Driving Digital

New joined-up digital Government services improve the Customer Experience
My heart sank as the brown envelope with “DVLA” printed clearly on it dropped through my letterbox.  Thoughts raced through my mind: “I’m sure I taxed the car last month”; “I was within the speed limit on the M25 the other day, wasn’t I…?”; “Maybe my wife was driving…?”.

On tearing open the envelope that I am now convinced is bad news, however, I find it’s something much less sinister: a renewal of my driving licence photo card. Phew!

With the dread of possible fines or court proceedings averted, a cloud of inconvenience starts to descend and take its place.  “I’ll need to get a new photo taken, or worse, visit a Post Office.”  Not that I have anything against the essential services that our Post Offices provide – just the thought of tedium and lost life standing waiting in queues!

This was beginning to look like a task that would likely fester in my in-tray for several months before being looked at again.  Yet, as I started to read further, I found that the DVLA has been digitally evolving its services, and collaborating with other Government departments – The photo from my recently renewed passport could be reused for my new license. Fantastic!

Working in technology, I knew this was feasible, yet I couldn’t quite believe the progress made to Government services; this actually sounded quite joined-up and efficient. It surprised me how conditioned I had become to expecting inconvenience and a disappointing service – and also how delighted I felt at having such an improved customer experience.  A further bonus was that the fee for the renewal had dropped from £20 to £14 – Win-Win!

Whether it’s public or private sector services, it’s essential to be thinking in terms of digital transformation. The linking of multiple digital services in this way – through the provision of data and information to one service, with many positive outcomes, is another step towards digital mastery. As George Westerman et al described in Leading Digital, “Many organizations start by re-envisioning the way they interact with customers. They want to make themselves easier to work with, and they want to be smarter in how they sell to (and serve) customers.”

Of course, it’s key that the benefits of a digital transformation are clearly communicated. The delays to the NHS Care.data Programme were as a result of poor communication.  NHS England admitted that delays were to “allow more time to build understanding of the benefits of using the information, what safeguards are in place, and how people can opt out”.

If these elements are addressed early, significant competitive advantage can be realised when creating digital services that make life easier for your end customers.

Ultimately the renewal process for my driving license was straightforward. Within 3 days of navigating my way through the gov.uk website, my new licence arrived.  I have to confess though, that this was still a few weeks after the renewal letter arrived – digital transformation hasn’t yet totally cured procrastination…