In today's "age of the customer", we are witnessing a shift in the balance of power in the brand-customer relationship. The digital revolution has profoundly changed consumer habits, with customers now better informed, increasingly empowered and more demanding than ever.

Accustomed to interacting with brands and to using products and services from multiple sectors, today's customer no longer just compares brands to their direct competitors. In a world where the most recent amazing experience shapes our expectations, customers tend to measure brands against the last experience they enjoyed — no matter which sector delivered it. What does this mean? Well, it means that customer experience leaders are urging brands across all sectors to deliver valuable experiences — and the public sector is no exception.

Satisfying the ultra-connected "citizen-consumer"

In KPMG's recently published white paper on public sector digitalization for citizens, we took a closer look at customer experience in the public sector. Public organizations in Luxembourg and abroad now have to adapt to the expectations of a new kind of a citizen: the ultra-connected "citizen-consumer". This demanding modern-day species expects experiences with government services to be as frictionless as their interactions with commercial brands.

Whether it's applying for a new passport, registering a newborn or moving house, the "citizen-consumers" expect public services to provide simple, seamless and personalized experiences requiring minimal time and effort, yet all the while inspiring trust. They want autonomy yet, at the same time, seek proximity through a direct, personal dialogue with public institutions.

As more and more sectors go digital and raise the bar on customer expectations, government agencies are now also compelled to reinvent the citizen relationship by offering a more interactive, digital and integrated public service. The ultimate goal? To deliver truly streamlined citizen experiences.

Citizen experience in Luxembourg

Luxembourg's coalition government formed in 2018 for a five-year term has not overlooked the importance of the citizen experience, with the public sector currently undergoing a transformation to make public services more interactive, more accessible and, above all, more focused on citizens' individual needs. The introduction of a Ministry for Digitalisation reflects the government's ambition to prioritize digitalization and the development of digital public service offerings for the benefit of the citizen.

The 2019 KPMG Luxembourg Customer Experience Excellence study shows that these efforts have not been in vain: among the 10 sectors analyzed in the study, the public sector has experienced the greatest progress in terms of customer/citizen experience, moving up an impressive five positions to claim second place in this year's sector ranking. It was also awarded the highest score for integrity across all industries, demonstrating the ability of Luxembourg's public service to build trust with its citizens. There's still some room for improvement on the empathy front as it appears the closer we move towards digital experiences, the more important human interactions become.

Compared to other countries (see KPMG's Global Customer Experience Excellence Study here), it is worth noting that Luxembourg is the only country where the public sector's performance in terms of customer experience lies above the national cross-sector average. Results from other countries show that, globally, the public sector is still lagging behind private companies.

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