Report: Governments Behind Private Sector in Customer, Employee Experience

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Governments have improved their digital transformation efforts, but much work remains.

Almost one year after President Joe Biden’s executive order on government customer experience, governments—including the United States—continue to lag behind the private sector in terms of customer and employee experience, according to Qualtrics’ 2023 Government Experience Trends report

For the study, Qualtrics surveyed approximately 8,000 consumers and 2,000 employees in 27 countries about their experiences with government agencies in the past year. 

The report identified four customer experience trends:

  • “Engage communities in times of uncertainty to proactively provide critical services.”
  • “Listen to the public to avoid bad experiences – before they happen.”
  • “Build back public trust by meeting expectations and demonstrating readiness to serve.”
  • “Compete with private sector expectations by embracing digital transformation.” 

In particular, governments were behind other industries in the four elements of customer experience: satisfaction, trust, likelihood to recommend and likelihood to purchase again.

According to the report, 61% of consumers were satisfied with their experience with a government agency, 62% trusted the government agency and 57% were likely to recommend it. This is lower than the overall industry average for each category, which the report found to be 77% for satisfaction, 74% for trust and 72% for likelihood to recommend. Meanwhile 72% of customers say that governments need to improve listening to the public to avoid bad experiences before they happen, in comparison to 63% for other industries. 

The report noted customers did not trust their governments because it is too challenging to find the services they need––such as difficulties navigating a website. The report also suggested that governments listen to people in “the channels they are engaging in already.” 

Governments need to focus on digital transformation, according to the report. 

“Customer expectations have evolved rapidly, with real-time issue resolution becoming a norm across all industries. Government agencies must keep pace with private sector companies and ensure communities are getting the services they need, when they need them. Automated self-service, multi-channel listening, and evidence-based action are all strategies that can improve the customer experience and make effective use of government resources,” the report said.

However, customer experience in this category—the likelihood to purchase from government—is up 2.5% since the 2022 report, bringing it to 56%, but this is lower than the 70% for overall industry average.

Meanwhile, for employee experience, the report focused on three factors: engagement, intent to stay and experience versus expectations. 

The report identified four trends: 

  • “Empower employees with better listening and communication from senior leadership.”
  • “Invest in employee growth and development opportunities to impact retention.”
  • “Retain and attract top talent with personalized benefits.”
  • “Get proactive about remedying burnout with purpose-driven jobs.”

As noted in the report, government employees are experiencing burnout because they lack the right tools and resources. The report suggested governments invest in effective tools, utilize employee experience platforms and offer things like telework or flexible working to improve employee experience.