ANZ governments should leverage trust to personalise services

04 May 2021 4 min. read

People in Australia and New Zealand are seeking more personalisation in government services, and most are willing to share the necessary personal data. This is according to new research from Boston Consulting Group and Salesforce.

Early last year, Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and Salesforce ran a study across Australia and New Zealand – to gauge citizen trust in government services and highlight room for improvement. The picture was one of high expectations, disappointment with digital functionality, and moderate trust in the government. 

A year and a pandemic later, the two firms have surveyed 3,000 people in ANZ for a status update along the same metrics – to find the public-government relationship is much improved. “The global health and economic crisis saw citizens relying on digital services more than ever before,” explained Grantly Mailes, partner and associate director at BCG in Melbourne.

Digital government experience is improving across ANZ

“Governments successfully adopted contemporary delivery processes to adapt traditional services to digital. The more digitally mature governments were able to react and adapt far more quickly – at a dramatically lower cost.” 

The result is a broadly satisfied public. Per the researchers, governments need to use this momentum to deliver more value. A common thread across both studies is that people expect government customer service to be world class – matching the standard of private sector tech giants such as Apple and Google.

A better digital experience is one part of this, while over 60% of survey respondents this year position a more personalised offering as the next step. For more than three-quarters of respondents, this means tailored services – informed largely by the situation of other similar users, or prior government knowledge of an individual user.

Customers expect a more tailored, proactive approach to government services

A more proactive approach is also welcome. Push notifications on relevant services, or services used by a particular user in the past would add value for nearly 90% of respondents across both territories. Just over 10% are even comfortable with the government taking action on their behalf.

Value of trust

The cornerstone of a tailored offering is the use of personal data – a sensitive issue that speaks to debates on ethics, privacy and misuse. While tentative in the past, ANZ residents report a higher willingness to share personal data with the government in return for better service this year. 

Per the researchers, this boils down to the trust earned by governments by their performance during the pandemic. There are inevitable limits to this trust. For one, customers want the handling of their data to be secure and transparent. Many are already happy with the level of communication on data handling.

Customers are increasingly willing to share personal data with governments

And there are preferences on the nature of data used too. For instance, while tailored services are in high demand, the majority of customers want governments to use only the data already available to them. Only a handful are comfortable with the government looking to private sources – retail and purchasing data – to inform personalisation. 

Provided that data is relevant to making their life better, most customers are willing to trust their government. Once again, the pandemic set the stage for this attitude, with widespread sharing of otherwise sensitive personal medical data. 

Customers are comfortable with governments using data they already possess

“ANZ governments clearly communicated the benefits of sharing data for personal and community wellbeing during the pandemic,” explained managing director and senior partner at BCG Sydney Miguel Carrasco. 

“Customers knew the data they provided, for example when checking in at public places using QR scanners, would contribute to contact tracing and faster easing restrictions. The pandemic has proven that customers will share their data if the benefit is clear, immediate, tangible, and compelling.” 

For governments, the imperative now is to “secure the gains in trust made during the pandemic, radically reduce costs, and enter into a trusted data sharing compact with customers,” according to Gisele Kapterian, director of public sector strategy at Salesforce in Asia Pacific.