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How Councils can compete with the rising expectations of their communities 

Rising customer expectations are prompting Councils across Australia to improve their maturity and deliver a customer experience that aligns with what customers expect from interacting with any organisation.


Over the last decade, Councils across Australia have been scrambling to modernise their digital infrastructure and build their customer service capabilities in an age where the speed of technological advancement is borderline beyond comprehension, and customers’ expectations are evolving. The promise and hope is that bringing in a new suite of digital tools will allow Councils to improve their operations and elevate their customer’s experience. While partially true, the focus on digital transformation is not only one enabling component of customer experience but also not enough to meet the rising expectations of customers whose perceptions are guided by their experiences as consumers. 

Customer experience (CX) is the sum of all the interactions and perceptions that customers have with an organisation, from the first contact to the ongoing relationship. CX is not only about providing efficient and effective services, but also about creating positive emotions and building trust and loyalty, which are core building blocks of all Councils.  

Councils in Australia face many challenges in delivering a great CX to their diverse and changing communities over a much longer lifecycle compared to other organisations. Councils must balance the expectations and needs of their customers, who are also citizens, ratepayers, and stakeholders, with the constraints and complexities of their operating environment, which includes regulatory, financial, political, and social factors. Councils arguably also need to be much more adaptive to the changing preferences and behaviours of their customers, who are going through various life stages and their preferred ways to engage are distinct across diverse channels and across multiple touchpoints. To succeed in this dynamic and competitive landscape, Councils must tackle customer experience holistically, understanding the various domains and capabilities required to deliver and maintain a delightful customer experience across all the moving parts in a Council’s complex structure.  

Ultimately, Councils need to develop and enhance their CX maturity. CX maturity is the degree to which an organisation has embedded CX capabilities into its culture, strategy, and operations and the extent to which it can measure and demonstrate the impact of CX on its performance and outcomes. 

In our experience, there are ten domains that underpin a Council’s CX maturity and drive successful outcomes for Councils and its customers. 

The ten domains of CX Maturity 

Based on our research and experience with several Councils across Australia, ten domains illustrate the capabilities that are essential for Councils to sustainably deliver a superior customer experience that aligns with the changing expectations of customers. These domains are: 

  • Vision and Strategy: The clarity and alignment of the organisation’s CX vision, goals, and strategy with its overall mission, values, and objectives. 
  • Endorsement and Commitment: The level of support and involvement of the organisation’s leadership, management and workforce in driving and championing CX initiatives and culture. 
  • Governance: The structure and processes that enable the organisation to plan, prioritise, coordinate, monitor, and evaluate CX activities and outcomes across different functions and levels. 
  • Delivery: The ability and agility of the organisation to design, implement, and manage CX projects and programs, using customer-centric methodologies and practices. 
  • Measures: The collection and analysis of the data and feedback that the organisation uses to assess and enhance CX performance and outcomes, and to identify and address CX issues and opportunities. 
  • Culture: The extent to which the organisation fosters a customer-centric mindset and behaviour among its employees and partners, and recognises and rewards CX excellence. 
  • Skills: The availability and development of the competencies and capabilities of the organisation’s employees and partners to perform CX-related roles and tasks. 
  • Tools: The selection and use of the methods, frameworks, and techniques that support the organisation to understand, analyse, and improve CX. 
  • Technology: The adoption and integration of the systems, platforms, and applications that enable the organisation to deliver, measure, and optimise CX across different channels and touchpoints. 
  • Channels: The design and management of the channels and touchpoints that the organisation uses to interact with its customers, and the consistency and quality of CX across them. 

How to assess and improve CX maturity 

To assess and improve CX maturity, Councils need to conduct a comprehensive and systematic evaluation of their current state and desired state in each of the ten domains of CX capabilities. This can be done by using a CX maturity framework, which is a model that defines the criteria and indicators of CX maturity across different levels and dimensions. A CX maturity model can help LGCs to: 

  • Benchmark their CX maturity against best practices and industry standards. 
  • Identify their strengths and weaknesses in CX capabilities and performance. 
  • Prioritise and plan their CX improvement actions and initiatives. 
  • Track and monitor their CX progress and results. 
  • Communicate and demonstrate their CX value and impact. 

A CX maturity assessment can be conducted using various methods and sources, such as surveys, interviews, focus groups, observations, audits, reviews, and benchmarks. The data and information collected should be both quantitative and qualitative and reflect the perspectives and experiences of different stakeholders, such as customers, employees, and partners. 

Based on the results of the CX maturity assessment, Councils can identify the gaps and opportunities for CX improvement, and develop a CX maturity roadmap, which is a plan that outlines the actions and initiatives that the organisation will take to enhance its CX maturity in each domain. 


CX is a critical factor for Councils in Australia to achieve their mission, vision, and objectives, and to create value and impact for their customers and stakeholders. To deliver superior CX, Councils need to develop and enhance their CX capabilities and maturity, across the ten domains of CX capabilities. Councils must use a CX maturity model to assess and improve their CX maturity, and to plan and prioritise their CX improvement actions and initiatives. By improving their CX maturity, Councils can ensure that they can meet evolving customer expectations and needs and foster a trusting community that grows with the Council. 

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