[LINK] Oz Govt Falling Behind in Delivery of Customer Services
brd at iimetro.com.au
Fri Jul 27 16:57:52 EST 2007
More on the report at
Australian Government Falling Behind in Delivery of Customer Services
Sue Bushell 26 July, 2007 10:12:36
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 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
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."
The report also concludes that combining excellent front-end customer
service with a robust technology infrastructure and highly trained
workforce is what allows leading governments to deliver better service
to citizens. "Our report found that while many countries have embraced
new technologies - especially the Internet - to reach citizens, their
back-end infrastructures have often failed to keep pace. The most
innovative customer-service platforms are the most holistic in tying
together the front-end promise with back-end delivery excellence,"
This holistic approach underlies the four key findings in Delivering on
the Promise derived from in-depth surveys and research of government
customer service. The key findings include:
Know the customer's needs. Innovative governments are moving beyond
basic demographic categories and looking at customers as groups based on
characteristics that include their values, needs and intentions. For
example, the Central Provident Fund in Singapore wanted to educate young
people about the benefits of retirement savings. The Fund took what they
knew of their targets' attitudes and behaviours and combined that with
effective marketing techniques garnered from the private sector to
provide a truly novel educational experience that includes an online
game and prizes. The game is designed to encourage good savings and
investment habits, as well as long-term financial planning.
Make the connections. Organizations whose back-office infrastructures
are not aligned to fulfil their citizen-service promises create a
credibility and delivery gap. While governments understand that their
visions of customer service will evolve over time, they are now focusing
more attention on making their existing visions operational through
infrastructure improvements. Spain is becoming a model for other
European countries in this regard, creating a national platform for
information sharing and communication through the development of a
common infrastructure that links all the state administrations with
Align your people. Developing the best, most well-equipped front-line
workforce is critical to customer-service success because those
employees can have the biggest impact. Innovative governments are
attacking this issue in one of two ways: ramping up their workforces
through extensive training and recruitment, or opting for smaller
numbers of highly engaged people. Canada's approach to managing its
workforce is particularly effective, with a robust strategy for
workforce transformation called PS Renewal, in which service
transformation and public service renewal initiatives are tightly coupled.
Don't do it alone. Governments' relationships with citizens, businesses
and non-governmental organizations are evolving into a complex ecosystem
in which each of the various stakeholders takes on a share of the
responsibility for developing and delivering value-led services. This
evolution is leading to the next generation of highly integrated
"This is a call to action for governments. We found that the four
pillars of customer service are related to citizens' overall
satisfaction . . . In other words, a significant aspect of governments'
relationships with citizens is directly under their own control: how
they provide services," the report says.
brd at iimetro.com.au
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