Citizens Willing to Share Personal Data with Government in Exchange for Enhanced Customer Services, Accenture Survey Finds


  • The majority of Australians surveyed (76%) see benefits to using virtual agents for government services and 48% think their queries could be resolved fastest this way

The majority of Australian citizens are willing to share personal information with government agencies in exchange for better service (72%), according to a global study issued by Accenture.

The study was based on a survey of more than 6,500 respondents across 11 countries in Europe, North America, Asia Pacific – including 500 Australians – and found the vast majority (72%) of Australian respondents are open to sharing their personally identifiable information with a government department in exchange for a more personalised customer service experience. Additionally, nearly half (46%) 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.”

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 Australian respondents 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 said.