How Federal Agencies Can Improve Online Experiences—Tips from Booz Allen

Apr 29, 2019 4:05 PM ET

Consumer brands from eBay to E*TRADE have raised the bar for online customer experiences, investing in disruptive innovations, and raising expectations for all digital experiences, including those delivered by government. 

As noted in the 2018 President’s Management Agenda, federal agencies need to keep up. But how can they do so with public sector budgets and under scrutiny? One place to start is technology that scales, yields high ROI, and fits into an agency’s overarching strategy, according to Booz Allen Senior Vice President Shannon Fitzgerald, who leads the firm’s Citizen Services business. 

Fitzgerald shared examples of low-risk, high-yield tactics with Nextgov. Highlights follow.

Fewer steps for actions and information

According to a 2018 Booz Allen survey, the number one citizen request of government is to make information easier to find online. 

Accustomed to seamless experiences like Amazon’s one-click ordering, people want to find what they want to know and do right away—without searching across multiple websites.  

“Anticipate what your citizens are coming to your website for,” Fitzgerald advised, citing the redesigned IRS website as an example, “and make it readily available.”  

Chatbot customer service 

The public also wants easier support when they have questions or things go wrong, with nearly half (48 percent) preferring online chat. 

“Consider sending an automated message via chat when a citizen lands on a dead end or receives a page error,” Fitzgerald suggested. 

Intelligent assistants and voice activation

Imagine if individuals accustomed to using “Hey Siri!” or “Hey Google!” for daily tasks want the same type of functionality for their tax returns and government benefits. Even if federal agencies aren’t ready for intelligent assistants and voice activation this year, they should be putting these technologies on their radar, Fitzgerald said.

“Now’s the time to start considering new technologies such as voice assistants to reach more citizens – including the underserved”

Read the full article in Nextgov and learn more about Booz Allen’s digital solutions.