Automation in government: Harnessing technology to transform customer experience

Matthias Daub, Tony D’Emidio, Zaana Howard, and Seckin Ungur at McKinsey: “Who knew that one could develop warm feelings for a German Federal Employment Agency chatbot? If you own a business and wish to apply for state funds to supplement your employees’ reduced salaries, then UDO will fill in the application form for you. “Let’s go!” the digital assistant declares, launching into a series of questions. The system displays reassuring expertise; the queries—about the size of your workforce, the extent of the reduction in working hours, and so on—are simple, clear, and sensitive to previous responses, and the interface offers soothing blue tones and rounded edges. UDO goes on to ask why the workers are on reduced hours: for economic reasons, such as the cancellation of a large order due to the coronavirus, or because of an unavoidable event, such as a measure to mitigate the spread of the pandemic? And by now, a powerful and comforting thought may well arise in the citizen’s mind: UDO really cares.

In this article, we argue that smart use of automation can enable governments to provide outstanding levels of customer experience, driven by innovations that are as sensitive to people as they are to technology. We begin by considering the challenges and rewards of enhancing customer experience for governments. Then we discuss the benefits to governments of using automation to improve customer experience. Finally, we turn from why to how, identifying three key practices common to successful automation initiatives in public services….(More)”.