The majority (61%) of citizens who use digital government services are satisfied with their experiences, according to results of a multi-country survey from Accenture (NYSE:ACN). However, almost one-third (31%) of citizens surveyed said they don’t use or know how to access any government digital service.
The goal of the survey — which queried more than 5,000 citizens in Australia, Germany, Singapore, the U.K. and the U.S. — was to determine current levels of citizen engagement with digital government services, the current state of such service offerings, and citizen support for the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and other innovative technologies to deliver government services.
Half (51%) of respondents said they would increase their use of digital government services if they could access multiple government services from an online portal. Additionally, more than half (56%) said their trust in government would increase if the government better communicated how the technology innovations they were deploying would improve the lives of citizens.
“One of the first steps governments can take to create a better public perception is to simply bring services online and to promote the services currently available on a digital platform,” said Mark Lyons, who leads Accenture’s Public Service business. “By informing citizens of their service offerings and digital innovations, government will build citizen trust and increase citizen uptake of online services.”
The survey found that as citizens become increasingly mobile and tech-savvy, they expect government websites and digital capabilities to provide functionality and benefits comparable to those available from the private sector. For instance, two-thirds (67%) of respondents identified ease of interaction as being most important when accessing government services online.
The survey also found that as citizens increasingly access more user-friendly AI-driven solutions in their daily lives, they expect the same type of innovation to make it easier to access government services. More than half (55%) of respondents said they would increase their use of digital government services if AI were used to help deliver the services online around-the-clock, and even more (58%) said they would increase their use of government digital services if government used AI to better defend against cybersecurity threats and protect their data.
The research also indicated strong demand for digital government services that are more personalized — such as by addressing an individual citizen’s preferences, age, demographics or location — with more than half (56%) of respondents favoring proactive content from government applications. A similar number of respondents (54%) want government digital services to include more options for citizens to customize their user experiences, and half (49%) want to be able to make payments to government agencies online through a preferred payment method.
“Governments have the opportunity to drive true public service transformation through digital technologies,” Lyons said. “More than just a way to keep up with savvy citizens or streamline processes, digital is a transformational tool that can be used to radically improve the delivery of more-personalized government services that are truly human and enhance people’s lives.”
More than half (55%) of survey respondents from the U.S. do not use or do not know about any government digital services — compared with just 8% of respondents from Singapore.
Only one-fifth (22%) of U.K. survey respondents said they access government digital services several times a year — compared with more than half (56%) of respondents from Australia.
The majority (57%) of respondents from Singapore believe government should make greater use of innovative AI technologies — compared with just over one-third (37%) of U.K. respondents.
More than two-thirds (70%) of respondents from Singapore said they would increase their use of government digital services if their government used AI to deliver the services online around-the-clock — compared with less than half (48%) of U.S. respondents.
Accenture surveyed 5,010 citizens aged 18 or older in Australia, Germany, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States on a variety of public service issues and topics. The survey, undertaken in collaboration with Market Strategy Group, was conducted online in April 2019. Results for the full global sample are statistically significant with a confidence level of 95% and a margin of error of +/- 1.3 percentage points.