Multi-country findings also show demand for non-digital options and secure practices
People want simple, intuitive digital government customer services that are secure and ensure privacy is protected, according to a new Accenture report, Public service experience through a new lens. They also still want the options of telephone or in-person services.
The report, based on survey findings in North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific, show that as public service sectors modernize, they need to focus on keeping it simple.
The percent of respondents saying they wanted more digital interaction with their respective governments increased to 39% in 2022 from 29% in 2019. However, more than half of respondents (53%) said accessing public services is frustrating and only one-third (36%) find government processes and interactions intuitive.
“The best step forward to improve customer experiences is to establish simple and secure processes so people can get what they need on the first try,” said Eyal Darmon, Accenture’s global public sector customer engagement lead. “If people – the customers – can quickly get easy questions answered via straightforward online, phone or in-person services, this frees up government workers to focus on more challenging customer service questions.”
Government Customer Priorities
People surveyed prioritised ‘ease of use’ and ‘more confidence in data security and privacy’ when asked what would make them more likely to use digital services. More than half (53%) say they would be willing to share more personal data with government agencies for greater convenience and efficiency. The research also found that while most people interact with governments less than once a year, those who rely more on government services are the strongest supporters of increasing digital interactions.
In addition, the research highlights the importance of providing efficient non-digital services. More than 20% of survey respondents said they lack high-speed Internet access at home, and more than 40% prefer in-person or telephone access as top ways of accessing government information.
“Prioritising customer service in government is about seizing opportunities to deliver better experiences and outcomes for all,” said Kevin Ellenwood, public sector lead in Accenture Song (formerly Accenture Interactive). “Yes, we see lots of rising interest in and emphasis on digital channels, but the core goal is better serving people, not forcing a specific channel.”
Government Workers’ View
The research also gauged perceptions of government workers on customer service topics. Of note, government workers expressed strong positive views about their work, employers and use of technology. For instance, 87% said they feel empowered by their work, 84% said they feel supported by their employer, and 94% expressed confidence in their ability to use new digital tools when provided by their employer.
However, many government workers noted they had limited cyber-security training. Only one-third of government workers said they receive regular training on cyber and data security, and in general the survey found strong government worker interest in training to improve their abilities to serve government customers.
“Continuous education and training on cyber-security could help increase government workers’ and customers’ confidence in digital government services,” added Eyal. “Cyber-security should always be front-and-centre as an ongoing priority.”
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