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New Research: 91% Citizens Willing to Share Data With Government

In a year dominated by changes for the public sector, new research reveals a critical consistency: citizens expect government services to be the same calibre or better than the best private-sector companies in the world — and the vast majority are willing to share data to get it.

New research from Salesforce and Boston Consulting Group, Trust Imperative 3: Know Your Customer, indicates that citizens’ appetite for personalised, proactive government services is hardly a one-off feature of the pandemic. In fact, Australians and New Zealanders are well and truly ready for the next evolution in service delivery. And that means it’s time for agencies to rethink their role beyond ‘custodians of data.’

Previous Trust Imperative reports in 2020 and 2021 established the link between citizen trust and improved digital service delivery, as well as permission to personalise. But this latest research confirms what will be required to really meet customer expectations — 91% of respondents in Australia and New Zealand say they’re willing to share data with government so it can deliver tailored services. 

It marks an important next step for agencies, one that can help them find new efficiencies, understand their stakeholders better, and build responsive and resilient government for the long term.

See the latest insights on government, trust and service delivery. Get the Trust Imperative 3.0 report now.

Dare to share: the changing role of government and data

The new research underscores what we’ve seen in the past: citizens expect services to deliver a benefit to them and make their lives easier; meeting this expectation contributes to the ‘trust flywheel,’ a virtuous cycle in which improved experiences yield even greater openness to sharing data.

This data is what brings to life the quality of services and experiences necessary to meet citizens’ expectations. The more agencies understand about their customers, the greater their ability to tailor services to circumstances and needs. It is important to note that understanding their customers better doesn’t mean knowing everything about them, but rather the information that is necessary to deliver the best service the particular agency is tasked to deliver. 

To understand how and why agencies will need to move from simply being custodians of data to entities that also contextualise information, it’s worth considering BCG’s maturity stages of data sharing: 

  • Level 1 requires very little data sharing outside of one agency, allowing only basic levels of personalisation. 
  • Level 2 involves data sharing across multiple agencies and enables the design of services tailored to customer journeys and life events. 
  • Level 3 involves combining data from the public and private sectors, which opens some tricky questions around consent but offers a staggering amount of use cases. 

Tapping into the ‘trust flywheel’, tailoring services to customers’ unique needs, and building greater government efficiencies will require a move from Level 1 to Level 2 — and the research suggests that a significant portion of government customers are ready for such a move.

Unpacking answers from the research

The research behind this report uncovers a critical and surprising trend: that the majority of customers are willing to go beyond sharing only what is essential to comply with government requirements and instead provide access to relevant data or any data at all if it makes their lives easier. This is a significant indication that government has the green light to move into a new level of data-sharing maturity to meet heightened customer expectations.

But what do those expectations look like, exactly? The research reinforces that citizens continue to want personalised services and proactive delivery — 84% of Australians and New Zealanders are seeking personalised services delivered proactively.

These expectations have hardly budged since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, suggesting that this is government’s new reality rather than a temporary phase. 

Specifically, more than one in three expect government to engage them with services based on their profile and circumstances. And, one in five people want government to proactively sign them up for services they’re entitled to, a 75% increase since last year.

What does this mean for public sector strategies?

The research is clear: government customers are willing to share information in exchange for the level of personalisation and proactivity they expect. This requires moving into the next stage of data-sharing maturity in an environment of increased focus on the economic sustainability of government programmes.

Fortunately, these imperatives aren’t contradictory — in actuality, they go hand-in-glove. Customers’ willingness to share data can help agencies re-use and re-contextualise information in ways that facilitate service delivery improvement, creating new efficiencies and helping agencies build more resilient government. 

The digitisation of services that meet customer needs is an opportunity to provide public sector employees with the tools they need to deliver greater impact and receive greater job satisfaction.

Governments who adopt greater maturity levels of data-sharing have the potential to support their employees to become informed experts, equipping them with the right information and insights to deliver better outcomes while simultaneously increasing employee engagement and wellbeing.

Ready to take your next step?

Governments across Australia and New Zealand have already demonstrated their ability to deliver on customer expectations, as the findings in this report show. 

And customers have rewarded that performance with permission to personalise and a willingness to share more data.

The next step for governments will be to put in place the right governance structures and resources — technology and human — to allow for safe, secure data-sharing that continues to deliver on customer expectations .

For the full research findings and recommendations, be sure to explore Trust Imperative 3: Know Your Customer.

Gisele Kapterian

Gisele Kapterian is Director, Public Sector Strategy, APAC at Salesforce. Prior to joining Salesforce, Gisele served five years as political adviser to three Australian Federal Cabinet Ministers, including as Chief of Staff in the super-portfolio of Industry, Innovation and Employment.  Her responsibilities and achievements while in government include helping drive and shape the Australian Government’s tech future strategy, trade components of the Foreign Policy White Paper, and elevating and prioritising digital trade issues, including helping drive the digital trade agenda initiative at the 11th WTO Ministerial. As an international trade lawyer, Gislele advised sovereign governments and the private sector on trade matters, appearing as counsel before dispute resolution panels and the World Trade Organization Appellate Body. She also lectured in International Trade Law and Finance at Macquarie University.

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