Public trust in government is undermined by data privacy concerns and poor customer experiences according to a new joint report from Salesforce and Boston Consulting Group.

The research found 36 per cent of Australians and New Zealanders had become less trustful of governments because of concerns about data use transparency.

Some 34 per cent of those surveyed also said they were now unwilling to provide personal data to with government, while just 51 per cent of customers believe that their personal data should be used to inform research, policy and innovation.

Overall, 54 per cent said they strongly agreed governments needed to provide better data security and 49 per cent wanted greater transparency in how their data is used.

As part of the The Trust Imperative study, Boston Consulting Group surveyed more than 1,600 people and interviewed 20 government leaders from across Australia and New Zealand on the relationship between customer experience and trust.

“Governments are facing a trust challenge that is directly influenced by the quality of service delivery. Put another way, this is a significant opportunity for government to create a virtuous cycle of increased trust through better service delivery. To do this, government needs to unlock the talent, unlock the data in their silos and their way of thinking about the objective of service delivery,” said Gisele Kapterian, Director of Public Sector Strategy, Salesforce APAC.

“Customers use the quality of their experience on the phone, in person and online to measure government performance and its ability to provide essential services.”

“Whether it’s an individual filing a tax return or a small business applying for an Export Market Development Grant, customers want government to deliver a quick, efficient experience across their service channels of choice. To do this it’s critical to have a single view of the customer across frontline service delivery departments,” said Kapterian.

“Large-scale government projects in Australia are challenged by data-usage and transparency concerns. Service innovation, whether in the public or private sector, is powered by data: it’s never been more important to engage the community with transparency and clarity on how governments protect customer data and use it to the public’s benefit.”

Quality of online services influences public view of government

The report found there was a critical relationship between customer experience and public sentiment, with 85 per cent of people believing that the quality of their customer experience can increase or decrease their trust in government.

A lack of seamlessness when using government services (34 per cent) and poor access to information (33 per cent) had a considerable impact on public perceptions.

Miguel Carrasco, Senior Partner and Managing Director, Boston Consulting Group said, “50 per cent of people think government digital services should be as good as the best private sector organisations, such as banks, airlines and retailers.”

According to Carrasco a further 15 per cent think they should be as good as technology leaders, such as Amazon and Apple, with another 25 per cent thinking they should at least rival the best practice set by the world’s leading digital governments.

“It’s fair to say the expectations on governments are now very high, and without action the deficit between expectations and reality will only continue to widen and see governments fall behind,” Carrasco said.

“To reverse this situation, governments need to tackle the skills gap in the public sector, partner more effectively with industry, modernise their outdated ways of working and reform the rigid traditional digital service funding and governance models that restrain innovation.”

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