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Human services looks to analytics to enable better customer service

Human services looks to analytics to enable better customer service

Handheld devices to get rid of queues

Human services is looking to handheld devices and analytics to assist with service delivery, deputy secretary for ICT infrastructure, John Wadeson, has told delegates at the SAS Forum in Sydney.

In May, Wadeson said Centrelink would use wireless to facilitate its customer liasion officers. Referred to as "Chloes" by department staff, the officers perform a ‘meet and greet’ role to determine a customer's need and point them to either self service PCs or a capable attendant.

Speaking during the Trans-Tasman Business Circle executive panel discussion, Wadeson said analytics plays a key role in the rollout.

“We're trying to get out of queues,” he said. “Ask for a photo of a recession and you invariably get a photo of a queue. It's symbolic of bad times.

“What we are hitting for is, as you come in the door, you are met by somebody who has probably got a handheld device. And there will be a brief interchange and they give you a document or something. They need enough information on that device to know whether you need to see a specialist, are you a person the government might have some concerns about, do you need a longer interview… all these things have to be done as people come through the door.

Wadeson said having quick access to the right information would allow Centrelink to help those who really need assistance.

“Queues are bad news and modern service delivery is about getting the right people at the right time doing to the right thing. Analytics is being able to tap into that - we collect huge amounts of data and being able to tap into that is really powerful stuff.”

Wadeson was dismissive of potential privacy concerns, saying governments have used analytics for many years to identify areas of possible fraud.

“The tools are getting better and better. I don't think there is a privacy issue because essentially we are dealing with the customer interactions over a period of time. It has been part of the process for a long time,” he said.

“The control over what data is used and what can be used is controlled entirely by legislation. The frameworks are there. We don’t engage in what you might call broad-based fishing expeditions. What we do is heavily controlled and determined. It's on the public record.”

The more people have confidence in the system, the more the system works, he said.

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Tags analyticsJohn WadesonSAS Forum 2010Department of Human Services

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