Government customer service leaders know that technology alone won’t deliver a great experience. Instead, it needs to be aligned with their customers’ needs and expectations, including those not always clearly known or expressed. Human-centered design is critical to ensuring AI solutions can interpret customer and agent needs – and interact effectively to meet them.

Dive deep into customer experience

Use human-centered design techniques to:

  • Reveal opportunities to improve customer experience and service delivery across all touchpoints.
  • Identify where and how self-service can deliver the most value and be most widely adopted.

Study preferences and behaviors

Use immersive research methods to:

  • Discern how customers move across channels in a multi-touchpoint experience.
  • Pinpoint which service requests are prime opportunities to enable self-service.

Identify common challenges

Synthesize research findings to:

  • Surface common challenges users face in the tasks they are seeking to accomplish.
  • Find instances where customers don’t always express intent in the same terminology the service provider uses.

Map intents

Use experience design to:

  • Envision and orchestrate specific interactions to advance the user journey.
  • Understand customers’ intent better – and sooner – so you can proactively intervene in many cases with a self-service option optimized for the intended task.

Move to scale

  • After mastering intents, scale the capability to include more intents or the same intents across more channels.
  • Extend the chatbot or voicebot to integrate with live agents, making handoffs more seamless.
  • Example: If the first project was a chatbot, use the learnings from that effort to launch a voicebot that runs off the same technology.

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What distinguishes commercial market leaders is the care and effort they invest in designing these interactions. Simply mining an FAQ or other knowledge source can create dialogue flows that don’t adequately anticipate user expectations and unstated needs. By using specialized user interface design techniques and tools like journey mapping, as one example, organizations can design conversational AI tools to share information in the right context at a moment that matters. That, in turn, enables them to quickly and effectively guide the user to their appropriate answer.

Don’t forget to look inside, too

Consider how AI-powered service could be applied for purely internal functions – particularly the IT helpdesk. Imagine having a voicebot-based password reset capability and how many human resources could then be deployed to higher-level troubleshooting and support needs. Implementing that solution also provides another avenue for experimentation and skill building among employees.

When implemented well, Applied Customer Engagement+ creates an ecosystem where customers prefer to use automated channels to answer simple questions or complete transactions. Just as experience leaders have extended transparency and control, federal agencies can extend Applied Customer Engagement+ across channels so it’s easy for people to access the information and services they need. Automating more customer needs also reduces call volume – freeing agents to focus on more complex customer questions and requests.

The result: Better experiences at a lower cost.

About the Authors

Jonathan Alcabes

Managing Director, Lead – AI Enhanced Interactions, Accenture Federal Services


Jen Baird

Manager – Customer Strategy, Accenture Federal Services


Kathy Conrad

Director – Digital Government, Accenture Federal Services​


David Nation

Senior Manager – Customer Service Transformation, Accenture Federal Services


Chris Zinner

Managing Director, Lead – Digital & Customer Experience, Accenture Federal Services

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