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Serco Institute : Research suggests that the UAE is leading the way in measuring user satisfaction for government services

Published: 22 Jul 2022

According to a new report published this week by the Serco Institute, a global public services think tank, and ExperienceLab, a change of approach is needed to better measure and understand how citizens view services provided by government bodies. The report argues that to gain a more accurate appraisal of perception, it’s important to establish an approach which best reflects the nature of public sector services being provided.

On launching the report, Ben O’Keeffe, Serco Institute Deputy Director said:

“Governments around the world have taken an increasing interest in measuring the satisfaction of citizens with the services they provide. This is undoubtedly a good thing, but most existing measures of customer satisfaction are developed for use in the private sector. There is a danger therefore, that when it comes to government services, too often we ask the wrong questions and so get the wrong answers. This means we need a revolution in our thinking about how we measure satisfaction with government services. Simple metrics and surveys need to be replaced with new thinking, technology, and processes to help us understand what people really want.”

By consolidating a series of case studies undertaken in the Middle East, North America, Europe and Australia, the Serco Institute explores how different countries are approaching the challenge. It reveals that the UAE is leading the way in its focus on measuring user experience and testing new methodologies that best capture citizens perception.

It notes that in recent years, the UAE has become a world leader in measuring user satisfaction with government services, having first made ‘happiness’ an area of high priority in 2016. Through its National Programme for Happiness and Wellbeing, the UAE Government has pledged to incorporate happiness into all functions, policies and services of government.

Rena Baba, ExperienceLab Director, said:

“Understanding what matters to customers when they interact with government services is crucial. It matters not just so services can continually improve, but because trust, economic activity, and international perception of a country are all impacted by the quality of government services. The UAE already takes great pride in incorporating happiness and wellbeing into delivering government services. It shows their commitment to the idea that placing the customer at the centre of everything they do, will drive improved services and offer a much better user experience for citizens, residents and visitors to the UAE.”

Looking beyond the UAE, the report identifies how some governments have struggled to capture accurate customer service feedback due to a number of limitations. Typically, these emerge when the services offered operate in a non-competitive environment or are obligatory, applied to a broad demographic without sensitivity to language, accessibility, or how people actually use a service. Another factor impeding accurate customer feedback is that governments tend to provide services which are unpopular, regardless of how efficient or well-managed they are.

Click the download PDF link to read the full report.