Unlock the value of data with omnichannel capabilities
Welcome to part two of our two-part blog on our recent webinar series, “Moving Beyond the Basics of Digital Government with Analytics & Personalization.” Here, we explore how agencies are using Adobe Analytics and Adobe Target to learn more about the future of customer insights from the private and the public sector and how to make insights from multiple data sources available to the frontline for immediate action.
There’s little argument that data will drive the future of citizen-facing services for government. But how to use that data to understand which services the public needs — and how to make them equitable and accessible — will be a matter of strategic importance.
While collecting, accessing, and sharing the data are critical to improving operational efficiency, it is equally important for you to use data to activate the customer experience (CX) in a tailored and personalized way. The challenge will be doing this amid a proliferation of data sources, online and offline channels, and devices.
You can no longer rely only on traditional metrics tied to website visits and app tracking. Instead, government must take a more holistic view of the customer journey to understand how a customer (citizen or resident) arrives at and interacts with the websites they visit and the communications they receive. This requires looking at the customer’s behavior over time and across all the channels and devices they use.
Building a cross-channel strategy
The public expects their online experience to be ubiquitous — to be able to access online services anywhere, on any device, and at any time. For this reason, you must develop a data strategy that considers how they engage with services across all channels. The customer experience rarely happens in a silo.
Today, the typical customer journey spans multiple channels and sessions. A customer may begin a session on a laptop but continue it later on a mobile device. They may revisit the site multiple times and perform different actions on different visits. Often, they may start completing a form but return to finish it later. They may call a contact center multiple times to ensure decisive action has been taken.
No matter which devices or channels the public uses or how many times they visit, customers have come to expect a seamless experience where their previous activity is remembered and information is consistent and readily accessible each time.
This device-agnostic outlook requires you to rethink how the customer defines each experience and the analytics you use to measure it. Reaching customers and making content accessible won’t work with a catch-all CX strategy. Instead, you need to examine the customer experience through a cross-channel lens.
That means combining behavior and operational data from all touchpoints and channels to gain insights from the total experience. Then, use those insights to optimize the journey for each customer.
You can kick this off by understanding what information matters to your customer and what their journey to that information looks like. With analytics and personalization tools, you can gain insight into how different customer segments behave online, where they are engaged, and how to arrange that content for an optimized experience.
By understanding customer interactions, you can reinforce and expand the CX by tailoring content to the individual’s interest and continuing to deliver it through notifications to mobile applications.
The evolution of analytics in government
Shift to journey-centric analysis
As the user experience now spans devices and applications, you will have to question whether the current analytics tell the whole story. Because while session times and page views were the original coin of the realm, they fail to capture how and why citizens do what they do and what they want.
Instead, you must upgrade your analytics to explore every touchpoint throughout the user journey. They should be analyzing questions like these — where are users entering the website, and where are they navigating from? At what point in the journey do they tend to drop off the site, and do they come back? How are different audience segments performing, and how do they perform over time?
All these factors can paint a broader picture of how customers are behaving across channels and inform how to engage them at different points in their journey. Shifting to journey-centric helps eliminate disjointed reporting and produces a single source of truth for your entire organization.
Put privacy first
Increasingly, privacy is paramount to a user-centered experience. New data regulations and policies make it critical for agencies to use data responsibly. Adopting analytics tools and privacy workflows, such as labeling sensitive data and enforcing privacy policies, can help agencies stay compliant while ensuring their data remains an asset to your organization.
Build data integrations for better decisioning
Analytics tools are most effective when they can provide insights across all data from all sources — not just their own. Adobe’s interoperability with other analytics tools makes it a key differentiator in the marketplace because it can integrate with other applications and augment their data to help build out a solid analytic environment for better decision-making and activate a user experience in real time.
Analytics will need to evolve to allow anyone within your organization to use data to make decisions. This requires analytics tools built for both the analyst and the non-analyst, so users in any role can become citizen data scientists.
By design, Adobe Analytics empowers users at all levels to derive and share data insights across teams. The learning curve is eliminated by providing an intuitive interface and quick access to curated dashboards. These tools simultaneously strengthen governance with role-based access, which lets you assign data permissions based on users’ roles and needs. This makes it easier for users to work with data relevant to them while keeping data protected.
How the US Census Bureau went digital
Perhaps one of the best examples of a large-scale analytics and personalization effort was the 2020 Census. The 2020 Census marked the first time the Census Bureau used digital tools to analyze online and offline behavior to get a full picture of the customer journey and deliver the largest digital transformation project in US history.
In generating opportunities for citizen engagement, the bureau used analytics to listen continuously for changing customer data to personalize and segment different audience populations.
The bureau was able to use those insights to align with outreach strategies across channels to engage different populations in their preferred channel (i.e., web, social, email, SMS).
With personalization and segmentation channels identified, the bureau pushed out more relevant and tailored content to those channels to raise awareness of how to participate in the 2020 Census online.
By monitoring which ads went to which segments, the Census Bureau had awareness of where engagement was most effective. As a result, citizen engagement online outpaced its projected targets as the personalized ad campaigns remained remarkably effective.
Over 80% of the US population that self-responded to the 2020 Census did so online.
“We were able to use data to improve operations — by putting the right technology, the right systems, the right data, and the right people together — to deliver a simple, safe, and secure way to respond to the Census,” said Stephen Buckner, CX and analytics lead at Accenture Federal Services, and former assistant director of digital marketing and strategic communications for the US Census Bureau.
How to design a data strategy to personalize and operationalize CX
According to Buckner, you don’t need to onboard a massive analytics infrastructure to start seeing results.
To implement a data strategy, you should start small. First, choose an easy dataset to use as a test bed. Next, figure out how that data can be used to improve a particular operation, and then deploy the tools to gain the insights you need to make the right improvements. From there, you can scale that model and apply it to larger projects.
However, it’s important to remember that a smart data strategy means having the right data as well as the right technology. This will require collaboration among the CIO, data scientists, and other leaders in your organization to make the strategy effective.
As your IT environment and computing speed grow, so will the amount of data generated — which only increases the potential for meaningful transformation.
The goal is to have tools in place to understand how to best reach audiences and know which content will best meet their needs. Whether that is an internal office operation or a nationwide campaign, understanding which channels best reach your audience and having visibility into the data they provide will be the key to success.
Learn more about how Adobe tools can help agencies best use their data wherever they are on their analytics journey.
Read part 1 of Adobe’s two-part blog series on our recent webinar series “Personalization tools can help federal agencies bridge the CX gap.” There, we explore why key performance indicators matter, how the right organization structure also matters, and how customers are finding the right story in the data to accelerate decisioning and activate personalized customer experience.
Melanie Megregian, Adobe senior solutions consultant in the public sector, and Danielle Doolin, Adobe Analytics product manager, also contributed to this post.