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Australian Government Falling Behind in Delivery of Customer Services

Australian Government Falling Behind in Delivery of Customer Services

Once they were top performers, praised for their strong visions of value-led, citizen-centric services, but somehow Australia, Canada, France, the United Kingdom and the United States have all let service flag in the eyes of their citizens

Once they were top performers, praised for their strong visions of value-led, citizen-centric services, but somehow Australia, Canada, France, the United Kingdom and the United States have all let service flag in the eyes of their citizens.

Now Accenture is warning those nations against losing momentum, concerned they may be becoming stymied by their own success and tempted to dawdle on transitioning from the winning recipes of the past.

The Accenture report concludes that combining excellent front-end customer service with a robust technology infrastructure and highly trained workforce allows governments to deliver better service to citizens

"The work ahead is not easy. Nor will it have the immediate and visceral appeal of the high-profile work governments have done on their front-end service structures in the recent past. Nevertheless, it is work that can no longer be pushed to the bottom of the customer service agenda. Citizens impatiently await the results," a new Accenture report warns.

The report, Leadership in Customer Service: Delivering on the Promise, the eighth in an annual series examining the customer-service challenges, maturity and practices of governments around the world, ranks 22 governments based on an assessment of their customer-service programs, but this time with a major enhancement. For the first time, the rankings incorporate direct citizen feedback on quality of government service delivery, based on criteria like the user-friendliness of customer-service channels, the breadth and depth of online services accessed by citizens, and overall citizen satisfaction ratings.

And on this measure, governments that used to pride themselves on leadership are looking somewhat less flash. Accenture now considers the governments of Singapore (scoring 89 percent on customer maturity ranking) and Canada (88 percent) — both with strong and compelling visions of value-led, citizen-centric service — as doing the best job of delivering on the promise of customer service. The United States has fallen back to the second tier (79 percent), where it joins Denmark (79 percent), and Sweden (74 percent), who rose over their previous rankings.

While the introduction of citizen survey responses make comparisons with past years difficult, Australia's ranking looks far less impressive this year — on just 59 percent — where it is easily pipped by Norway, (64 percent), and Finland (62 percent.).

In some of the strongest performing countries from past reports, including Australia, Canada, France, the United Kingdom and the United States, citizens are still generally satisfied, but don't believe service has improved in comparison to three years ago, the report finds.

"What will it take to move citizens beyond complacency in these countries? What will it take to reverse citizen disenchantment, or to maintain the positive momentum in others? In short, what will it take for governments to continue to build the trust with their citizens?

"It will take putting a robust vision of customer service into action. Governments have promised the world to citizens. They have talked about removing organizational boundaries and providing highly tailored service based on a deep understanding of who their citizens are-as individuals and as members of communities. In the end, however, citizens will judge their governments by their actions rather than their promises. And governments still have much work to do to be able to keep their word."

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