Like it or not, CX and security must be teammates if we want to modernize federal IT, improve citizen trust, and meet the goals outlined in the President’s Management Agenda. We recently hosted a webinar to explore the tumultuous marriage of security and CX and found some common ground and new lessons! (You can watch the replay here).
In my last post, I discussed the challenges IT security and customer experience professionals face when working together to make government systems easy to use and secure. We found that the concerns are real, but not insurmountable. For this post, I’ve come up with three things both sides can do to work together successfully.
Spoiler alert: it’s a lot easier than you think.
Action 1: IT folks need to look beyond process and talk to real people.
Ask any seasoned IT pro what causes 90% of their problems and they will say that it’s not them, it’s you (aka the customers). This is exactly why service desks are so busy and why your parents call your kids when they can’t get FaceTime to work. Technology may be made for people, but people aren’t always made for technology.
When it comes to improving experience and increasing security, the customers with their hands on the keys are both the greatest asset and the biggest risk factor. CX-ers like me have no trouble talking with customers all day about their challenges and needs, but we also aren’t monitoring website uptime or on the hook for a data breach. IT teams have so much on their plates, yet to really solve problems they need to find time to regularly talk with customers.
As my colleague Rich Zanatta explained in the webinar, engaging 1-on-1 with customers can lead to big changes and breakthroughs. This is where CX can help IT teams build bridges to customers and help busy techies connect when it matters most. If you don’t have a formal CX approach for how you want to talk with your customers, a good rule of thumb is to ask journalist questions (e.g., who, what, where, when, why and how) to find out how IT problems are impacting your customer. For example, what happens with your work when your machine is broken? How does it affect your department? When do you use workarounds? What do those workarounds look like? Why do you use workarounds to solve your problem instead of contacting the help desk?
By asking simple and even seemingly obvious questions, you unlock potential nuances in the customer’s experience that can better inform how you solve their problems. This can lead to not only a better fix that addresses the heart of your customer’s problem, but confronting challenges on a deeper level can lead to scalable solutions that help the enterprise and thus make your life easier.
Action 2: CX teams need to get in the game early.
Customer experience, ethnography, human-centered design: they are all important techniques that connect people and products in real, impactful ways. However, in Federal IT they can seem like buzzwords or trends. It can also seem like a big project that is going to cost time and resources which can overwhelm an already swamped IT shop. How can we make an expensive-sounding Silicon Valley-inspired process become accessible to government technology leaders in the trenches?
The answer is starting early and starting small. We recommend conducting pilot programs with small teams tackling smaller, solvable problems like resolving 95% of tickets within 1 hour at DOL, conduct research on a smaller scale, engage IT along the way (on their schedule) and share your results in detail. Much like our friends in Agile, bite-sized projects can lead to some pretty big wins.
Pilots work on several levels: CX pros can move quickly and show results, and IT teams don’t feel overwhelmed by yet another initiative they must support while keeping all the proverbial trains moving on the backend.
Action 3: Both sides need to learn to speak the other’s language.
In addition to talking to customers, IT and CX teams need to talk to each other. Understanding the common language of security will help CX professionals avoid looking too risky. Talking around the buzzwords will help IT sell the power of CX to leadership.
Both groups should consider embedding professionals into their capabilities to build credibility and understanding. Getting creative with it could also lead to some unexpected and positive outcomes. Provide cross-training in CX methodologies for IT teams or have your CX folks spend a couple of days working the service desk can help each group learn and empathize with each other more.
In the end, both groups like to build great things and be successful—they just need to be on the same page. Are you struggling to get your security and CX teams to connect? We can help. Reach out to start a conversation about bringing CX and security together on your team.