Government to Business #5: An awesome customer experience registering a business
Welcome. To government to business the, go-to location for, executives, delivering, digital, services, to business and now. Here's, your host gavin. Atkinson. Can. I focus and welcome to government to business my, name's Gavin atkinson, i played, in this week to actually have an interview for you and i've still got that in the can and we'll be bringing it to you next week but. During the week what really piqued my interest was. A place that came through my twitter feed from, the colorado, state government, in america around their new business portal, and i thought i've really just got to have a look at this and and share some of my thoughts and my experiences with. That obviously, you, within the, the, government to business, community, you, currently, deliver services, to business or with your own digital portals, so i thought, it's a really good opportunity just, to highlight some, great stuff, I'm truly actually great stuff that's occurring with Colorado, and. Where there's some opportunity, for them to improve that's, not only for them, to be able to learn from that experience but, potentially, yourself as well so. The the portal in question I'm talking about is my, biz Colorado, when. It came up in my original Twitter feed I guess. What kind of got my my interest initially, was it was coming through from the Colorado, gov, Twitter, account where, they promoted, it I'm. Very very how. I put it um I say. Over the top but you know that their words essentially, was that my, biz Colorado, was the one and only path you need to interact with multiple state agencies to, start a business a little, pretty logo with a lovely, Mountain with a CEO, for Colorado they're my biz Colorado, start, your new business, that word new being bold very, contemporary looking actually logo, to be perfectly honest but, what was important, here I guess was that call to action which, really, got me thinking I guess, where things change a little bit though was when I started, to peel, back the layer around to. What extent that actually met, the expectations that, were being set, subsequent. Tweets that actually came from the the secretary of state within Colorado which. Was Wayne, Williams I think he actually did, a much better positioning. Of the offering so, that it's definitely, kind of race, your interest and gets you excited, potentially. As a small business within Colorado. Around. What they're offering is, that. Doesn't actually doesn't, kind of raise, expectations, too. High which. I'll get to now so. When. I'm talking from these expectations, I guess my initial thoughts were. Fantastic. At last after seeing many, many more a number of actual local. Governments, and local councils within, or, municipal, governments within the United States who have really, nailed that, whole concept, of a one-stop shop for business bringing together not. Only the, the, transactional, component, and the licensing, and the regulations, but also what. Do you need, to know when you're starting a small business what. Are the actual skills, you need to learn when you're exploring, any business what are the managerial, skills, you need to run an effective and efficient business so. When I went to my, biz Colorado, which, is my biz Colorado. Dot-gov, I. Expected. To initially see that a holistic, experience and. I was a little bit disappointed, to be perfectly honest when I kind of had it load it was loading, it looked very aesthetically, pleasing and, in fact when it kind of loads it looks very much almost like you're on an iPhone or Android. Device where. You're getting an actual app experience so. It's obviously been designed very much for a responsive. Website, so, that doesn't matter what the platform is that a customer is using, but. What, you actually get instead, of that that, bigger picture is is actually, a really excellent tailored, experience which, is extremely, intuitive, and very. Very mindful, of the customer, journey in the experience, when they're looking at actually. Registering. Their business so, my, biz Colorado, at the moment really, I think captures, the essence of what makes an truly, excellent. Transactional. Registration. Business, portal particularly, within a state government which is a little bit more challenging, I guess then at the council, level because, you've within America as an example you've got different, levels of responsibility, with, doing the the federal national, government, the state government and, local municipal.
Councils And. The. Way the US Constitution. Works a lot, of the actual responsibility. Is for business, ownership business, registration. And employing. People, and, meeting certain government, relations, and regulations. And very, much results within the state government to actually see a state government in the US do this and to do this well is um you know very very exciting. And very encouraging to be perfectly frank when. You go into this particular site and it starts loading up what really captured, my imagination was. The, I suppose the the easy. Way it stepped you through the process if you're wearing the hat of a customer, walking in their shoes which, is probably. A bit of a mixed metaphor they're wearing hats and walking in their shoes but we, tend to do that let's say we're if you've kind of put that if you kind of imagine that you're a customer a business, user you're looking at starting a business within Colorado and, instantly. What do you get it as I said before it looks very aesthetically pleasing, and. It, just starts asking you some very very, basic, questions, asking. First upfront you know have you actually registered, your, trading. Name yet within for, your business and it. Doesn't matter whether you say yes or no it then progresses, to the next question asking, you around about look do you plan, to hire, staff, or employees, either. Straightaway or within the next 90 days simple. Yes/no answer again and, then, finally asking the question around and and this is obviously again a local. Aspect, of American. Government do. You plan to sell goods, and basically. Goods or rent goods or are, you planning to sell, non-taxable. Services. So obviously within Colorado. The, actual sale of goods or the renting of goods has, a state. Sales tax but the actual provision, of a service in a. Number, of cases is, a non-taxable. Service. So. I thought okay this is this is good the one thing I'd probably say that I would have liked around now. Or maybe a little bit earlier was a bit of a an, idea around how long this process would take I do and. I have been known occasionally, throw a little bit of mud towards, the UK government, with their provision, and of, service, delivery particularly. For business but one thing they do do very, very well is in fact actually be quite upfront with the customer around how long a process. Will take and I think that's actually really. Encouraging, we know business is a very very short of time but. The one thing that I think Colorado, does excellent here is the. Way that they provide the opportunity. Very. Subtly. But you know quite obviously, which is a mixed, metaphor again on this is going to be a mixed metaphor episode episode, where. I make it quite clear that look you can continue. Going with what you're, asking questions or you can save, and come back I love. There the. Turn of phrase it's, not. Very government II and I. Mean that in the sense if it doesn't seem to be it's, official, enough that you know how I'm definitely within government, but it's a little bit more casual and you. Know to the extent that if you don't, want to ask any more questions because. You need to go off and do something else maybe a customer's walked into the shop or yeah yeah. More than likely if you're actually a business owner and you're doing all this work at night after you've been in your business all day you, know maybe that dogs, gone barking, or, kids. Have gotten what something I don't know there's, a little button down there saying I need a break, complete, with an exclamation mark at the end there's, that ability, very much to save what you're doing and come back to it at a later time I actually. Did this quite inadvertently I, was, going, through this process as a customer, walking in their shoes and. Actually. Left, that browser tab, and tidally. Entirely just closed it I didn't even save, it saying I need a break or anything like that came. Back to it probably, half, an hour or so later and, it, actually remembered. Exactly what, I've been doing now, it's. Not remembering, it obviously it's using, for that type of thing based around presumably, a cookie based scenario, but. For it to to, take that approach I think is something. That governments, tend to shy away from governments. Tend to overthink. We, tend to open engineer. Solutions, when, it comes to managing. The, customer. Experience, from an account perspective, and, this, some, you know this approach of just a simple, simple, you know cookie, it's so. Obvious but it's this so it makes so much sense so to, the extent that I went back in, and. It was quite clearly saying okay you know welcome back and you've ready to take your next steps and to. That end that, provision, of initially starting with a cookie.
Potentially. To just know he feel why they could do it to remember, your your progress, today it. Very, subtly. But, very persuasively. Provides, you with that opportunity to. Take, it to the next level and not in a difficult, way there's, an example, there on the left-hand side where basically, it says hey just create an account with us this, way you can actually manage your experience, with Colorado state, government when it comes to your business or, alternatively. They provide again. Presumably through OAuth, to the, ability, district login and recognize yourself, from an account perspective, using, one, of your many existing. Social. Media credentials, that already exists, so that. Could be Facebook. That could be Twitter could even be, Google. With. Your Google Gmail account, that's, a really, positive, step, I think in being able to manage things yeah you don't need to worry at this stage when you're just starting a business to worry about issues, of delegated, authority, and how, you're going to manage that it's, just a simple process to be able to create a business within a state, government so to that, end that, was really. Really encouraging. Again, the language that was used after I went through that a simple law of question of you know what can't what can what can we call you so nothing. Like the usual format within government which says you know provide, your given name provide, your family name provide the Europe your you know your salutation whether, a mister miss MS, missus. And so forth it was just like what can we call you and just, providing that basic information was, again. Very intuitive. Very, easy and a, very warm experience. If I could put it that way from a customer perspective at. That stage it then prompted me and said look hey great here's, where we're currently at here's, where you are so far and it, provided you know a simple little process, one. Two three four five highlighting. Number one saying this is where you're currently yet you it's got your introduction and profile and again, the words not quite done yet very. Intuitive, very, simple, very easygoing. Maybe this is the way things work in the mountains in Colorado as. Opposed to the hustle, and bustle of you. Know within the east coast or west coast within America, of it's all they're on mountain time other questions, you know which you haven't got to yet you know tell us about your business tell, us about the people involved in your business tell us about your company activities. The. Last step is probably the only step that I found a little bit jarring and again, you they've been so. Clever and their is so smart I guess with the. Ease of language. Used and step number five is attestation. Basically. The the, process, to prove who you are I think they could have chosen a much better set, of words around that still, to kind of get the message across I look, at the stage I thought look I don't want to ruin, their, statistics, and kind, of actually go down the path of accidentally, creating a business within Colorado as.
Interesting As an, experience. I'm sure it would be but I thought look I better go back out and just see what's going on at this stage because from my perspective this, was apart. From that very last piece with that attestation, it was a very, good. Experience I said before that they could potentially be an option upfront to kind of say how long this process would take I actually, would take that back now and say I think the process that they followed is actually a better way maybe. At this screen where you're saying hey you know you're not we're not quite there yet at that stage you could say maybe, this, step one usually takes five, to ten minutes step two usually, takes 20 to 30 minutes and so forth what happens to be the case so. That the customer, can kind of work out okay I've, got I've got that half an hour tonight I'll better, do that I'll be able to save that and I'll come back to that tomorrow I think that would be a far more logical way, of being able to present the information but. Overall, for. An initial, offering, it's a very very good offering and I do want, to you. Know provide credit where credit's due when it comes to the way that Colorado has delivered this I mentioned, before that the other things that they could have done a little bit better I guess was how. They. Position this, offering more broadly across Colorado. To. Businesses, when I say that this obviously came up in my Twitter feeds I did go to the Colorado gov. The state government portal it was actually. Surprising, to find smack, bang in the middle of the homepage there they've got a newsfeed feature which. Actually highlights, the mobis Colorado, website and making. It easy for you to be able to start your new business within Colorado so that's. Tastic what they've done they but, then I went ahead look around apart, from that there. Was no real call to action and the reason I say that is that's, a news item which, right, now is of the time of recording is, entirely. Makes perfect sense it's going to be up there at the very very top, because. This only happened a few days ago question is what happens, a week. From now a month from now six months from now when, other, news has taken over the way state, government is run within Colorado and that's, been pushed way way, way way down that page or, is just pretty much not, found at all like. You know results. On page two of Google never seen the, way. That things are actually like are logically, organized. Within the information architecture for, that Colorado cough site there. Is like. Within the little burger, menu you know those three lines at, the top right, hand of the of the page saying menu there's, a drop down area there which does have a section for business, and then if you go into business and employers it can provide you with information at, that point of time but. It's not really, intuitive it's not quite as customer-centric. As I'd it generally, would recommend, government, to follow there, is definitely opportunities, at that level to be able to better promote the. Experience, as far as businesses are concerned when. You get through to that business and employers page they're very number one you, know it's organized within chunks such as starting a business incentives. And tax credits recruiting. Labor laws and so forth and then within each of those sections, there's you know about five, to seven different options so well, laid out very well logically ordered and the very first opt out option there is register my business which actually takes you straight, through again to that. My biz, Colorado, site the very, interesting, bit I found when I was doing this experience, and just you know again try and see well what happened would it take me back to the start no.
It Actually took me to, a dashboard, that, hadn't been created you, know where I provided, my name to, you know as I said before you know what should we call you and very. Logically, and very linearly, it, actually outlined here's the current process we rated them out within your filing it was quite. Brief. But. With that being too, brief it was a I can't. Really pleasant, experience, and something I am just so, surprised, to see a state, government within the u.s. do and to do very very well so, again my hat goes off to them on that we, have gone through that experience though. That I did actually notice on that page for Colorado. Gov, within, that business page they had a little a little. Thing that was actually quite a big feature on the side about you know our you learn, more about starting, a business that's thoughtful that's, that's interesting I'm keen. To see where that goes does that kind of create that that, linkage, back through, to, my, biz Colorado. And, it. Doesn't, know why you actually takes you through to a page. About, signing a business has put together by the department, of labor and employment within Colorado, very. Prominent, heading1. Starting. A business the first, first, sentence and paragraph actually, kind of sets a bit of a an, expectation I thought oh this is going to be good you know we can help you access the tools you need to start your business use this checklist to make sure you're complying with laws and regulation, the Department of ministers and, at. That point it's then goes into a whole heap of I suppose, again it just it does actually say what it what the second. Sentence is it's, about the laws and regulations that that department, administers. It moves, away from that customer centric model of, bringing, together five, or six different, service, offerings across state government and goes, back into that silo, mentality of, here's, what this department offers, you rather than actually going okay. As a, small business owner someone, is looking at starting a business here's, what you need to know and here's, when you need to do it so the first thing bang-up, fried is like you know register, your business for an unemployment, account, but, I thought again. I'm. Obviously in Australian I'm not, used to actually what happens when it comes to the the intricacies, of managing. And running a business within say the state of Colorado but it just seemed a very odd. Experience. To kind of get that up front that's it it did actually have a link. Describing. About when you're registering for an our employment account the best way of doing so is to go to my biz Colorado, so that. Was good but again not the best experience, likewise. Having, a bit of a look around there, are actually, a number of, other offerings. That Cola rado provides, to, businesses. And, these, really. Weren't very well joined, up so. Actually. Coming strangely, out of the the, colorado secretary secretary of state and so the same area that delivers, the, mob is Colorado, is the Colorado. Office of Economic Development and international, trade now, maybe. They. Tend to look after the big end of town I'm guessing you know to actually attract large scale businesses, into Colorado and maybe, from that point of view the customer, proposition, is a little bit different between what they're offering is, and what, the actual offering, of my biz Colorado, is which might be more at that small, business, that starting, up that said, I did kind of expect. That even if you were operating, a large or, medium sized, business, and. You were looking at opportunities to relocate, your business to Colorado, due to its you. Know many, different, lifestyle. Positive. Aspects that. There. Would least be something here that provided. You with some clarity, around okay, you manage, your business or you actually have a business within this particular location here's, what you need to know when, it comes to registering. A business within, Colorado. Now. They may have actually decided to very, much aim at a non. Digital way of being able to engage with those customers, so that you build quite, lit up, front a relationship. From a person, to a person rather. Than by the website which is obviously what you tend to do if you're trying to you, know service a larger, mass audience, but it wasn't, as a. Congruent. As experienced. As I would, generally expect an actual area within the same department, that delivers the same service, so it's again. It's like a silo, within a silo not, a good experience from that point of view the, other thing of course is that within. America there's a, lot of that actual that information I'll provide I mentioned, very very at the beginning of this episode around. Look what do I need to know about, you, know the skills, of, starting, a business is a business actually right for me is my idea going to work all, those more, exploratory. Aspects. Of of potentially.
Signing Your business. Generally. Speak with in America tend to be delivered by, small. Business, development, centers which are run, out of usually, each state, they, usually tend to be a partnership, between, the state, government, and the Small Business Administration from. The, US federal government so, maybe. Due to the way the funding arrangements, work between the state and federal government, they have to produce it and deliver it in this way rather than actually wrapping, it all up and packaging, it into, a single, customer experience, as I was saying before and the way that a number of governments would do but the lack of integration again, between this particular site, and my, beers was was actually quite alarming, and I, guess the other thing about this particular site was you, know you kind of start drilling down into the the. Small Business Development Center Network for Colorado, and they've. Actually got to. Be perfectly frank a fantastic. Resource with, this Colorado, business resource book it's a very very large, book and when I say that it's like a 72, page PDF document. Complete with hipster, beard photos, and, so you kind of think well this has been recently put together and looks quite you know on point very trendy but, the actual level of detail than it was was again it was good it was really, really good it took you down to that next level where you know you need, certain information and it, did package it up very very well albeit, within a big. PDF, document. There's actually quite a lot of opportunity, I believe for, Colorado, if they, were working, with the Small, Business Development Center to look, at how can that information be repackaged, how could you actually bring that together into, mygov Colorado. So, that there is a you. Know an integrated. Offering between, that, should I be starting a business and yes I found all that information, out now yes, I do want to start a business and I know my, idea. My market, is is going to be a good fit let's, start that business let's get into that transactional. Environment let's let's register so. I think there is actually quite a lot of opportunity, in that particular space the, other thing of course was, which was a little bit alarming was, within, that small, business development center, they tended to link, off to some information again to the Secretary of State to be able to you know start your business and again. This is the same secretary, of state organization. Which delivers, my biz Colorado. Also delivers that other, website that I mentioned before choose, Colorado, and it's. All around to filing a form so even though there's, this excellent. Resource produced, by the same department around, registering. Your business and a fantastic, customer experience, it still actually still, has a page there around, here's, all the forms, that you need to be able to fill in and you can kind of click on those forms, and then, it'll go off and give you all that information in. Very, dull, dreary, format. So there's, something I guess to be mindful. Of that there's a lot of opportunity, there for that to be improved but, overall, again, this, is very early days this, is only literally gone live within the last few days and, as, a result it, could just be a case that the communication. Internally, within government hasn't occurred yet it is something. That we know and, I'm sure you've experienced, this all the time communication. Even within government, departments, between, you know offices and different teams isn't. Always perfect, and there, is always, an opportunity to improve so perhaps. It's just the case that this hasn't progressed, yet through to those areas that I mentioned before to create those linking, opportunities, and, those opportunities do need to happen not ages from the customer, experience but, also in, just better, enabling. The way that Google finds, my. Biz Colorado, when.
I Was searching and, I kind of used a VPN to go in and actually mask, my IP address to come out of that mountain. Area, of a mountain mountain region of the US and. I was searching for the starting a business in Colorado you, know again nothing, within that that top pasted the top ten results I had, any links through to my, biz Colorado, so that's, a bit of a worry again that's something that can be solved, obviously, by closing, down some of those previous pages, that are on the Secretary, of State's website around, filing, a number of these forms and then 301. Redirecting, that so you kind of parse all that link juice the Google link to through improving. The linking that's occurring from that actual homepage improving. The linking that's occurring within, a number. Of those departments, that are actually delivering services, to business and of, course as well from say the Small Business Development Center as well overall. Opportunity. To improve without a shadow of a but, if you are looking at how can you deliver. A truly excellent experience. For. Registering. A business, and, doing. So in such a way that cuts across multiple. Departments. Within. The same state government, you really you can't go wrong from the offering from my best Colorado I do really encourage you to have a look at that to go through and then take, part in that experience, as I said before I didn't go all the way to the end so I'm, kind of hopeful that it kind of continues, that experience, but, I don't want to kind of you know ruin their stats or anything like that but. You'll enjoy. Have a look at that and hopefully. You'll. Get some learnings, from it and we'll be aiming at how you can, in fact deliver that integrated. Experience that excellent, customer experience, when it comes to registering, and starting. A business within, your jurisdiction. Thanks. For listening to government, to business for. Show notes and how Gavin can help your department, or agency, visit. Government. To business comm. You. You.