#techUKPS2030: How AI will Improve Customer Service in the Public Sector

Residents are the customers of the public sector. Perhaps a radical idea for some, but it shouldn’t be. As citizens, we pay taxes in exchange for public services. Just like when we pay a local restaurant for our meal, our patronage deserves a well-designed service experience in return.

The private sector, more often than not, leads the way when it comes to the implementation of new and more efficient technologies to serve its customers. At DigitalGenius, we partner with customer obsessed companies like KLM to optimise customer service delivery. Through this work we’ve learnt that robotic answers don’t work well in customer service. Great customer service will always require the human touch and this is why we suggest the human and AI combination in this scenario for the following reasons:

First of all, customer service bots fail frequently. They don’t recognise context or emotions. This leaves customers frustrated when chatbots are not able to help them. Great customer service will always require the human touch. Replacing the human connection with AI is dangerous for the customer experience.

Secondly, there are a few areas where machines do actually perform better than humans. AI is better at crunching repetitive tasks like ticket filing or database searching. Delegating these tasks to an AI lets humans focus entirely on delivering empathetic customer service. Humans excel at injecting humour, creativity and understanding complex situations. Imagine contacting your local council about a difficult landlord. Would you want to be assisted by a bot? Or a caring human augmented by an efficient AI assistant?

This method of empowering human reps with AI is already working well in the private sector. Customer service reps experience a 20-40% increase in response efficiency and customers see faster and better replies. Plus, because humans no longer spend time on repetitive, mind numbing tasks, they are able to put their skills to more valuable tasks. They’re happier and more fulfilled in their role.

The public sector has just as much to gain from adopting AI technology to help streamline service delivery to residents. Local councils are commonly stretched to do more with less as austerity measures and budget cuts come into play. These challenges shouldn’t translate to a poorer experience for citizens. Implementing a human and AI customer service strategy can help local councils continue to improve access to government services for a large population.

The bottom line is that the public sector can tend to play catch-up with private businesses when it comes to implementing new technology. But they shouldn’t drag their feet on AI adoption. At DigitalGenius, we’re already talking to local councils about how AI can help them serve their residents better, and expect to see big innovation in this area over the next year. Empowering contact centres with AI technology leads to faster, high-quality responses to citizens, happy public sector workers and reduced contact costs overall. AI innovation is a win-win for citizens, public and private sector in the UK.

It is techUK's PS2030 campaign week. To see more blogs like this, please visit the website here.

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