geographic concerns, as in the UK where devolution has created 4 separate legislative powers: the UK, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. In Germany, organization is often regional, according to “Bundesländer”, while in Belgium it is based more on language (Dutch, French or German).
CCaaS solutions are scalable and configurable, they are designed to handle large numbers of agents and interactions, as well as the call spikes that organizations face.
Politics strongly influence the management of the user relationship. Frequent legislative changes, regular revaluations of financial benefits (unemployment insurance, family allowances, pension insurance, etc.) and the weight of regulations can also impact the organization and volume of activity of public sector organizations. For example: tax reform with a levy directly on salaries, the reform of housing benefits at CNAF, pension reform or the merger of UNEDIC with the ANPE in France, Brexit or decisions and restrictions related to COVID-19.
The highly configurable nature of CCaaS solutions make it easier for public organizations and their contact centers to absorb spikes in activity due to new regulations or political announcements that are not predictable.
In an IT context where cloud solutions are gaining momentum, public services remain particularly sensitive to data privacy and security issues (GDPR, CNIL), but also to issues connected to the sovereignty of data hosting solutions (risk of the CLOUD Act). As a result, data hosting will most often have to be carried out on national territory.
Cloud-based CCaaS solutions meet the challenge of protecting citizens data by offering a high degree of encryption.
Another major challenge for the public sector services is the obligation to address the needs of all citizens and legal residents in a territory, regardless of their location or situation. They must also make services universally accessible and take into account vulnerability, language and a wide diversity of understanding and needs.
CCaaS solutions allow segmentation of users to easily identify people who need attention, so that the finest possible routing strategies can be implemented. In addition CCaaS solutions can implement a range of features such as short numbers, co-browsing solutions, callback tools and queue management software. These optimize public reception and facilitate journeys, enabling public services to meet the challenge of service accessibility and link their channels.
Despite the focus on digitalization, public sector organizations are still not making enough use of multichannel solutions, and data-driven business management is still not widespread due to a culture that is not enthusiastic about adopting this management method. However, public services must provide a mass service without neglecting the issue of personalizing interactions. Agents are faced with increasingly complex situations, which requires a very good understanding of the regulations.
To offer large-scale service, while not overlooking personalized interactions, CCaaS solutions are very useful. For example, natural language processing (NLP) engines allow for fine-tuned qualification and better routing of interactions. Simple requests are then directed to the new agents and more complex ones to the more experienced ones.
Choose a robust, high-performance CCaaS solution
Odigo’s CCaaS solution enables government organizations to address the numerous and varied challenges they face. Odigo’s robust and highly configurable CCaaS solutions can handle high volumes of interactions, manage predictable and unpredictable peaks in activity and enhance the security and confidentiality of data within these organizations. They are perfectly suited to complex organizations to offer a highly adaptable and personalized user experience.
With 35 years of experience in the customer experience market, Odigo caters to the needs of more than 250 large enterprise clients in over 100 countries. Odigo is also a trusted partner for public services. Would you like to learn more about robust and scalable CCaaS solutions?
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