Agency insights

In the Agency survey, agencies rated their implementation of customer service strategies positively. The most developed customer strategies relate to documented policies, collecting customer feedback, selecting staff with a customer focus, and employee and manager performance indicators. Between 85% and 100% of agencies reported having implemented these practices, with 24% to 37% advising they are at a highly developed level. More basic levels of implementation were reported for employee recognition, employee training for high-level service, benchmarking against other organisations and seeking employee views about improvements.

Dealing with changing business needs due to varying client needs was ranked among the top workforce risks for 26% of agencies.

Survey links

The People Matter, Agency and Customer surveys show some positive results about customer service, but customer perceptions are not as positive as those for employees and agencies. Surprisingly, there was no clear relationship between agencies implementing practices that specifically target customer service (such as training or key performance indicators for customer service) and customer service as rated by employees. There were, however, some small positive associations for other practices in the Agency survey, relating to employee ratings of customer service, including agencies that managed change well and had effective internal communication practices.

The lower scores about specific factors from the Customer survey also corresponded with weaker results from the Agency and People Matter surveys. In particular, customers and employees both reported that processes often slowed responsiveness and flexibility.

The greatest mismatch between the Customer and People Matter surveys was in the perception of prioritising customer service. Both consumers and business customers gave lower scores for staff being proactive and focusing on customer needs, whereas 88% of employees believed their organisation strived to meet customer needs. Agency survey results were more aligned with customer views, as few agencies rated themselves as 'highly developed' in their customer service practices.

Overall, the People Matter survey results supported the conclusion from the Customer survey that while service levels were good, processes had a negative impact on the speed and quality of the services provided.

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