The Trust Imperative

The Trust Imperative

The bar for customer experience is being continuously raised by companies that are competing aggressively on the global stage for wallet-share and clicks. But when governments provide digital services, they are vying for the trust and confidence of their customers. In the minds of customers, there is a clear link between customer experience and trust and confidence in the government of the day and the services provided. Poor customer experience translates into lack of trust and improving customer experience translates to increasing trust.

This paper explores practical ways that Australian and New Zealand governments can increase the trust and confidence of their customers in a sustainable way that increases engagement and reduces cost.


BCG and Salesforce collaborated to understand more about what customers expect from governments. Our research explored what shapes customer experience in regard to governments, the role of trust, and the opportunity for governments in Australia and New Zealand to transform service delivery. We surveyed more than 1,600 customers and interviewed 20 government leaders across A/NZ, and the findings underline the important relationship between customer experience and trust.

The opportunity for governments in Australia and New Zealand

Sixty-five percent of customers expect the quality of government digital services to meet or exceed the digital services provided by leading private sector companies. Eighty-five percent of people believe that the quality of their customer experience can increase or decrease their trust in government. When governments deliver poor customer experiences, they face the potentially vicious cycle of increased distrust and a reduced willingness of customers to share personal data. In turn, this restricts governments’ ability to raise customer experience and design effective policies to meet customer expectations.

Governments have the opportunity to close the gap between customer expectations and experience and bridge this trust gap.


Closing the gap between customer expectations and delivery quality is critical for governments in Australia and New Zealand to gain their customers’ trust and confidence.

Most customers expect government services to meet or exceed the quality offered by leading private sector companies. In Australia and New Zealand, approximately 50% of customers expect government digital services to be as good as the best private companies, and 15% expect government services to match the high standards set by global digital leaders such as Apple and Google.

If governments don’t keep up with rising customer expectations, trust in government is likely to decline along with overall satisfaction in government services.


It’s time for governments to accelerate the customer experience/trust cycle. By thinking creatively about how to provide high-quality customer experiences, governments can increase trust in the services they deliver.

Governments in Australia and New Zealand are investing in digital technologies to support operations and interactions with customers. Still, efforts often focus on single processes or transactions, with regular implementation challenges. More holistic investments have paid clear dividends in customer experience. Governments need to recognise that customer experience is essential in all stages of service design and development, and beyond silos and departments.

Closing the expectation/experience gap

To keep the customer experience/trust cycle turning, the design and delivery of government services needs to be based on the needs of customers, not on the structures and needs of government. The government of the (near) future will deliver excellent customer experiences that are intuitive, easy to use, informed by data, scalable, and provided seamlessly across all channels.


Governments capture a broad spectrum of data about the economy, the environment, and the community. Data will enable governments to propel the customer experience/trust cycle to deliver step-change increases in service design and policy development. However, governments need to effectively communicate to their customers the value to themselves and to the community of sharing their own personal data.


To deliver exceptional customer experiences and policies, governments need to bridge the digital divide by transforming in a way that fuses digital technologies with the intelligence and experience of the public service, and gets people and technology working together seamlessly within and across departments. The transformation to an innovative, data-driven government starts with three steps:

  • Unlock talent
  • Work with industry in new ways
  • Build the technology and digital infrastructure to support ongoing innovation
Public Sector