Result 10 customer research

Result 10 Customer Research Full Report
01 Dec 2014

Life is about events, not services. When customers contact government they do so in order to achieve an outcome greater than the agency’s own. But often services reflect agency priorities and silos, rather than customers’ needs and circumstances. As we move to a digital by default model of service provision we need to place customers at the centre of service design and delivery. This research provides us with the evidence base for a shared understanding of customer experience.

The research tells us that most customers used three or fewer government services, while more than 80 per cent had an on-going financial interaction with government such as KiwiSaver, superannuation or a student loan.

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The research had three objectives:

  • To understand the frequency of use of government services
  • To quantify known pain points: how frequently they occurred and how much they mattered
  • To identify behavioural and attitudinal customer segments for the purpose of designing services that are easy to use.


To understand the customer experience of dealing with government we combined qualitative and quantitative research and used different methods from each field. The quantitative research offers us numerical indications of experience and behaviour, while the qualitative findings offer us the richness of individual personal experience and help us to understand why customer’s experiences, behaviours and preferences are as they are.

Respondents? Participants? Or, customers?

From this point onwards the term "respondents" is used to refer to those customers that took part in the main quantitative telephone survey of 1,500 New Zealand residents; the term "participants" is used to refer to those who took part in qualitative research; "customer" refers to both or customers generally.

All of the graphs in this report have been derived from the main quantitative survey of 1,500 New Zealand residents.


The quantitative study measured the frequency of use of government services, the depth of customers’ known pain points, and attitudes and behaviours towards government services for the purposes of segmenting the customer base. UMR Research was commissioned to undertake the quantitative research. It conducted a telephone survey of 1,500 New Zealand residents aged 18 years or over in September and October 2013. This telephone survey was supplemented by two smaller online surveys: one of New Zealand residents without a landline, and one of New Zealanders living overseas. The findings from these surveys are supplementary to the main findings and, as such, have not been included in the main analysis of this report as the way they were conducted means they are not directly comparable. The full methodology for the quantitative work is available as an annex to this report.


For the qualitative research we undertook workshops and in-depth face-to-face interviews with customers of government services and customer-facing staff from government agencies. In the workshops with customers we took a deliberately broad approach, asking participants to map for us – in words or pictures – their experience of undertaking the life event. This approach was also in keeping with people’s mental model of government: that it is essentially a single entity, the boundaries of which are of little interest to customers until they pose problems.

Page last modified: 15 Mar 2018