Creating a great digital citizen experience for Australians

17 May 2022 Consultancy.com.au 4 min. read

Publicis Sapient has released the 2022 edition of its Digital Citizen Survey, finding that Australians have a strong appetite for digital government services. Ed Bridgeland, Senior Client Partner at the digital transformation consultancy, walks through some of the report’s key findings.

The embrace of digital services is a great opportunity for the government to further accelerate digitisation. Demand is growing for more government digital services across Australia, with the most cited services being healthcare and finance/tax related. These are used by more than half of the population, with at times (very) high levels of satisfaction.

Overall, 92 percent of the 5,000+ survey respondents said they would use additional digital government services.

Use of Government Digital Services

Expanding digital services

By continuing to add and expand digital services, governments can increase user experience and satisfaction and increase trust and efficiency. Increasing uptake of digital services is all about user experience: financial incentives or more service offers are less likely to drive new digital users.

The key drivers are around making services easier to access, simpler to understand and saving citizens’ time.

What did they like about using online government services?

The majority of citizens are open to as many services being made available digitally as possible. Healthcare, ATO and Centrelink are the most common areas where citizens have suggested extending digital service offers. Citizens are three times more likely to use digital health services compared to legal services and healthcare services are also the most consistently used across age categories.

Other suggestions for expanding the digital service offer for citizens included online voting, real-time citizen surveys/consultations and digital identification/certification.

What other government services would you like to be able to access online?

Building services around life events

With a significant proportion of Australians experiencing major life events each year, a key area of opportunity for governments is to continue to build and broaden digital government services around these moments that really matter for citizens. This involves bringing a range of different services together at a point in time when citizens need the most support, crucial moments such as the birth of a child, changing jobs or dealing with the death of a loved one.

The NSW State government, for example, has identified and built services around eight life events, ranging from starting a family to end-of-life planning. The aim is to “help people make the right decision during complex life events by consolidating information on options, entitlements, and obligations.”

Have you experienced any of the following life events in the last 12 months? Age Demographic View

There is a large demand for life-event-focused digital government services, 60 percent of Australians are experiencing a significant life event each year. New jobs and new homes are the most common and especially experienced by those in Gen Z and Millennial age groups. The death of a loved one and serious illness or disability diagnosis are proportionately higher for older ages. This suggests opportunities to tailor and target specific services to some user groups.

Using AI to enhance citizen experience

Artificial intelligence (AI) holds exciting potential for government services, enabling a much more personalised and efficient experience for citizens. Despite past concern over privacy and the use of personal data, people in Australia are not as concerned as previously thought when it comes to targeted and automated services.

The majority of citizens are open to services that remember their details or tailor offerings based on their personal information.

AI presents an opportunity to personalise citizen experiences, making it easier to find and use services. It will also enable greater automation of transactions, reducing the number of government touchpoints citizens encounter to get to the outcomes they want. Combined, these innovations will drive "convenience" and "saves me time" which our survey found as the biggest incentives for increasing digital usage.

Rate how comfortable you would be if a government website or app

Several suggested use cases were popular, such as automated messages recommending additional health screenings based on age or other risk factors (81 percent) and personalised services based on disability status (80 percent).

Far from being perceived as threatening and an encroachment on liberties, AI-enabled innovations are now recognised by both government and citizens as an increasingly vital tool to improve people’s lives - when used responsibly. This represents a big shift in consumer appetite for and openness to AI, which governments can extend by supporting, communicating openly and building comfort levels in incremental innovations.