In 2019, the City of Orlando discovered that residents were unhappy with parking reservations at a public park. It used data analytics to identify the issue, simplify the reservation process, and increased citizen satisfaction by 45 per cent.

Citizens today expect more reliable and personalised services. With people’s changing needs, governments must understand the pain points of citizens quickly, says Karn Kongsawat, Qualtrics Country Sales Leader for Thailand and Philippines.

GovInsider spoke to Kongsawat to find out how data analytics can be used to create citizen-centric public services.

1. Understand what citizens need

Transforming public services starts with understanding what citizens want and need. Identifying which services citizens find most problematic or helpful will help governments understand what’s working, and prioritise areas for improvement.

In doing so, governments should avoid asking citizens what aspects of service delivery are most important as it is unlikely to yield accurate results, according to McKinsey. Most will say each aspect is equally important.

Instead, a combination of “hard metrics” like service adoption rates must be analysed with “human factor data such as feedback and sentiment scores” for a complete picture, says Kongsawat. The former is known as operational (O) data, and the latter as experience (X) data.

Qualtrics knits the two together and analyses them in combination, creating “a powerful tool to help governments cultivate trust, engagement, and satisfaction,” he adds.

Qualtrics’ XM captures feedback from more than 120 different listening sources to ensure nothing is missed, says Kongsawat. This helps governments better understand citizens’ needs and expectations – even those they do not explicitly state.

When Thailand declared a state of emergency in late March, the Metropolitan Electricity Authority (MEA) deployed the Qualtrics Remote + Onsite Work Pulse to ensure the ongoing safety and well-being of its workforce, he shares.

This enabled MEA to understand what capabilities employees and customers needed, and helped HR leaders respond in the best way possible, he adds.

2. Adapt quickly

Governments’ traditional ‘measure and report’ approach has become outdated as citizens and circumstances demand more agile and responsive services. Rather, organisations must learn from citizens and employees and rapidly adapt based on what’s happening.

Qualtrics enables a “listen and respond” approach, says Kongsawat. It uses AI and machine learning to automatically deliver notifications and insights to the right people, enabling agencies to take immediate action, he adds.

Time is of the essence when running a business. A state government has used Qualtrics to uncover and address common challenges businesses faced when accessing government services, Kongsawat says. This increased the survival rate by more than 10 per cent, and generated hundreds of jobs and just under $10million in productivity.

3. Collaborate with citizens

Lastly, governments should engage citizens in the decision-making process. This will encourage citizens to play a more active role in society, and ensures resources are allocated in ways that will benefit them most.

Taiwan’s Digital Minister Audrey Tang’s office opens her office to citizens for them to exchange ideas and collaborate. Being open to citizen ideas paid off during the pandemic, she told GovInsider. At the start of the outbreak, a netizen highlighted that a Wuhan doctor had reported seven new SARS cases, enabling Taiwan to conduct health inspections for Wuhan visitors from the first day of 2020.

The benchmark for government services will only get higher. Data analytics helps governments put citizens at the heart of every decision and design policies that truly address their needs.