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Citizens willing to share data for better services, report suggests

84 per cent said they are open to sharing their personally identifiable information and 41 per cent would be comfortable with it being shared between government agencies in exchange for more personalised customer service.

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The majority of citizens are willing to share personal information with government agencies in exchange for better services, according to a new study issued by Accenture.

 

The research, based on a survey of more than 6,500 respondents across 11 countries in Europe, North America and Asia Pacific, found that just 41 per cent of respondents were satisfied with the level of interaction received from government departments over the last year, and more than half (58 per cent) said they are not aware of a way to share service-related feedback with government agencies.

 

Despite this, the majority (84 per cent) of respondents said they are open to sharing their personally identifiable information with a government department in exchange for a more personalised customer service experience. Additionally, 41 per cent said they would be comfortable with their personal information being shared between government agencies if it would enhance customer service.

 

"Regulatory measures have at times prevented government agencies from using customer data in innovative ways to enhance customer service."

 

“In recent years governments have taken positive steps to secure and protect citizen and organisational data. However, corresponding regulatory measures have at times also prevented government agencies from using customer data in innovative ways to enhance customer service.

 

“A solution would be to ask for citizen consent, allowing for citizens to opt-in to new data-sharing programmes across government agencies,” said Eyal Darmon, a managing director in Accenture’s Health & Public Service practice.

 

Virtual assistants and chatbots

 

 

Over three-quarters (78 per cent) of citizens said they see benefits to using virtual agents – artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled customer-service assistants or chatbots – to receive services from government agencies, and 47 per cent said they would like to complete some transactions using virtual agents.

 

Additionally, half of respondents said they believe their query could be resolved in the shortest possible time using a virtual agent, and a similar number anticipated benefits from the 24/7 access to government services offered by virtual agents – for example, saving time on waiting for a human agent.

 

Early investments in chatbots generally haven’t delivered the transformation that government agencies expected.

 

However, only 16 per cent have used virtual agents in their interactions with government agencies, and fewer than half of them said the agent was effective in meeting their needs (44 per cent) and that they were satisfied with their experience (41 per cent).

 

“Unfortunately, early investments in chatbots generally haven’t delivered the transformation that government agencies expected – often because agencies didn’t fully consider a citizen’s experience in engaging with a chatbot or what activities a chatbot is capable of undertaking to support the mission of the organisation,” Darmon commented.

 

“That said, our research found that citizens support the use of advanced AI-enabled virtual agents by government agencies. Clearly, an opportunity exists for governments to use virtual agents to broaden their services and enhance customer experience.”

 

When asked about their service expectations from government, respondents most often cited ease of access to their personal information (74 per cent), a quick response time to their queries (73 per cent), increased visibility into the progression of their application through its administrative stages (64 per cent) and to engage with knowledgeable (66 per cent) and friendly customer service agents (55 per cent).

 

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