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Revolutionising Government Services: Service NSW's transformation to Customer-Centricity

The challenge

The situation

In the not-so-distant past, the citizens and businesses of New South Wales (NSW) faced a fragmented and frustrating experience when dealing with government services. Basic tasks such as renewing a driver’s licence or requesting a copy of a birth record required people to engage with several unconnected websites, varying agency storefronts and different agency call centres.

A transformative vision was born - to reimagine how citizens interacted with their government, creating a seamless and customer-centric experience and a single engagement point.

Late in 2012, Service NSW engaged The Customer Experience Company (CEC) as their Human-Centred Design Partner to develop a scalable customer-centred business model for the in-person experience. It had an ambitious go-live date of 7th July 2013 and needed to solve three critical challenges. 

Challenge #1: Transactions were adversarial, time-consuming and complex
  • A high volume of citizen transactions needed to be completed through multiple disconnected organisations such as the RTA (now Roads and Maritime Services), Fair Trading, and Births, Deaths and Marriages, and unconnected channels.
  • Accessing necessary government services took time and effort to navigate.
  • Interactions between government service employees and citizens felt adversarial.
Challenge #2: Services and systems were contained in siloed agencies
  • The system to do transactions as simple as renewing your licence was complex, broken, and slow.
  • No one could imagine a different way, as the underlying systems could not speak to each other.
  • Architecting all the systems to make it customer focussed would take too long.
Challenge #3: There was a mindset held of the government as the customer, not the citizens it served
  • Government services served the government, not the citizen, and it showed.
  • In contrast, the new Service NSW leadership had the aspiration to deliver the world’s best private sector experience within government.
  • It was a fundamentally different way of thinking of citizens as ‘customers’ and interacting with them.

The approach

At the heart of this transformation was an ambition to:

  • Deliver a seamless service to citizens, in-store, online or via the contact centre; a “one-stop-shop.”
  • Create a single front-stage experience that gives customers the answers they need.
  • Have an engaged workforce delivering exceptional experiences. 

With CEC as the Human-Centred Design Partner for Service NSW’s inception between 2012 and 2015, we delivered 42 projects across six key domains:

  • The organisational culture (Service NSW’s DNA)
  • Cross-agency engagement for service delivery
  • In-store customer flow and store experience
  • Customer experience measurement and feedback loops
  • CRM technology and queue management
  • Digital identity management strategy 

The research

The findings

The solution

Service NSW is a world-class example of government services for three reasons. At the core of our work was supporting the transition towards:

A transformative, customer experience-first business and service model.

As supporting architects of this radical shift, we helped to strategically prioritise agencies, transactions, and processes with the most significant impact on customers. We streamlined processes across service centres, call centres, and digital channels, visualising a cohesive future state experience for customers and capabilities for business architecture, operations and technology teams.

This experience was designed and launched with Minimum Viable Product processes, systems and technology to support it. Removing the technological constraints meant that Service NSW could launch faster. Once the technology caught up, it allowed them to rapidly roll out new features and continue responding to emergent challenges like COVID-19.  

Altogether we streamlined 800+ unique processes into a seamless citizen and government experience supported by a complete, state-wide technological and cultural transformation across multiple agencies and platforms, wrapped in a scalable business model.

A service-led culture with empowered and motivated staff. 

The transformation was propelled by an unwavering commitment to cultivating a service-led culture where empowered and motivated staff would drive unparalleled excellence. 

It all began with visionary leadership - individuals with a wealth of experience, an audacious vision and aspiration, and the tenacity to challenge the status quo. 

To foster a high-performance culture across the entire organisation, we helped implement measurement frameworks and customer KPIs that cascaded from leadership downwards and gave executives customer visibility by implementing business intelligence solutions.

Moreover, we undertook intentional and purposeful design to create a service excellence culture, including educating staff in practising empathy; ensuring that every staff member was imbued with understanding for the needs of citizens and businesses. 

This profound cultural shift became the bedrock upon which the service revolution of Service NSW was built.

Delightful service interactions.

The core of this service transformation lies in the design of the Service NSW Service Desk, with a concierge service that warmly welcomes every citizen and guides them through intricate processes and rules.

The three channels working together (Service Centres, a dedicated digital service, and a customer call centre) continue to enable citizens to engage with the government when and where they want or need to ensure a seamless and accessible service experience. 

The impact

A Proud Part in Transformational Change

In July 2013, with Design Thinking at its core, Service NSW launched the ‘one-stop-shop’ service experience for NSW citizens. Since then, it has helped with 855 million customer interactions, 57 million calls, 56 million service centre visits and 742 million website visits.

Service NSW is the national benchmark for Australian government services and is regarded as one of the best Human Centred Design Transformation projects.

As The Customer Experience Company, we take great pride in our role in the impactful transformation of Service NSW. We have witnessed a profound and lasting impact on the citizens of NSW, and we continue to look forward to a future where government services are synonymous with excellence and empathy. The revolution we embarked upon with Service NSW will serve as an enduring testament to the power of human-centred design in shaping a brighter and more responsive government for all.

Service NSW

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