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Most Citizens Want A ‘Siri’ For Government Services

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Americans might be happier with government services if they had a virtual guide to walk them through the process.

Chatbots and voice-controlled assistants like Alexa and Siri are increasingly common in the private sector, but haven't quite penetrated the federal market yet. But about 85 percent of citizens say those digital helpers would be useful, according to a recent Accenture Federal Services survey.

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In a poll of about 500 people, about 53 percent thought those assistants could give them more personalized service than humans could. About 68 percent said 24/7 service would be a major benefit; 64 percent said digital helpers would likely be "faster and more efficient" than humans. About 63 percent said those systems could help with navigating federal sites.

The White House has experimented with digital helpers; during Barack Obama's presidency, the White House debuted a Facebook chatbot citizens could ping with messages for the president, instead of mailing him a letter.

In 2016, Americans rated federal services at about a 68 out of 100 when asked to rate their satisfaction, the annual American Citizen Satisfaction Index found; this was a 4-year high, potentially because of the improved quality in some federal websites, the group concluded.

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