The study by management consulting firm Accenture, based on a survey of more than 6,500 respondents across 11 countries in Europe, North America, Asia Pacific, including 500 Australians, found the vast majority (72%) of Australian respondents, are open to sharing their personally identifiable data with a government department in exchange for a more personalised customer service experience.
Additionally, nearly half (46%) of the Australians said they would be comfortable with their personal information being shared between government agencies if it would enhance customer service.
“In recent years governments have taken positive steps to secure and protect citizen and organisational data,” said John Vidas, Client Group Lead – Health & Public Service, Accenture Australia & New Zealand.
“However, corresponding regulatory measures have at times also prevented government agencies from using customer data in innovative ways to enhance customer service. A way forward to “prime the pump” would be to ask for citizen consent, allowing for citizens to opt-in to new data-sharing programs across government agencies.”
The study also reveals that more than three-quarters (76%) of Australian citizens said they see benefits to using virtual agents — artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled customer-service assistants or chatbots — to receive services from government agencies, and almost half (44%) said they would like to complete some transactions using virtual agents.
Additionally, almost half (48%) of Australians said they believe their query could be resolved in the shortest possible time using a virtual agent, and 52% of Australians anticipated benefits from the “24/7” access to government services.
“Our research found that citizens support the use of advanced AI-enabled virtual agents by government agencies. With COVID-19, we have seen exponential growth in adoption of digital services across all industries including Government, as citizens become much more open to the flexibility and convenience offered.
“Clearly, an opportunity exists for governments to use virtual agents to broaden their services and enhance customer experience,” Vidas concluded.