New Delhi, Dec 18 (UNI) In what can be a lesson for the country's public sector undertakings (PSU), a global survey has found public sector executives recognise that advances in technology present a unique opportunity to create closer bonds with their customers.
An Adobe Systems Inc and the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) survey, based on a poll of public sector executives across the globe, has identified constituent engagement as an increasingly important operational imperative.
According to the survey eight in 10 government executives see constituent engagement as important to their agency's success going forward.
Most executives also acknowledge that failure to engage with citizens can hurt an agency's ability to stay on budget and fulfill its mission.
For the purpose of this survey, engagement was defined as creating meaningful and sustainable interactions to improve constituent participation, compliance and satisfaction.
The survey findings, titled 'The Engaged Constituent: Meeting the Challenge of Engagement in the Public Sector', examined the new drive in government for greater constituent engagement and how public sector engagement initiatives differ from those in the private sector.
The report notes that public sector executives, like their counterparts in the private sector, recognise that advances in technology present a unique opportunity to create closer bonds with their constituents.
Industry experts agree, but observe that the public sector must further challenge itself to capitalise on this opportunity.
A similar survey of business executives conducted by the EIU earlier this year found that creating a higher level of customer engagement is an increasingly important business mandate and that the failure to engage customers could result in considerable loss of sales and profits.
''While government agencies are not under the same competitive pressures, they face many of the same consumer expectations,'' said Kim Andreasson, senior editor, Americas, Industry&Management Research at the Economist Intelligence Unit.
Consumers, influenced by sophisticated web-based communications and digital experiences with businesses, now expect more from government agencies when it comes to online information, web-based self-service and other interactions, he added.
President of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a Washington, DC-based think-tank explains, part of the reason that government agencies lag behind the private sector in effectively engaging their constituents is because they are slow to adopt new methods and technologies.
For example, many government managers continue to view the internet as an ancillary mode of communication - failing to see it emerging as an essential vehicle to reach and respond to their stakeholders.
According to the survey, government executives believe the greatest benefits of engagement are increased transparency and accountability (63 per cent), faster processing times (60 per cent) and increased use of services (58 per cent).
In contrast to their public-sector counterparts, private sector executives identified the key benefits of engagement as improved customer loyalty (80 per cent), increased revenue (76 per cent) and increased profits (75 per cent).
Both public and private sector executives agree that lack of engagement comes at a high cost.
In the public sector, 80 per cent believe lack of engagement adversely affects an agency's ability to fulfill its mandate, with more than half quantifying the cost of disengagement at more than five per cent of their annual budget.
Echoing that concern, a large majority of private sector executives believe their companies lose sales each year due to lack of customer engagement.