How the NSW Government is raising customer experience standards

Service NSW team details how it is unifying the customer experience in a way that should make every corporate jealous

For any marketer that has ever doubted the experience they give to their customers, there has always been one benchmark they would have felt comfortable clearing: No matter how complex their interactions, how tedious their forms, or how long their queues, their experience could never be as bad as dealing with government.

But as the commercial sector has improved its standards of customer service, it has in turn raised customers’ expectations. Those rising expectations have also been noted within several public sector agencies.

For the Government of New South Wales, a desire to raise standards of customer experience across not just one agency or department, but across government as a whole is now leading to outcomes that would make many commercial organisations jealous.

Service NSW seeks to combine all interactions with the NSW government into a unified call centre, online experience and service centre model. Starting three years ago, more than 850 transactions across 40 agencies have now been brought under the Service NSW umbrella, with more than 30 million customer visits since launch.

Service NSW’s director of technology operations, Colin Jones, says the mission slogan adopted is ‘tell us once’.

“Where we started was recognising that there needed to be at the very least a single point of contact for the citizens or businesses for all services across the state, and across agencies,” he says.

Rather than just consolidating existing clunky and tedious services, Service NSW has provided an opportunity for complete service redesign.

According to its director of business architecture, Glenn Einsiedel, this is resulting in a design process that actively involves customer feedback from the outset, through the proof-of-concept stage and into the delivered service.

In the case of Web pages for instance, Einsiedel says service designers will constantly note customer reactions to the placement of elements on a page, down to specific colours and even to specific words that might be causing customers to disengage or escalate their query to a call centre or service centre.

“And through those insights we can do some quick changes that reinforce the approach we want to provide,” he says.

New services are constantly being brought into the fold, and Jones says much of the focus now is on those transactions which customers struggle to complete in a single interaction or through a single channel, particularly online.

“We have still got a lot of work to do in making those transactions flow from beginning to end consistent, and be able to operate in the digital world in particular,” Jones says. “If we use some clever design in the front-end at service centres, we can give the customer experience of an integrated process, even if we are doing some of that work ourselves. On the digital channel you can’t give that appearance, it has to be actually integrated.”

Director of technology architecture and risk management, Ben McMullen, said that critical to Service NSW meeting this agenda has been the ability to tie different processes together, and for that Service NSW has turned to integration technology specialists, MuleSoft.

“We need a service which exposes system of records, the registries where the information is kept, with the appropriate security controls to ensure protection of both privacy and security around the various elements, so that that can be delivered across any of the three channels that we operate on,” McMullen says.

Most importantly, Service NSW is demonstrating the uplift in customer service that its creators originally sought. Jones says over the last three years, Service NSW has collected more than 4 million survey responses particularly through the automated customer flow management system in the service centres and through the contact centre to gauge the quality of customer experience, and the response has been gratifying.

“On a five-star scale we have come in consistently higher than 4.8 out of 5,” Jones says.

And while it is possible that the strong response is partly due to expectations having been so low to begin with, Jones says even after multiple interactions customers are continuing to rate Service NSW highly.

“Even though people are coming in for the second, third or fourth visit to the same service centre, and they have already had their expectation set high, we are still rating consistently high,” he says. “There is no longer that view that it is ‘just government’ – people are no longer expecting it to be bad.

“They are expecting it to be good, but still rating us high.”

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+: google.com/+CmoAu

Join the CMO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Supporting Association

Blog Posts

Behaviour change, by design

​We’re living in an age of unprecedented change. We experience with Oculus Rift, invest with Acorns, consume video through Hyper, tune into Pandora and navigate with Waze.

Glen Jeffreys

Head of UX, Deepend Group

Chat bots: How to use them commercially right now

I’m sure that many of you out there have heard a lot about chat bots (aka messaging bots) recently, and the fact that they are here to stay is pretty evident by now.

Deniz Nalbantoglu

Managing director, Webling-Interactive

Top tips to uncovering consumer insights for business innovation

An in-depth understanding of consumers sits at the heart of what we all need to do, but we know it’s not always easy to uncover insights that will unlock a true innovation opportunity.

Matt Whale

Managing director, How To Impact

what a load of shit, and what a major stuff up... the new brand device is sterile, boring and just plain bad. Would be better suited to a...

James Yoi

Tennis Australia unwraps new brand identity for Australian Open

Read more

Cool stuff. https://blogs.adobe.com/digita...

Mary

Design thinking: Leading with experience

Read more

Conversation commerce is a double edged sword. Do it right and it can create customer delight. Do it wrong and it can lose customers.

Jinal Shah

Why conversational commerce is going to reshape customer engagement

Read more

I liked how Kmart decided on what to source- by placing a notional or real camera in the place of use, seeing what is touched the most in...

Jinal Shah

Kmart CEO details priorities to turn Target around

Read more

ways to use social media to boost customer loyalty.join us on www.bigsocialmedia.in

swati singh

Four ways to use social media to boost customer loyalty

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in