By Chijioke Ugwuh
As modern customers’ expectations around brand engagement continue to evolve, governments must embrace communication strategies that will enable them to engage with their citizens in a fast, secure, and reliable way.
The Customer Experience (CX) that results from this engagement must allow citizens to access government services in the most convenient and effective manner possible, ensuring that they are left with a positive and lasting impression of the interaction.
Nigeria is seeing this first-hand with the emergence of the technology-savvy modern citizen. A study by Statista shows that 51% of Nigerians engage with brands and organisations digitally, and the share of the country’s population that uses the internet is expected to grow to 60% by 2026.
The growing urgency for governments around the world to adopt digital engagement strategies that enhance CX is further underpinned by research conducted by business consultancy MNP, which found that customers increasingly seek opportunities to access services virtually. Consequently, 85% of citizens expect the same or higher standard of quality from government services as they do from private sector organisations.
Other studies that support this trend found that 71% of consumers express some level of frustration when their shopping experience is impersonal, while data also shows that nine out of 10 consumers want an omnichannel experience with seamless service between communication methods.
True digital customers
In line with the trends reflected by these global statistics, a large percentage of Nigerian citizens have become truly digital customers, who transact and engage online daily. Similarly, they have the same expectations in terms of digital and personalised customer engagement from brands and government as consumers in other parts of the world.
Making government services digitally accessible to citizens is the most effective way to address several key challenges within the public sector, including the adoption of a digital engagement agenda with quantifiable results and the ability to balance revenue growth with citizen expectations. This approach will also enable the government to build local capacity and improve local content while building transparency and trust in governance.
However, there are some pitfalls associated with the adoption of digital customer engagement platforms that governments must steer clear of. While digital customer engagement systems have generally shown great results within the private sector, many companies’ communication landscapes are too complex. This is often due to the implementation of siloed products and data repositories from multiple solution providers, resulting in the inability to provide a seamless and personalised CX across the available channels.
Instead, governments should seek to employ an omnichannel approach to simplify deployment and ensure that services are available seamlessly, across multiple channels. Omnichannel – one platform for all channels – has been accepted as global best practice. These cloud-based platforms help organisations create connected customer experiences by removing disparate communication channels and offering a single point of contact for all the communication needs of enterprises and customers.
An omnichannel addresses CX by bringing together and powering a broad range of communication and messaging channels over a single interface. Therefore, an e-government solution that empowers public sector entities to deliver services over an omnichannel platform would provide a truly connected experience for both citizens and government.
Key government services can be made available to citizens through various communication channels, providing solutions such as government-to-person, person-to-government, and business-to-government payment systems, which can, in turn, be monetised by institutions such as fintechs.
Fintechs have a key role to play in the monetisation of the citizen’s engagement journey with the government. An omnichannel platform simplifies the journey by facilitating processes such as instant payments for transactions between citizens and state entities. For instance, a chat banking solution empowers end users by providing access to a secure digital wallet, while also meeting Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements. The solution allows fintechs to provide banking and payment services to government and end-user customers while optimising costs by automating repetitive processes.
An omnichannel solution provider can help fintechs to flesh out a formidable communication strategy by bringing its experience of enhancing the customer journey and adapting it to various use cases to deliver a smooth customer and citizen experience.
Chijioke Ugwuh is the Head of Partnership Development at Infobip West Africa