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Digital Transformation Rebuilds Public Trust

A recent survey from the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (CIOs) asked a variety of open-ended questions about COVID-19 and how things have or will change because of the pandemic and what might remain the same. For CIOs, there is no going back to pre-pandemic business models.

The pandemic has highlighted the value of technology and how it is critical to the delivery of government services and the productivity of state employees. CIOs also thought their role could become even more important in the workforce conversation as remote work policies and culture begin to change.

According to the survey, 90% of state CIOs said that the pandemic increased demand for digital government services. When asked what the biggest driver was behind expanding digital services, almost 75% of respondents said providing a “better online experience for citizens.”

Meanwhile, rapid advancements in customer experience technology in the commercial sector have elevated Americans’ expectations for the government’s digital services. Individuals are demanding seamless interactions, mirroring that of the private sector. New data suggests the widening gap between expectation and reality threatens to further undermine trust in government.

Governments are facing a trust deficit among the constituents they serve. While there are many causes for the lack of confidence, rebuilding trust with the public is essential to getting communities back on track following the global pandemic.

A recent survey of over 24,500 people across 36 countries explores the quality and accessibility of government services, the impact of how these services are delivered, and how governments can improve digital service delivery to meet the needs of the customer.

Government agencies that provide seamless digital experiences and communicate the benefits of sharing data indicate greater levels of trust among their constituents. Poor digital experiences or lack of transparency can harm the public’s perception of trust in government.

Across 36 countries surveyed, 87 per cent of respondents said that a great digital government customer experience would increase their degree of trust. And of the 25% of customers who said they accessed some form of government digital channels at least once per day during COVID-19, only 12% said that their government’s digital government services were meeting all their needs.

By identifying a clear link between digital service quality and the overall trust and confidence that customers have in governments, this new research gives policymakers a roadmap for rebuilding trust, starting with improved communication with constituents and streamlined digital services.

Improving Communication with Constituents

The importance of communication during the COVID-19 pandemic has been twofold. First, many organisations that transitioned to remote work to protect employees’ health and safety and now rely on online channels of communication to continue to deliver services. Second, governments must quickly communicate the latest information about the virus, available benefits, testing and now vaccines.

Online information should be easy to locate, benefits should be simple to apply for online and customer services should be responsive. Online platforms and services that clearly communicate information to constituents, are easy to navigate and readily accessible enable government agencies to deliver on their missions and provide constituents with essential services and benefits during day-to-day functions such as renewing a driver’s license or, in times of crisis, applying for housing or financial aid.

Streamline digital services

Technology companies and digital leaders have set the bar high for customer expectations around digital services. Government agencies can take away valuable insight from the private sectors’ years of innovation. Building and improving existing platforms that make it easier for customers to find the information or service they are looking for improves the user experience.

By following the private sector as a model and establishing a better digital relationship with constituents, governments can more efficiently deliver on their missions and win back constituents’ trust. Establishing a strong relationship with constituents will in turn result in a more personalised approach and better government service delivery.

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