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4.1 Customer satisfaction

The department’s service commitments

The department’s service commitments are a public expression of its vision of delivering excellent services to the Australian people while delivering on the outcomes and expectations of government. They cover:

  • what people can expect from the department under the four themes of respect, quality information, honesty and integrity, and efficiency
  • the department’s business improvement priorities, such as designing products and services that take people’s feedback into account
  • what people can do to help the department, such as providing complete, accurate and timely information about their circumstances and treating staff with courtesy
  • how people can offer feedback about service delivery and have complaints resolved.

The department’s service commitments underpin its business priorities. They are available on the department’s website at humanservices.gov.au

Summary of performance against service commitments

The department regularly assesses and reports on its performance against each of the four service commitment themes. The results are based on responses to a survey conducted throughout 2018–19 that asked about each respondent’s most recent interaction with the department. Respondents who were unable to provide an answer were removed from the calculation of results.

From 1 July 2018, a number of changes were made to the survey. For example, the survey questionnaire was updated to reflect changes to the department’s services and to customer expectations. Due to these changes, the 2018–19 results are not comparable with those of previous years.

Respect

We will listen and work with you to understand your individual and cultural needs—measured by people’s assessment of staff behaviour:

  • 92.5 per cent of people surveyed about Centrelink services agreed that staff treated them with respect and 81.2 per cent agreed that staff took into account their individual circumstances
  • 95.7 per cent of people surveyed about Medicare services agreed that staff treated them with respect and 92.4 per cent agreed that staff took into account their individual circumstances
  • 84.9 per cent of people surveyed about Child Support services agreed that staff treated them with respect and 80.5 per cent agreed that staff took into account their individual circumstances.

Quality information

We are committed to providing consistent and accurate information—measured by people’s assessment of the consistency and accuracy of information:

  • 81.6 per cent of people surveyed about Centrelink services agreed that information was accurate and consistent
  • 94.1 per cent of people surveyed about Medicare services agreed that information was accurate and consistent
  • 82.4 per cent of people surveyed about Child Support services agreed that information was accurate and consistent.

Honesty and integrity

We will be open and honest and follow through on our commitments—measured by people’s assessment of requests being actioned as promised:

  • 75.7 per cent of people surveyed about Centrelink services were confident their requests were actioned as promised
  • 95.7 per cent of people surveyed about Medicare services were confident their requests were actioned as promised
  • 80.3 per cent of people surveyed about Child Support services were confident their requests were actioned as promised.

Efficiency

We will simplify the way we deliver services to you—measured by people’s assessment of achieving what they wanted:

  • 75.0 per cent of people surveyed about Centrelink services agreed that they achieved what they wanted in their interaction
  • 95.0 per cent of people surveyed about Medicare services agreed that they achieved what they wanted in their interaction
  • 82.3 per cent of people surveyed about Child Support services agreed that they achieved what they wanted in their interaction.

Satisfaction Research Program

During 2018–19, enhancements were made to the Satisfaction Research Program to better reflect customers’ expectations and services delivered by the department. Due to these changes, results for 2018–19 cannot be compared to previous year’s results.

This program includes a number of survey modules designed to measure satisfaction with the department’s service delivery:

  • The Transactional Survey measures people’s perceptions of the quality of service they received in their most recent interaction with the department.
  • The Strategic Survey measures people’s general perceptions of, and engagement with, the department.
  • The Health Provider Survey measures satisfaction with the department’s services to health professionals, including pharmacists, general practitioners and practice managers.

Table 7: Summary of the department’s satisfaction survey activities

Survey title

Target audience, timing and sample size

Results 2017–18

Results 2018–19

Transactional Survey

Random selection of current users who have recently interacted with the department

Continuously throughout the year

Approximately 164,206 surveys completed

Satisfied with:

Centrelink services: 75.2%

Medicare services: 83.7%

Child Support services: 74.5%

Satisfied with:

Centrelink services: 76.7 out of 100(a)

Medicare services: 86.1(b) out of 100(a)

Child Support services: 75.2 out of 100(a)

Strategic Survey (formerly Relationship Survey)

Random selection of users who have had any interaction with the department in the previous 12 months

Every 6 months

4,199 surveys completed

Satisfied with:

Centrelink: 46.5%

Medicare: 70.5%

Child Support: 38.8%

Satisfied with:

Centrelink: 51.4%

Medicare: 85.2%

Child Support: 29.6%

Health Provider Survey

Random selection of health professionals who have interacted with the department in the previous 12 months

Annually

301 surveys completed

Satisfied with or neutral about the department’s services:

Pharmacists: 95.5%

Practitioners: 86.4%

Practice managers: 86.0%

Aged Care Providers: 74.9%(d)

Satisfied with or neutral about the department’s services:

Health provider: 96.8%(c)

(a) The calculation approach changed from a percentage‑based to an index‑based measure.

(b) Reduced sample size from March to May.

(c) Due to changes in survey methodology to consolidate responses from pharmacists, practitioners and practice managers, results are not comparable with those of previous years.

(d) Aged Care Providers were not surveyed in 2018‑19 due to changes in methodology as described in (c).

Feedback on services

The department is committed to delivering high‑quality services to the Australian people. We value the feedback we receive, as it helps us improve our business processes and deliver better services.

We are committed to ensuring that people are aware of their right to complain and provide feedback. They can do so:

  • by calling the complaints and feedback line
  • online via their myGov account or at humanservices.gov.au
  • by calling one of our international phone numbers from overseas—listed at humanservices.gov.au/international
  • by mail (no postage stamp required)
  • by calling the National Relay Service for people who are deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment
  • by speaking to a service officer at any Service Centre or on the phone.

The number of complaints we received in 2018–19 about our services was 291,117, or 0.09 per cent of over 313.5 million interactions (including calls handled, visits to Service Centres and self-service interactions) for that period. In 2018–19, we received 13,918 compliments. Of these, 87.4 per cent were about the service provided by staff, 6.4 per cent were about programs, and 6.2 per cent were about products.

We actively encourage feedback and suggestions about programs, services and new initiatives. In 2018–19, we received 10,114 suggestions.

Centrelink feedback

In 2018–19, the department recorded 283,650 feedback contacts about Centrelink services. Of these, 261,875 were complaints. The top three complaint reasons, by volume, were:

  • dissatisfaction with a claim, application or assessment process, including waiting too long, needing to contact us multiple times to progress the matter, and not being updated on progress (40.1 per cent)
  • dissatisfaction with a decision, outcome or payment, including waiting too long, a cancellation or suspension, or not receiving a payment (27.9 per cent)
  • difficulties with phone services, including busy or engaged signals, call wait times, and call disconnections (10.1 per cent).

The department resolved 57 per cent of Centrelink complaints within 10 working days.

Medicare feedback

In 2018–19, the department recorded 11,294 feedback contacts about Medicare services. Of these, 9,573 were complaints. The top three complaint reasons, by volume, were:

  • dissatisfaction with a claim, application or assessment process, including waiting too long, incorrect information, and requests for information regarding the progress of a customer’s claim (28.7 per cent)
  • dissatisfaction with a decision, outcome or payment, including not receiving a payment, waiting too long, or disagreeing with a decision (27.3 per cent)
  • difficulties with digital services, including inability to access services, inability to complete a transaction, and information being incorrect, unavailable or unclear (15.1 per cent).

The department resolved 91 per cent of Medicare complaints within 10 working days.

Child Support feedback

In 2018–19, the department recorded 20,205 feedback contacts about Child Support services. Of these, 19,669 were complaints. The top three types of complaints, by volume, were to do with:

  • quality of service, including lack of courtesy, phone wait times, and poor advice (34.3 per cent)
  • collection, including lack of collection, issues with account balance, and issues with employer withholding (29.6 per cent)
  • assessment, including income used, care level used, and change of assessment (20.0 per cent).

The department resolved 88 per cent of Child Support complaints within 10 working days.

Responses to complaints and feedback

The department is committed to improving our services and reducing the number of complaints. We use complaints, compliments and suggestions to improve service delivery, training, and procedural and communication guidelines.

The department uses data analytics techniques to identify the root causes of complaints and determine the actions we need to take to resolve these issues. Analysis has resulted in targeted improvements to our digital services and claims processing procedures. For example, we have improved our online claim tracker and the processes frontline staff use to answer enquiries about the progress of claims.

We regularly monitor complaint and feedback trends and report on these to service and process teams to provide insight into service issues and areas for improvement.