Q. The pandemic accelerated the uptake of digital services across many areas of our lives. What are the three biggest changes you’ve seen in how the public sector employs digital channels?
A. We’ve seen tremendous transformation and response from our governments. They stepped up when we needed them most.
One of the more impressive takeaways was the speed at which governments reacted. Second was their agility. The third was government-to-citizen engagement at scale. We’re not talking about a few thousand people applying for something like a grant, but millions of people, even hundreds of millions applying for financial assistance or scheduling COVID-19 vaccinations.
The real question now is how do we harness this agile, citizen-centric approach and apply it to every-day government services?
Q. As we emerge from the pandemic, do you see citizen expectations on public services as being markedly different? Was the pandemic a significant enough catalyst for change or will we see a regression to old ways now that the emergency has subsided?
A. Citizens today want government services that are easy to access, transparent and fast. The private sector has raised expectations. Roll the clock back a few decades, and we as a population accepted government services and processes that were complex and inconvenient. When some of these services and systems were built, it was about the process, not about the citizen.
At Salesforce, we’re a big believer in putting the customer at the center of everything. Rather than design around the process, design around the person and what they need. Technology makes that much easier today.
We will not go back. We’ve learnt it’s okay to go fast. The world is changing; governments need to be responsive. Taking years to roll out new services or adapt is no longer acceptable.
Q. In what ways do you envisage that both the nature and delivery of public-sector services will change over the coming years?
A. No one would have imagined a short time ago that we would be self-servicing through chatbots with government services or communicating with a ministry through SMS. Digital platforms have transformed how governments are able to engage with their citizens and that’s only going to accelerate.
We’ll continue to add engagement channels. Services, currently departmental and siloed, and experiences will start to be connected across ministries. As a customer I don’t want to have to retell my story within the same offices.
Digital transformation is the opportunity to reimagine the services, the process, the engagement, and the government employee experience, in light of the power of a connected digital platform.
It’s also about what we can skip. For example, do we really need our clients or customers to come in for a signature? Salesforce Customer 360, our platform of services, makes this straightforward for customers. It brings together the integration, the case management, the collaboration and the messaging.