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Behavioral Science & Customer Centricity: Lessons From The Executive Order

Last month, the White House issued a critical Executive Order “Using Behavioral Science Insights to Better Serve the American People”. The Order instructed federal agencies to leverage behavioral science to identify policies and operations that could improve “public welfare, program outcomes, and program cost effectiveness”. The Order further suggested that government agencies should recruit behavioral experts whenever necessary to implement policies and programs to reflect how people:

  1. Engage with;
  2. Participate in;
  3. Use;
  4. And respond to information.

Why the Executive Order?

Why did the White House issue the Order? The Order was founded on evidence from behavioral researchers that people need guidance to help sway their decision making process.

The Order stated:

By improving the effectiveness and efficiency of Government, behavioral science insights can support a range of national priorities, including helping workers to find better jobs; enabling Americans to lead longer, healthier lives; improving access to educational opportunities and support for success in school; and accelerating the transition to a low-carbon economy.”

But how can organizations quickly make impactful improvements to effectiveness and efficiency of leveraging insights at their agencies? It all comes down to leveraging data to increase audience engagement and prompt relevant action with government programs and resources. It seems easier said than done, but there’s already a wealth of resources at the fingertips of agencies.

How Do We Put the Order to Practice?

Tap Into User Insights

Organizations must leverage analytics to inform better decisions and serve citizens. Web, communications, and satisfaction metrics are critical to understanding how people engage with, participate in, and use government services.

First, look at every digital interaction your audience experiences (if you need help, check out the examples in our recent “Mapping Your Citizen Customer Journey” Infographic). Then, leverage interaction metrics to create citizen-centric communications that improve the overall experience. Here are a few ways you can put this to practice:

  • Open the door to a digital relationship by offering sign-up options for topics of interest throughout your organization’s website, including online contact or enrollment forms.
  • Allow your audience to select their preferred channels like email or text messaging, along with other preferences such as timing and personalization.
  • Combine audience preference data with web and communication engagement metrics to provide citizens with what they need in a way that is focused on, relevant to and convenient for them
  • Look at communications reporting, website metrics, and customer surveys to continuously measure, review, and improve the experience through the year.

User analytics allow government agencies to better anticipate the needs of citizens and stakeholders. And, they can meet those needs with digital tools and personalized campaigns designed to drive awareness, action, and a better experience overall.

Design Better Digital Experiences

In a connected, customer-centric world, citizens expect to have their needs met when and how they prefer.  And their perception of how government meets their needs is heavily influenced by their awareness of the availability of resources and services. Considering that digital communication is a powerful driver of awareness, behavior-based communication drastically improves the customer experience by offering immediate and relevant service to the broadest audience.

At GovDelivery, we are seeing government agencies become increasingly more sophisticated in the execution of communications that leverage behaviors like form abandonment or inactive digital engagement – to better serve citizens and stakeholders. And organizations are integrating these types of targeted and action-based messages seamlessly into existing business processes to improve the experience of every digital interaction.

For example, if a citizen begins an enrollment process and subsequently abandons the process because of confusion or Internet connectivity issues, triggered reminders can be sent to offer resources or instructions to complete the process.

 Improve the Use of Cloud Technology to Execute

A recent Harvard Business Journal piece suggests “public policy has often relied on assumptions of rationality when accounting for human behavior, which has led to suboptimal policies in the past.”

While the private sector is driven by profits to drive innovation and communication, the public sector is driven by outcomes. Some public sector organizations fall short when it comes to communications technology. Our view into over 1,000 organizations tells a different story. Organizations are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their execution of customer-centric and action based messaging.

Digital communications – especially targeted and personalized messages – are fast, streamlined ways to improve agency outcomes. Through analyzing audience interest and engagement, organizations can test variations of messaging and content to continually improve the information delivered to audience members.  With cloud communications technology, this can all be done easily regardless of agency size or reach.

Final Thoughts

With digital communication techniques like marketing automation and multi-channel outreach, organizations can deliver the right message to the right person at the right time. These are critical components to providing better service through the use of behavioral activity, demographics and message engagement.

We will leave you with a final excerpt from the Order:

“Where Federal policies have been designed to reflect behavioral science insights, they have substantially improved outcomes for the individuals, families, communities, and businesses those policies serve.”

View more information about the Executive Order.

 Learn about how GovDelivery can augment your digital communications efforts as a local, state, or federal organization. Connect with us now.