Today’s consumers are more informed, connected and demanding than ever. And while they have come to expect the highest standards of personalization, choice, speed, satisfaction and security in every digital interaction, the pandemic has served to heighten consumer expectations surrounding CX ­– customer experience.

KPMG’s 2020 Global Customer Experience Excellence survey of more than 100,000 consumers illustrates the pandemic’s influence on customer loyalty, expectations and experience:1

  • Consumer priorities have shifted to health and safety, understandably, but also toward heightened convenience, reliability, authenticity and transparency.
  • 45 percent of consumers say digital channels will be their primary means of engaging future services;
  • Consumers favoring face-to-face commercial services fell to about 20 percent since the pandemic struck – down by half from about 43 percent previously.

Government CX quality continues to trail the private sector. Forrester's Customer Experience Index (CX Index™) shows that government provides poorer CX than virtually every private-sector industry.2 Going forward, the public will increasingly look to governments for a modernized approach that delivers the fast, convenient, secure, personalized, consumer-centric services that are revolutionizing every corner of commerce today. Governments’ stakeholders want to be treated like ‘valued customers’ when interacting with government. Various surveys reflect these paradigm shifts in attitude:

Historic opportunities amid today’s challenges

Governments, despite their stated good intentions for change in the digital era, have considerable ground to cover in their journey to match the private sector’s embrace of digital ecosystems that cater to customers. Findings of the Forrester Customer Experience Index (CX Index™) suggest that government departments around the world still struggle with substandard customer experience which hinders mission success.3 And in a KPMG-commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting, more than half of government organizations themselves rate their customer-centric capabilities as average at best: 16 percent call them ‘less mature’ and about 42 percent rate their customer centricity as ‘about average.’4

At the same time, insights from Forrester5 and from the KPMG global network reflect that governments will continue to slowly centralize CX governance, with three current trends ongoing over the next few years:

  • More governments will create some form of Chief Customer or Experience Officer, charged with overseeing improvement of the customer experience;
  • More policy makers will follow the lead of the Australian Governments Digital Transformation Agency, Treasury Board of Canada and the US Office of Management and Budget6 and issue stronger CX-related requirements for government departments;
  • Governments are expected to pass more CX-related bills containing mandates related to enhanced service standards, technology, monitoring and reporting.

“To achieve citizen-centric transformation, public sector workforces will need to be supported with the appropriate training and toolsets,” says Michael Klubal, National Industry Leader, Infrastructure, Government and Healthcare, KPMG in Canada. “Government leaders will have to evolve the culture within and across their government entities by establishing a new outward-looking mindset, providing citizens with the opportunity to co-design government services via their input and feedback.”

The pandemic presents profound challenges for government – but also historic opportunities. It throws light on the inevitable need to put the public ‘at the heart of every service’ via a coherent, consistent, centralized digital approach that encompasses all government functions – and that continually anticipates and adapts to ever-evolving public needs.

Putting people ‘at the heart’ of government policy will also include the need to meet evolving public values and ambitions, says Michael Camerlengo, Head of Government, KPMG Asia Pacific. “A positive impact of the pandemic is the heightened focus on sustainability and the role of governments in driving this forward. Social inclusion is also rising to the top of the agenda.”

Key takeaways

Research into the state of CX in the sector has found that governments are providing poorer customer experiences than every private-sector industry.To thrive in a new era, governments should evolve operations to focus on their stakeholders and position themselves to continuously respond to ever-changing customer needs. Forward-looking governments will build on the momentum of change that the pandemic has unleashed and continue transforming public service processes and efficiency. Putting people ‘at the heart’ of government policy will also include the need to meet evolving public values and ambitions in areas such as the environment and social inclusion.

Is your organization customer-centric?


1 KPMG. (2020). Customer experience in the new reality: Global Customer Experience Excellence report, 2020.
2 Parrish, R. (2020), The US Federal Customer Experience Index, 2020, Forrester.
3 Parrish, R., Garvin-Tramm, L. (2018). Why And How To Improve Government CX. Forrester.
4 A commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of KPMG, February 2020.
5 Ibid.
6 Britt, P. (2019 July 19). OMB Pushes Government Agencies to Improve Customer Experience. CMS Wire.
7 A commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of KPMG, March 2020