6 How New Zealanders are accessing services
Kiwis Count asked New Zealanders how they had contacted services, their preferred ways of contacting services and their satisfaction with the communication channels they had used.
The survey asked how New Zealanders access public services across four different contact methods: in-person, telephone (including landline, cell phone and text), internet and mail/fax. It asked New Zealanders how they had looked for information about public services, and how they had carried out their transactions or dealings with services; whether the means they had used was their preference, or whether they would have preferred to use another method. Finally, the survey asked how satisfied they were with the communication channel they had used and how online public services can improve.
By far the most commonly used ways to seek information about public services were telephone and the internet. Each of these communication channels had been used to find information in the previous 12 months by more of than half of those who responded to Kiwis Count.
Kiwis Count also asked people about their preferred means of accessing information in order to find out whether services can improve their accessibility.
Of those who used the internet to look for information 87% indicated that this was their preferred way. Of those who had used the telephone, 71% indicated that this was their preferred contact method. Those who had sought information in person were fairly evenly divided in their preferred means of communication between face-to-face, internet and telephone. Mail/fax was the only contact method in which the people who used it would have preferred to use a different method (telephone).
More than half (56%) of those who participated in Kiwis Count were satisfied with their experience in looking for information about public services, and this increased to 62% for those who had used the online channel..
A rather different picture emerges when people described their dealings or other transactions with public services. The most common way of actually using a service was in person (54%), with the telephone in second place (51%).
For all four contact channels, a majority of users indicated that the method they used was one of their preferred contact methods. 81% of Internet users selected the Internet as a preferred communication channel, and almost three-quarters of telephone users confirmed that telephone was one of their preferred channels. Of the people who had accessed services in person in the previous 12 months, 78% confirmed face-to-face dealings as their preferred option. About half of the people who had used mail/fax in the last 12 months had a preference for this method, but a slightly higher proportion of mail/fax users would have preferred either telephone or in-person.
More than half (58%) of those who participated in Kiwis Count were satisfied with their experience in undertaking a transaction or carrying out dealings with public services. This increased to 64% of those who had used the online channel .
These results clearly show that there is no single preferred means of accessing information or dealing with public services, although the Internet is becoming the most popular way of finding information about public services. With no one preferred way of accessing services, agencies need to ensure that they can provide a range of options, all of which work well. When New Zealanders were asked what would encourage them to use public services over the Internet, ease of use and assurance of privacy and security emerged as the two main areas for improvement.