January 24, 2020

State of Tennessee - Digital Transformation Featured

By Dustin Swayne January 03, 2019 402 0

Tennessee leading the way in adopting a digital first solution.

In spring of 2014, the journey toward digital transformation for seven (7) Tennessee governmental departments began. The Department of Labor and Workforce Development, in particular, sought to engage customers differently. Mainly because there was a great need to acquire information previously unattainable from legacy systems to make more informed decisions on business process changes. So, on a late night in the office, Zendesk was chosen as a trial product, and within a couple of hours started to generate the information needed.

A byproduct of utilizing a CEM or CRM system (Customer Experience Management or Customer Relationship Management) is the ability to view the customer's journey start-to-finish while also providing excellent customer service. In the early stages of use, the department was solely focused on determining answers to questions like:

How many unique calls is the department receiving?

How many times is the same customer contacting the department?

What is the subject of the customer’s inquiry?

How long does it take to process a customer’s request?

What was the customer's satisfaction level?

Since 2014, many additional departments have embraced this model and been able to utilize this omni-channel solution to solve major problems, as well as deliver consistent excellent customer service. Most implementations took less than 30 days and began to drive innovation on day one. See below:

Departments highlighted are currently on the platform.

These departments now are seeking to answer questions like:

How many of our customers are also seeking assistance from another department?

What services are they seeking with our department and the other departments? Do our services overlap?

Is this something that we can automate to recognize the customer’s future inquiry with our department and know that it is likely that they could also need the services of another department as well?

So what is omnichannel?

Omni-channel is a cross-channel content strategy that organizations use to improve their user experience. Rather than working in parallel, communication channels and their supporting resources are designed to cooperate. For example, a customer may visit a brick and mortar location for services. Information will be collected from their onsite visit, which can later be accessed when the customer calls from a phone, accesses a live chat, email, or submits information on a form. It can also relate to social media platform interactions. Say the customer receives services at a location but later takes to Facebook or Twitter to complain about the level of service they received. This information can be linked back to their customer view for staff to reach out and work with them on making sure their needs are fully met.

Why should government move towards omnichannel?

The answer is quite simple. Customers of public and private organizations have different needs. Not all customers have cell phones, not all have desktop phones, some have computers, some may have tablets, some might not like talking to anyone at all. With an omni-channel communication strategy, all of the above differences may be met with one seamless solution. Not only are there many cost benefits to one solution, but also the amount of data upon which leaders and managers can make informed decisions on policy and direction is abundant.

Success stories are growing...

I have previously written on the department of labor and workforce development Use Case where the unemployment claims that were 50,000+ in backlog were resolved by identifying and understanding the root cause in breakdown of communication internally and externally. Traditional communication methods such as telephone, email, and fax just weren’t cutting it. Through the use of communications provided in the omni-channel solution the department was able to gather the necessary information that was previously unattainable by the old means. The customers pointed the department in the direction to make changes that would reduce over 85% of the workload, thus increasing production capacity to focus on producing resolved claims for unemployment insurance. This happened in just a few months.

Another byproduct of the omni-channel solution was for internal purposes in the Department of Labor and Workforce Development. On-boarding times for new hires in the Unemployment Insurance division was reduced from 6-8 weeks to less than one week. Through the use of a knowledge base connected to customer inquiries, new agents were able to answer customer questions within a few days of starting and with no experience in the Unemployment field.

Another Use Case was recently discovered in the Department of Safety where a backlog of more than 22,000 medical certifications for commercial drivers was resolved in less than 2 months. The legacy process of faxing forms to shared email accounts was transitioned to submitting tickets that could be tracked from beginning to end. Response times were reduced by 500 hours!

There are many other Use Cases with equally impressive outcomes from the other departments (highlighted in yellow above) and too numerous to list here. The fact is that this type of system works. It empowers staff to be involved in business process changes and gives management and leadership the tools and information needed to make improvements to their business processes that better serve their customers. It does not require heavy lifting by IT resources and is easy to implement. Within just a few hours you can begin improving your customer’s experience, and at a lower cost. 


*This $6.7million a year does not include additional usage fees. The omnichannel solution above is just $2.03 million a year....

The graphics above represent the current opportunity. There are many vendors out there who claim to offer the same impact, however, it is hard to argue with the facts above that this solution is one with many opportunities and a well proven track record. With the right support, this platform can expand across the state to provide a single solution focused on delivering excellent customer service at the lowest cost to the state. What's even more important, is that the citizens of the state will receive the quality services they need in a much more efficient and effective manner. 

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Last modified on Wednesday, 20 February 2019 14:06

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