Behavioural Insights Unit guides
These practical guides put the tools of behaviour change in your hands.
Each guide will help you apply behavioural insights to a common challenge faced by NSW public servants. Together we can work towards a behaviour smart NSW Government.
Every customer that contacts NSW Government in distress deserves to be treated with compassion. This guide contains practical recommendations customer service staff can implement to respond with confidence.
Letters and emails should make is easy for our customers to do what they need to do, not confuse them or slow them down. Use this guide to help make your letters and emails purposeful, clear and designed with your customers’ needs in mind.
Forms should help our customers access services, not stand in the way as a barrier. Use this guide to make your forms easy to find, easy to understand, easy to complete and easy to submit.
Websites are central to our relationship with customers and should make their lives easier, not harder. Use this guide to make your websites accessible, clear and easy to use. It is intended to be accessible and usable for public servants without technical training.
Phone calls and face-to-face interactions present the ‘face’ of government to our customers and can leave a lasting impression. Use this guide to make all your customer interactions as simple, easy and effective as possible.
Text messages are a direct, compelling and accessible channel for interaction with our customers. Use this guide to make your text messages clear, simple and credible.
Apps need to meet our customers’ expectations and make their lives easier. Use this guide to make your apps accessible, clear and easy to use. It is intended to be accessible and usable for public servants without technical training.
Teams are increasingly working remotely to limit the spread with COVID-19. As with any change, it can take time to get the most out of new working arrangements. The good news is that behavioural scientists have been researching strategies to get the most out of teams while they are not sharing a physical location.
Customer Experience (CX) is the sum of all the experiences a customer has before, during and after their interactions with your organisation. For NSW Government agencies, the six Customer Commitments represent known drivers of customer satisfaction and a promise to customers about what they can expect when receiving government services.
Moving services online can provide a better, faster, and more convenient service for customers. However, customers can resist change. Behavioural insights can be used to encourage customers to switch from in-person services to digital versions.
Designing procedures with an understanding of why people do (or don’t) follow them, helps organisations to be more effective. Procedures in the public service – from policy officers completing timesheets to clinicians washing their hands – help to mitigate risks, improve customer service and ensure the smooth running of organisations.
Myths and misinformation pose a serious challenge for government, particularly when they result in harmful behaviours or major disruption. Once inaccurate beliefs are formed, they are hard to change and often continue to shape decisions despite credible corrections. Although this phenomenon has been widely studied, there is limited evidence on the best ways to tackle it.
Government policies and services can be hard to navigate for people who are already under pressure. By understanding the effects of scarcity, we can make these easier to access for the people who need them.
Maximising the completion of forms and surveys helps government understand customers and better serve their needs. To get busy people to complete them, it can help to apply behavioural insights to the form or survey itself, the timing of the request to participate, and the invitation to participate.
When you design or change a policy, program or communication, testing is essential to understand whether it works. Behavioural Insights tells us that even small details can influence participation in a service, completion of a task, and compliance with rules. Testing is important because many evidence-based interventions (over half of pre-registered studies) don’t produce the same outcomes when translated into new contexts.
Addressing the barriers to participation in programs and services can increase their potential impact and return-on-investment. Take-up of government programs and services is often lower than expected, even for cash programs where benefits would appear obvious. Behavioural insights can help by addressing some of the main barriers to participation.