Most, if not all readers of WRAL TechWire are probably what Accenture calls “Digital Super Users,” who consult their computer or mobile device multiple times daily. The company says governments can learn what citizens of the future will value and expect by looking at the super users of today.

Digital Super-Users opt for email, websites, texting, smartphone apps or social media rather than engaging with government in person via phone or regular mail. And they are more likely to expect a better-than-commercial digital government experience, it says in a new report.

We can’t remember the last time we used anything but digital to pay a water bill, state and federal taxes, renew license plates, or deal with other government services, so they have a point.

The report, Citizen Digital Expectations, is based on findings from a survey of more than 3,000 U.S. citizens and shows that these highly digital citizens, or “super users,” conduct nearly half (46 percent) of all interactions with government through digital channels, with nearly 30 percent of these super users interacting digitally with government more than 75 percent of the time.

In comparison, 42 percent of all respondents report less than 10 percent of their interactions with government happen digitally.

Super users, the report states, can be considered a leading indicator of where the population as a whole is headed. They tend to be young, slightly more affluent and avid consumers of social media and mobile apps. They are also significantly more satisfied with the digital services offered by government – with more than two-thirds (69 percent) of super users reporting satisfaction compared to only half (50 percent) of all citizens surveyed. Similarly, 84 percent of super users said that improved digital services from government would positively impact their attitude toward government.

“Super users are showing us a future where the majority of individuals leverage computers, mobile devices and other digital technologies to interact with government,” said Steve Hurst, Accenture’s digital government lead.

“By understanding citizens’ habits and priorities around digital services, governments and public service organizations will be better equipped to provide more-personalized, seamless experiences for the citizens and communities they serve, building on already high rates of satisfaction.”

Accenture’s survey found that super users prefer communicating using email, websites, texting, smartphone apps and social media over telephone, in-person office visits or traditional mail.

Interestingly, despite digital driving daily activities and transactions on commercial websites, super users were more likely than other citizens to report a higher level of satisfaction with government digital services, at 69 percent versus 58 percent for citizens overall.

The margins between super users and all citizens is equally dramatic when evaluating activities attempted on city or state government websites over the course of 12 months. For instance:

More than half (56 percent) of super users, versus only 43 percent of all citizens, have applied for or renewed drivers’ licenses;

Half (50 percent) of super users paid taxes online, compared to only 40 percent of all citizens; and Nearly one-third (32 percent) of super users applied for or received information on benefits, compared with one-quarter (25 percent) of all citizens.

The survey found that:

  • privacy and security remain a top concern (81 percent of super users, 72 percent of all citizens),
  • followed by the ability to have questions answered definitively (74 percent of super users, 68 percent of all citizens),
  • tracking status of requests or activities (76 percent, 66 percent),
  • and having information organized by individual needs or issues (75 percent, 65 percent).

The majority of both groups of respondents support advanced digital functions like alerting, personalized websites and apps, and a single-entry portal/ one-stop-shop government website.

”For government and public service organizations, your future client base is already here and they are demanding digital — this is a tremendous opportunity for leaders to plan how best to meet these growing citizen expectations for digital interactions,” concluded Hurst