Digitally transforming the public sector contact center

Are the technological forces disrupting the public sector the same ones that will save it?

by AT&T Business Editorial Team

If you work in the public sector, you’ve no doubt heard about the rise of artificial intelligence (AI)—how it’s disrupting the world of work and has the potential to radically shrink the tax base over the coming decades. Research by McKinsey estimates that up to 45% of today’s jobs, currently generating $2 trillion in wages, will be automated. The impact on the tax base is likely to be significant.

This is not the only challenge the public sector is facing. The U.S. population is aging. In 2018, the Census Bureau predicted that by 2030 the over-65s will outnumber the under-18s for the first time. Aging populations place greater demands on public services, such as care, public transport, and Social Security.

At the same time, state and federal budgets are under increasing pressure. On the federal level, the president has asked all his agency secretaries to find budget cuts of at least 5%. States aren’t faring much better. Recent research, cited in The Wall Street Journal, found that states already face a $100 billion annual cost for post-retirement benefits—a figure which is growing faster than states’ revenues.

But what if all of this misses a vital piece of the puzzle? If AI is part of the forces putting pressure on the public sector, can it also be part of the solution to overcoming those pressures?

Put simply: digital transformation, done well, has the potential to revolutionize how public services are delivered. One recent study predicted productivity gains from automation of up to 40%. A study by Deloitte estimates that today, AI-based automation could help government cut labor-hours by up to 4%.


Where should the public sector begin their digital transformation?

An obvious place for public sector organizations to begin the process of automation is in the contact center. An initial investment in customer-facing AI can hugely improve both customer experience and employee productivity. By automating data collection and sharing, organizations can cut the amount of time spent retrieving data, streamlining their process efficiency further.

And by uniting sources of data and communications—with the contact center acting as the data hub—you can virtually eliminate silos and look to combine communication channels (otherwise known as omnichannel). This opens the door for you to use your data to gain a whole-organization overview of user needs. It also allows for service planning that’s better targeted and more efficient.

Overcoming the challenges to digital transformation

The case for an omnichannel contact center is powerful for public sector organizations. However, it’s also easy to see why some organizations find the idea of migrating to an omnichannel platform a daunting prospect—despite the potential for greater customer success and competitive advantage.

With challenges such as legacy infrastructure, CRM integration, and Unified Communications to consider, the task of moving toward omnichannel demands a hybrid set of skills, insights, partners, and technologies to be successful.

With over 30 years’ experience working with contact center executives, AT&T can help public sector clients find the right mix of technology, the right partners, and the right strategic operating model to deliver an integrated, omnichannel customer experience across the entire retail customer-facing enterprise.

In essence, the very technological forces disrupting the public sector are the same that can help reinvent it. To find out more about the challenges and solutions for public sector customer success, read the Market Briefing: ‘Transforming the Public Sector Contact Center’.