What can Centrelink learn from a pizza retailer?

The Department of Human Services is aiming to approach digital customer service like a bank — or Domino’s pizza — revealed the man leading an overhaul of Australia’s welfare payment system. It begins with not keeping the customer in the dark.

You might wonder what a purveyor of cheap pizzas has to teach Australia’s gigantic welfare department.

Tam Shepherd

Tam Shepherd

The Department of Human Services is aiming to model its customer service on the Domino’s pizza app, revealed Tam Shepherd, acting program executive director of DHS’ Welfare Payment Infrastructure Transformation Programme at the 2015 Australia New Zealand School of Government conference last week.

The problem is that when DHS customers lodge a claim, the department’s approach tends to be, “can you wait 21 days please?”, as Shepherd put it. Slow responses and a lack of available information impose significant costs on the department: on average, customers seeking progress updates call or go into Centrelink or Medicare offices four times after they’ve submitted a digital claim.

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