AWS Public Sector Blog

Governments create cloud-enabled constituent engagement systems to solve challenges and innovate communities

Constituents and businesses want quick and easy interactions with their government. A constituent engagement system helps governments communicate, listen, and respond to informational, service, and transactional requests from their communities. An effective system provides constituents and businesses with timely solutions for their immediate needs and proactively listens to constituents, businesses, enterprise employees, and other stakeholders within a city or metropolitan milieu, to anticipate needs and innovate before challenges even present.

Governments across the US are embracing the cloud to optimize constituent engagement systems and improve the experience of interacting with government. With the cloud, governments are investing in next generation omnichannel experiences. These omnichannel platforms use artificial intelligence (AI) and smart city solutions to improve the constituent communication experience, reduce and eliminate friction for both enterprise employees and their customers, and manage first contact burdens on staffed, centralized intake points to liberate resources for higher priority initiatives.

Amazon Connect-enabled constituent services

King County, Washington and Washington, DC both leverage Amazon Connect, an omnichannel, cloud-based contact center solution, which helps companies provide high quality, lower cost customer service.

King County, Washington uses the cloud to ensure residents have convenient, equitable access to the services they need. Taking a progressive and empathetic approach, they go beyond the telephone and the call center. Now, virtual assistants (bots) across four different channels—voice, web, text, and social media—integrate with the county’s customer relationship management (CRM) platform providing access anytime, anywhere, for anyone on any device. Tonya Hannah, King County’s Chief Information Officer (CIO) notes, “I was thinking more about the capability to use AI and machine learning (ML) to do a multitude of other things, not just as a chatbot answering frequently asked questions. It’s those other things that are critically important to us and what Amazon Connect can deliver.” Examples include improving accessibility for individuals who speak a different language or have hearing and vision challenges, and rendering information that is consistent across all channels.

With Amazon Connect, Washington DC empowered contact center agents to serve constituents faster and at lower cost. DC’s Child Support Services Division’s self-service application, deployed in 2010 on a different platform, cost more than $1 million to implement over 10 months, with annual maintenance costs of more than $75,000. Replicating the same solution using Amazon Connect took approximately six months with no upfront costs. Contact centers using Amazon Connect can capture data from multiple sources, like agent streams and contact trace records, and collect it in a centralized data lake where the customer-owned data is accessible to authorized users. Access to data in standardized formats using Amazon Connect supports development of dashboards that enabled Department of Human Services employees to make sure citizens are receiving required services, which proved essential during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The State of Iowa transformed their constituent service with Amazon Connect and increased call center capacity by six times; meanwhile, the State of Rhode Island used Amazon Connect to manage an unprecedented surge in unemployment insurance claims, notably leveraging AI via a new interactive voice and web response (IVR/IWR) solution that enabled nearly 75,000 Rhode Island residents to successfully file continuing claims.

AI enhancements

Governments are rapidly adopting AI-enabled communication tools like chatbots and digital voice assistants, available 24/7, to extend constituent engagement operations beyond business hours. These communications tools can also provide information and service through devices and applications that constituents are already familiar and comfortable with. Once a central information and service request hub is set up, constituents can access it through various channels like voice, text, and phone. Because 80 percent of in-bound volume in government contact centers is for information requests with the same answer for one question as it is for 1,000, AI can free up resources from rote, repetitious activity so government employees can focus on higher-order tasks.

Citibot, an Amazon Web Services (AWS) Partner, builds AI-powered chatbots for local governments across the US. Citibot uses Amazon Lex, a service for building conversational interfaces for text and voice applications. To increase the flexibility of their chatbot for robust new query types, Citibot wanted to add a general search capability to effectively use curated FAQ content and recently published data from multiple targeted websites. To design this general search solution, Citibot leveraged AWS Partner TensorIoT’s Web Connector Tool and Amazon Kendra, an enterprise search service.

AWS Partner ScaleCapacity and the city of East Point, Georgia recently collaborated to connect government and constituents leveraging Amazon Alexa. These voice-driven capabilities enable constituents to access information about public meetings, forms required for various applications, and fee schedules.

Less engagement can sometimes mean better service

Constituents and businesses also want their government to proactively address issues. AWS Partner Rubicon’s RUBICONSmartCity helps city governments run waste and recycling operations faster, smarter, and more effectively. Rubicon helps governments monitor, analyze, and improve existing collection routes by providing visibility into average trip time, number of pickups per hour, and compactor idle time. Governments can use this data to optimize and balance solid waste, recycling, bulk, and other ad hoc routes, increasing the number of pick-ups per day, reducing fuel consumption and related greenhouse gas emissions, and saving money.

AWS Partner Nexar crowdsources image capture via dash cams in—typically in rideshare vehicles—and applies AI and ML to geo-located images, guarding driver and constituent privacy by blurring license plates and removing faces. Images captured reveal road and road-adjacent conditions that might otherwise go unnoted. At the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC), this includes identifying where and when roadway construction is happening, change detection with respect to signage, and visualization that illuminates areas of challenge or opportunity with respect to congestion or safety, which can reveal why constituents are complaining about a particular location.

Learn more

Technology enables the improvement of government interactions with businesses and constituents and provides no-wrong-door access 24/7 across multiple channels for those who prefer a digitized and automated approach, which frees up enterprise employee time and capacity so those who require or desire human connections. Check out our CS Week ENGAGE 311 presentation, Contact Center Modernization with AWS. To find out more generally visit our website or contact us.

Learn more about cloud for state and local government. And check out other stories about call centers and Amazon Connect, including how to optimize your call center.

Subscribe to the AWS Public Sector Blog newsletter to get the latest in AWS tools, solutions, and innovations from the public sector delivered to your inbox, or contact us.

More related AWS for state and local government resources: