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Where does channel shift begin and end?

In the Public Sector, channel shift is largely associated with the movement of transactional services to an online format, away from typically mediated channels such as face-to-face, telephone, and email. The main idea behind this is that online ‘self-service’ channels are much cheaper per transaction and are more convenient for users because they are accessible 24/7.

Over the past ten years, the UK Public Sector has made significant developments in this area. With such a large focus on digital transformation, often other areas are forgotten about. What we have seen, though, is that whilst those seeking to transact with government have gained significantly better, more transparent customer experiences, those operating behind the scenes are commonly lumbered with processes that have not advanced beyond isolated and cumbersome solutions. As a commonly forgotten area, back-office technology has not advanced in the same way as the front of house, typically involving spreadsheets, emails, antiquated document management systems, and frequent manual intervention.

Having made significant progress in front-end channel shift, it is now time for the public sector to place more emphasis on channel shift of their back-office systems and processes. The sector is being placed under even more pressure to find significant cost savings that are only possible with whole-process revamps and investment in services, capable of both simple and complex automation.

In many cases, back-office processes were often created with what was at the time supposed to be a ‘temporary fix, but, with competing priorities, have in many cases become permanent, leading to a lag in modernisation behind other more customer-facing areas. Delving deeper into channel shift and revamping these forgotten about areas with greater automation of administrative processes enables you to become more data-driven, reaping benefits across the whole of the service.

It is often assumed that automation of internal services only brings about returns in terms of saving money and making more efficient use of resources. The impact this has on customer transactions is often overlooked; it also delivers better services to the end customer - a win/win for all involved.

It’s great that the public sector has made great strides in transactional channel shift, but it is now time to bring forward the digitisation of back-office operations. This can and will lead to greater cost savings as more processes are automated and can still assist in providing exceptional transactional services, with better quality and faster responses.

Do you agree? Let us know in the comments or speak to us about how you can go further with channel-shift and cost savings.

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