Analog is the hot new trend in service innovation

Adopting a holistic approach towards analyzing the entire customer journey beyond digital touchpoints could pave the way for happier lo-fi experiences

Originally published on the Government Experience portal on February 10, 2019 under the title ‘Why Government Experience Promotes Both Online and Offline Service Innovations?’

By Xische Editorial, February 10, 2019

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For decades, a constant theme in western advertising campaigns hovered around the idea of time and how to save it. Products were marketed by how they saved you time. From hair shampoo to credit cards, adverts would highlight how a given product could reduce the amount of time you spent on a mundane daily task. The premise in these campaigns was straightforward: modern life is punctuated by time wasting and the majority of us are in desperate need of more time. Buying a given product could actually mean buying yourself more time and ultimately, more happiness

Advertising companies have long highlighted the challenges of modern life to sell goods. Yet, the fact is that many of us do feel like we need more time. Throughout the world, people feel that the day is just too short and despite all the conveniences that smartphones and the internet facilitate, we are still operating with a time deficient.  This is an opening, not just for people that sell consumer goods, but for governments as well.  With the rise of smart governance platforms, which improve the function of government and delivery of services through technology, several governments are looking at ways to improve the customer experience while saving time. 

Imagine the time we would collectively save if the functions of government were streamlined to deliver the right results with the minimum amount of time spent. No need to wait in long queues, disrupt one’s day to venture to a far off government office or have to return many times to complete a simple task. 

With a long commitment to efficient government and the use of technology to streamline life, UAE is on the cutting edge of making these dreams a reality. UAE’s leadership keenly understands that time is one of the residents’ most important commodities and if time is conserved then the city as a whole will function at a higher level, people will be happier, productivity will spike, and the economy will be stronger. That is why the government is adopting a holistic approach to how services are administered and allocated. This starts with the collection and use of data to determine how residents and citizens interact with the government. One result of analyzing data was the creation of several applications by the Dubai (one of the Emirates in the UAE) municipality that allowed users to carry out various tasks from their smartphones and thus save a trip to a municipality office. Data can also be used to determine staffing needs, where to allocate extra resources, and how changes to opening hours can improve efficiency. 

One of the government’s primary tasks is to reduce uncertainty in society. While it might sound grandiose to apply that concept to the services sector, the ability to collect and use data today can alleviate the uncertainty principle across all government functions. A smooth services experience, however mundane, can lay the foundation for a happier, healthy, and more productive society. It is a part of society we take for granted but influences our everyday lives. 

The ultimate goal is to reduce the number of interactions required to deliver service while ensuring that customers receive the best experience possible.  Such a goal requires government offices to work together, instead of staying siloed in their respective mandates but also (and perhaps ironically) a fair bit of empathy. By acknowledging the pressures of daily life and time constraints we all share, governments become more empathetic to the needs of residents and citizens alike. Honest empathy can thus improve the customer experience and leave people feeling like the government is working for them instead of the other way around. 

Experience excellence is driven not only by technology interactions but also by curating delightful customer moments in real-world interactions. By focusing on customer journeys, not touchpoints, government service providers are able to maximize moments to deliver world-class experiences while reducing the number of interactions required to deliver a service. The UAE government can leverage its track record in customer service excellence to establish a new benchmark in service delivery through collaborative customer journeys that will serve as a model for other regional and emerging economies.