KANA Digital by DefaultBased on my experiences from the fore-runner to 2012′s “Digital by Default” PS Public Service Events conference, I wasn’t expecting much more than “interested conversations.” How wrong was I…

Why Sponsor Again?

Let’s back up a little…  why did KANA sponsor, speak and exhibit for a second year? Quite simply because actual ‘Digital by Default’ events in 2012 had exceeded even my expectations:

  • In the middle of 2012, a recently KANA-contracted UK public sector organization made it clear that their customer service operation had to be designed first for the web and then for the contact center.  This was the first time I’d heard of this in the public sector.
  • During the year I’d also heard – both directly and indirectly – of 6 public sector organizations that were planning to only provide a web customer service operation citing that a contact center was too expensive.

Given the negative publicity relating even to the idea of a “Digital by Default” strategy (see my blog – “Digital by Exclusion?“), one could conclude that decision makers have little or no alternatives left for these sorts of ideas to surface at all… And indeed these were the inspiration for the assertion presented in my plenary session.

What did KANA say this year?

During my plenary session on “The Digital Customer in the Age of Austerity” (which you can watch a recording of here), I asserted that “The combination of the demands of the digital customer and the age of austerity have already fundamentally changed how government provides service delivery forever.” I then went on to prove it using real-world KANA case studies from the public sector and talk about some of its consequences.

What did you tell us this year?

I always aim to have attendees leave with new ideas backed up with practical examples of where they have been done before.  Sometimes, depending on the geography, the market and the timing, my ideas may not be relevant, at least not at the point that I present them.  Indeed at the ‘Digital by Default 2011′ event we talked about similar ideas and, whilst there was a lot of “interested conversations,” I left with the impression that no action would be taken in the short-term.

However, it seemed that plenty of action had in fact occurred during 2012.  Not only did I see lots of nods during my plenary presentation, but my assertion continued to be proven at our exhibition stand with public sector organizations talking to us about their issues, ideas and plans, including:

  • The inability to continue to feed the success of existing contact centers due to their spiraling costs, with some quoting call volume increases of between 10% and 20% year on year.
  • The inadequacy of existing contact center processes which were not designed for the web.
  • Ideas about providing a truly comprehensive web customer service operation, that would satisfy new generations of users.
  • Plans to make major and transformative ‘Digital by Default’ investments in 2013 or shortly after.

I asked several attendees whether their ideas or plans would have been considered 12 months ago and the answer was simply “no.”  The main reason given?  The lack of money has forced them to think in a completely different way.

Predictions for 2013

In general, I do think that most people now accept that the combination of the demands of the digital customer and the age of austerity have already fundamentally changed how government provides service delivery forever. However, I’m not sure that everyone is thinking along the same time frames…  so here are a few predictions for 2013 and beyond based on the trends I am observing and the conversations I am having with KANA Public Sector customers that might help move things along:

  1. By 2020, phone-based communication will represent the lowest percentage of government interactions. I originally made this prediction in June 2012 at the Citizen 2012 event and covered in my blog, “The Emergence of the Digital Citizen – Part One.”
  2. 2013 will see over 300% growth in the number of ‘Digital by Default’ public sector procurements compared with 2012. And it could be even higher…  Since the 2012 conference, a major city released a Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ) for a ‘Digital by Default’ “electronic service delivery platform” as opposed to a CRM system.
  3. By 2015 at least 30% of a government’s services will only be consumable on-line. This reflects some of the issues we continue to see and hear from the Public Sector.  I’ll expand on this in a future blog.

What does this all mean?

Put simply, you need to take action now!  Public Sector organizations like you are investing now in anticipation of the predictions I mentioned earlier.  Are you?  And are you doing it fast enough?