The pandemic shifted us all online, whether we wanted to or not. It forced the public sector to adapt more than most industries, requiring citizens to interact digitally with governments to receive the health and financial support available to them.
Digital technology promises to elevate government customer experience (CX) by scaling services, cutting wait times, and reducing costs. Yet, according to the 2022 ServiceNow customer experience survey in Australia and New Zealand, government services haven’t maintained fast, responsive digital delivery. Consumers called out the public sector as one of the worst-performing industries when it comes to CX.
What can governments do to improve CX outcomes? Here are three steps.
One unique challenge the public sector faces is the need to provide for everyone. That requires designing experiences for both people who are connected and comfortable with technology and those who aren’t or don’t have access.
According to a 2021 EY report, nearly one-third of people believe technology will not be equally available to all groups in society.
That’s true in Australia, where many people living in remote and rural areas lack access to technology and/or reliable internet. Some Australians could be left behind.
The EY report further found one-third of citizens want governments to use more digital technologies for service provision and bridge the technology and connectivity gap.
Government agencies and departments must listen to what taxpayers are saying. Then they need to incorporate that feedback into their service offerings.
“Digital transformation is only successful if it provides a better experience than before—and the only way to know that is by getting good feedback,” shared Victor Dominello, minister for customer service and digital government in New South Wales, at Knowledge 2022.
Traditionally, governments didn’t want to know what people thought, he added. “But you can’t elevate the citizen experience unless you understand it. Now we’re actively inviting and providing easy channels to capture feedback...It’s a massive culture shift.”
ServiceNow research revealed speed is the most important factor in good service for Australians. One way governments can improve this area is introducing a digital ID to validate residents so they don’t need to repeat themselves or log in multiple times.
The Australian government has made some progress on this front, with its myGov portal for multiple services. It’s still limited to a handful of departments, as many state and local governments vary in their digital maturity.
This technology offers promise. When the Department of Home Affairs introduced portals to manage returning citizens during the pandemic, they cleared a backlog, accelerated processing, and removed the risk of human error.
The key to success with these types of technologies is data sharing, the absence of which is a concern for consumers, according to the ServiceNow research. Nearly half (44%) believe a lack of ownership between departments leads to bad service. Additionally, 41% believe inefficient communication within an organization results in poor experiences.
Connecting teams through technology and enabling data sharing can give governments a 360-degree view of the citizen experience. With this, agencies and departments can provide faster services arranged around an individual’s needs and life experience.
If a government is going to have a comprehensive view of its population to provide effective digital services, it needs to capture data from multiple sources and make that data available to all services that require it.
One example is NSW Health’s IT platform, HOPE, which was co-designed by consumers, clinicians, and managers across New South Wales in partnership with the Agency for Clinical Innovation, eHealth NSW, and the NSW Ministry of Health. It’s built on the Now Platform.
The system allows both consumers and clinicians to access real-time information, better understand what matters to patients, and support shared decision-making about care, treatment, and health interventions. It’s making services faster, more collaborative, and responsive to individual needs.
It can also take data from both digital and analog inputs so that anyone can benefit—regardless of their digital capabilities.
Improving government CX isn’t the work of a moment. By listening, incorporating feedback, and creating easy-to-access and compelling linked digital services, governments can deliver a seamless experience—one that leaves no one behind.
Find out more about how technology can improve public sector services.
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