Why Governments Need a Unified Grievance Management System
The Lieutenant Governor (LG) of Jammu & Kashmir Manoj Sinha struck the eyes of lensmen recently with his live public grievance hearing titled ‘LG’s Mulaqat’. The Hon’ble Governor was spotted interacting with individuals chosen randomly and giving spot directions to the officers concerned to take measures for resolving people’s grievances. This unique offline experiment is working just fine for grievance resolution and responsive governance when citizen response systems have turned digital. When digital transformation has changed the idiom of governance, have offline grievance management channels become redundant? Not so. I believe that for any citizen service delivery, being digital-first doesn’t mean digital only. The same thought goes for grievance redressal.
The time-honoured offline grievance resolution systems and emerging digital solutions are complementary, and not competing platforms. For instance, an in-person hearing of aggrieved citizens could be as effective as a one-stop platform like the Government of India’s CPGRAMS- Centralised Public Grievance Redress and Monitoring System. The disparate channels of grievance management need to be integrated to create a seamless, omnichannel experience for citizens.
How is Grievance Resolution Linked to Quality Governance?
A government’s performance is measured by its timely and efficient response to citizens’ grievances. Sub goal 16.6 of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16 of the United Nations explicitly states this. The 2nd Administrative Commission of India recognizes speedy and effective delivery of services using ICT as one of the four pillars of good governance. The days are passé when governments responded after getting complaints from the citizens. As governments gravitate towards participative democracy, their stand in grievance management is shifting from reactive to pro-active. Governments are trialing digital grievance handling solutions predicated on emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its sub-fields Machine Learning (ML) and Natural Language Processing (NLP) to elevate citizen experience (CX). To illustrate, the Indian government, in July 2021, rolled out an AI powered tool capable of grasping the content of grievances, categorizing them and figuring out the sources from which they emanated.
Omnichannel Grievance Management Solution Can Melt Worries
Just think how overburdened is the government machinery these days! When you reckon citizen grievances, they stream in from an array of channels- letters, emails, SMS, posts on websites, social media, IVRS, chatbots, physical interfaces etc. Navigating grievances from unconnected platforms can be cumbersome for the authorities. The process of grievance response and redressal can also be time devouring when they are difficult to classify. This is because the boundaries between grievance, complaint and feedback are fast blurring.
Here, an integrated, omnichannel platform for handling grievances comes in handy. A seamless channel will also be in tune with the Government’s vision, embodying one nation, one portal for grievance management. Such a system can pool in and consolidate grievances from all sources and set a timeframe for response.
With niche technologies at play like AI and ML, the integrated solution can quickly sift through a pile of grievances, segregate genuine complaints from frivolous suggestions and capture feedback from inbound and outbound calls. End-to-end integration ensures that if a grievance is not attended within the stipulated time span, it gets escalated to the next higher authority. Since this seamless system is a repository of grievance data, analytics performed on it can generate insights that can be useful for improving government-citizen interface and enhance quality of scheme outcomes.
Citizens are the ultimate appraisers of a government’s performance. When their grievances get timely response and redress, it cements the government’s people-friendly credentials. An omnichannel grievance management strategy can enable the governments to score high on perception and performance.