Over the past few years, the public sector has made big advancements in service delivery: departments and agencies have invested heavily in digital channels; States have launched whole-of-government online service portals; the Federal Government has introduced broad-based digital initiatives.
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Despite the overall progress, the Optus Future of Business Report 2013 had some challenging findings for government organisations, especially in the following areas.
Website difficulties: The public sector has among the highest rates of people experiencing website difficulties. For example, 38 per cent of citizens have trouble finding the right government information online, compared with the all-industries average of 22 per cent.
Low self-service usage: Only 4 per cent of the national sample of citizens interviewed had made a transaction on a government website in the three months prior to being interviewed - again, well below average.
Increasing demand: Citizens expect to dramatically increase their use of government digital channels, but not at the expense of traditional channels. In fact, the contact centre will remain citizens' most popular channel, increasing from 61 per cent now, to 80 per cent in three to five years.
High expectations: Citizens want consistently good service, with 73 per cent expecting to be able to access the same services and features across all channels.
How can government organisations meet all these challenges within increasingly tight budgets?
The only feasible solution is to take a holistic approach: focus on the most important services for your organisation and deliver them well across all channels.
This may require further investment, such as building a fully integrated digital platform as the basis for all channels, but it will deliver significant efficiencies. For example, online self-service functions reduce the workload of labour-intensive traditional channels. Meanwhile, webchat leverages the contact centre's resources and adds the benefit of personal interaction to your website.
Hear us speak and visit our stand at the upcoming Enhancing Government Customer Service conference in Sydney from April 30 - May 1.
For more information of Optus Business Government Services, visit www.optus.com.au/business/Government
By Philip Brady, Optus Business State Manager, NSW Government.
All views expressed are the author's own.