Best e-gov services look like commercial services

In a new report, Accenture finds that the most innovative governments are treating citizens like customers, delivering useful services, and breaking the organizational mold.

In 1992, Ross Perot advocated running government like a business. When it comes to e-government that's largely true, Accenture says in a new report on delivery of government services. The best agencies are "reinventing their customer service delivery programs in order to help build greater trust," the report said. Like the best companies, these governments are deploying technology-based services that are relevant and interesting to users; redesigning organizations; and using a variety of marketing techniques to spread the word.

The report finds that around the world, most citizens believe the private sector does a better job with online services. In the US the gap is especially stark where 65 percent of respondents said private-sector business was doing a good or excellent job in developing online services, while only 38 percent said the same about government.

Where governments are delivering excellent customer service, the agency-customer relationship is being reinvented and attitudes towards government are shifting.

From allowing drivers to pay for street parking using their mobile phones to using text messaging for “amber alerts” on missing children to installing interactive kiosks that provide information about city events, dining, shopping, and entertainment, government agencies around the world are adopting innovative new approaches to deliver greater value to citizens.

Government agencies are at a critical juncture for service success because they have “reached the limit” with their current approaches to customer service and are re-assessing and re-crafting their customer service strategies to create lasting value.

The next wave of “leading” government agencies will deliver customer service that builds an implicit trust between citizens and their government that goes beyond citizen satisfaction. The report also found that government agencies are creating increasingly local citizen touch points. By building local connections with the people they govern, for example by opening local government offices or creating citizen service call centers, government agencies are better able to incorporate reliable customer feedback into the design of services.

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