As well as producing statistical products, Statistics NZ also provides a range of services to help our customers access the data and information they need. We have recently been making some improvements to our services, but have realized we really need to know more about how customers find interacting with them…so we set out to learn more.

What we did

We asked around 25 customers to pick a recent time where they had used a Statistics NZ service and tell us about how it went. We talked with customers that worked in many different sectors – from business, to government, to media. We talked with customers who used our data a lot and those who didn’t, and we talked with customers who were experts in our data and those who weren’t.

And what did we do with all the information we gathered? Well, firstly we held some mammoth post-it sessions where we analysed all the information our customers shared with us. We then created maps that showed how customers experienced our services, and where the good and painful points were. From here we learned that customers are pretty happy with Statistics NZ services on the whole, but that they had lots of ideas about how our services could meet their needs even more.

What we learned

Of course, with such a variety of customers we heard about; issues that affected small groups of customers, disagreements over whether something was an issue, and some pretty unexpected ideas. But most customers agreed on some things:

  1. Flexibility

    Customers want us to recognise their particular circumstances so that we can flexibly adjust our services to work for them. For example, some customers had tight timeframes, others were constrained by their own clients’ demands and others had to meet political pressures.

    “[Statistics NZ] needs to…appreciate the pressures your customers experience and work with that”

  2. Customisation

    Customers wanted greater customisation of data to meet their particular needs. Some customers wanted the ability to do this themselves via our website. Others (particularly those with time pressures) valued the fact that we could produce customised data for them.

    “we come to [Statistics NZ] because it’s much easier than going via the website – and that’s worth it to us”

    “There have been things I expected to see already on the website”

  3. Personal contact

    Customers liked being able to talk with Statistics NZ staff – to pick our brains, hear about alternative options and discuss their particular requirements. Some customers would like even more personal contact to help them through the process of requesting, analyzing and using data.

    “it can be good to talk with someone about what data is possible to access”

What next?

So what will we do with these lessons, and all the other information we collected? We are currently prioritizing the ideas and areas of pain we heard about from our customers. We’ll then look to make some changes, both small and big, to make sure our services meet our customers’ needs. And, of course, we’ll keep talking with customers to make sure we get it right.