Michael Martino, Executive Director, Customer Experience and Digital Programs, Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB)

Michael Martino is a leader at the forefront of government transformation. Recognized as a Top 50 Global GovTech Thought Leader, his team uses a Service Design approach, to reshape the citizen experience and government service delivery. Using this human centered design approach, he is driving experiences that are simple, intuitive, engaging, and meet citizen’s needs.

Recently, in an exclusive interview with CXO Outlook Magazine, Michael shared his current role and responsibilities at WSIB, insights on the key challenges faced by governments in making citizen journeys digital by default, the best piece of advice he has ever received, personal hobbies and interests, and much more. The following excerpts are taken from the interview.

Hi Michael. Please brief us about your role and responsibilities as Executive Director, Customer Experience and Digital Programs at Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB). 

I am responsible for the Channel and Customer Experience at the WSIB. I lead both the delivery of digital services and the product management of the contact centre platform.

As a Globally Certified Customer Experience Professional, what exactly do you mean by ‘a citizen journey’? What are the challenges in making citizen journeys digital by default? 

The citizen journey is all steps and touchpoints that a person needs to navigate when interacting with the government or public agency. It encompasses the entire process from understanding how to request a product or service all the way to the completion of that transaction. The concept of a journey is used in the context of improving government services and citizen engagement by understanding and optimizing the end-to-end process to make them more efficient, user-friendly, and effective for the citizens.

One of the primary challenges in making citizen journeys digital by default is ensuring equitable access to service. While digital services have the potential to make services more accessible, there is a risk of excluding individuals who lack access to the necessary technology or digital literacy skills.

Another critical challenge is related to the usability and user experience of digital government services. Digital services such as ordering your favorite coffee or tracking packages set people’s digital expectations against the complex user interfaces, confusing navigation, and cumbersome processes that are commonplace for many online government services. These poor experiences lead citizens back to legacy channels such as phone or Fax.

The last challenge I see is maintaining the security and privacy of citizen data. With the digitization of government services comes the collection and storage of personal information. Ensuring that robust cybersecurity measures are in place is essential to protect citizens’ data from breaches and misuse.

What are the benefits to governments of making citizen journeys ‘digital by default’? 

Making citizen journeys “digital by default” refers to designing government services and interactions with citizens to primarily occur online or through digital channels. Digital by default, however, does not mean digital only. Traditional channels are still needed as service exceptions for use as alternative access to service.

There are many benefits to the digital by default approach:

  1. Accessibility: Digital services enhance service accessibility especially for people with disabilities or mobility challenges.
  2. Convenience: Citizens can access services from anywhere, at any time, using any device. This eliminates the need for citizens to visit government offices during business hours which reduces wait times and travel costs.
  3. Efficiency: Effective digital services streamline processes – reducing both citizen effort and the inefficiency of government processes and services.
  4. Decision making: By collecting digital data at the source through digital services, governments are better able to understand citizen needs, preferences, and behaviors. This data-driven approach informs policy decisions and improves service deliver
  5. Transparency: Digital platforms increase transparency by providing citizens with easy access to information and data.
How are citizens’ needs and wants evolving, and what impact does this have on government service providers? 

With the evolution of online services, mobile devices, social media, and AI, citizens are expecting the same level of service with digital government as they receive from other companies, they do business. Citizens no longer tolerate poor government services and experiences.

Citizens are now expecting more transparency, accountability, and responsiveness from their governments. This means that digital services must prioritize open communication, data-driven decision-making, and citizen engagement to build trust and meet the evolving needs of their constituents.

Citizens increasingly expect government services to be accessible online, anytime, and from anywhere. This shift towards digital channels necessitates government agencies investing in robust digital infrastructure and user-friendly online platforms to deliver services efficiently.

Along with this, people are looking for personalized services tailored to their specific needs rather than vending machine government services of the past. This requires government agencies to adopt data analytics and AI-driven technologies to customize services and provide targeted assistance.

These changing expectations are having major impacts on digital government delivery.

Governments must become more agile and adaptable to keep pace with evolving citizen needs. This requires investing in technology, training staff, and reimagining service delivery models to better serve their communities.

This pushes digital delivery to become faster, by better collaborating and fostering partnerships with private sector agencies, non-profit organizations, and community groups. By leveraging external expertise and resources – governments can innovate more effectively and address complex challenges more comprehensively.

Another major shift is governments’ ability to experiment, learn from failures, and iterate on solutions to better meet the evolving needs of citizens. Fostering a culture of innovation will help government agencies deliver digital products and services faster and more frequently.

What’s the best piece of advice you have ever received? 

Timing in government is everything. In some cases, ideas are ahead of their time and don’t get traction – especially if it is a significant change.

If you can hold an idea or anticipate when an idea will get great support – it will catch hold and move extremely quickly. Government agencies are very strong at mobilizing around an idea – your job is to figure out when that time is.

Where can we already see innovative citizen journeys? 

Innovative customer journeys are evolving throughout the world.

Governments such as Estonia are leading the way in digital government providing robust digital identity frameworks allowing citizens to access government services from paying taxes to accessing healthcare services.

Innovative governments such as Estonia are creating citizen journeys in relation to life events. For example, someone registering a marriage license will automatically get a new passport if they change their last name.

If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself? 

Collaboration is key. The more people that support you and your ideas the better chance your ideas will be implemented.

What are some of your passions outside of work? What do you like to do in your time off? 

I am involved in Martial Arts – specifically Karate, coaching a team for Karate competitions.

Content Disclaimer

Related Articles