“A good digital transition must contain support systems, through human presence and adapted telephone relations”

Tthirteen million French people experience difficulties with digital technology, which is why the dematerialization of public services must not replace the telephone. By announcing in the spring a “ phone plan », Elisabeth Borne indicated that 43% of interactions with public services are done by telephone.

Telephone relations are thus the first channels of contact between users and their administrations. Quality telephone reception is therefore essential, both to receive general information and to benefit from personalized information.

While the policy pursued for more than a decade tends to favor digital administrative procedures, the telephone must remain a real channel of quality communication to avoid risks of exclusion. However, according to a survey carried out by the Sense of public service think tank in early 2023, if 33% of those questioned have used an administration telephone switchboard in recent months, 52% consider it unsatisfactory.

Sending text messages instead of emails

We see in fact that the telephone alternative is not always at the level of quality expected by users. According to a survey by the 60 million consumers ociation and the Rights defenderhalf of the calls to the Family Allowance Fund (CAF) are unsuccessful, as are 72% of calls to Health Insurance.

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When a user manages to reach a public service, the telephone response time is often shorter than the waiting time, and the volume of information delivered remains insufficient. Let us further note that if, since 1er January 2021, public services have the obligation to provide free telephone numbers, we still deplore premium rate calls through scams or shortcuts to access some public services.

To the extent that telephone exchanges remain predominant in relations with administrative services and that they contribute to shaping the image of public services, improving their quality through new functionalities seems a structuring element. The modernization of these exchanges involves reminding users to avoid wasted time waiting, through the obligatory development of a satisfaction survey among callers in order to enrich the service provided and by sending SMS rather than of emails for people less comfortable with the Internet.

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