French people’s satisfaction with their public services is plummeting. While 74% of French people declared themselves satisfied in 2021, they are only 49% in 2022, a drop of 25 points, according to a survey carried out by Ifop for Webhelp, the European leader in relationship outsourcing. customer. Conversely, public administration officials take a much less severe look: 63% of people who responded to this survey unveiled on Thursday, November 10 express their satisfaction.

Both users and agents deplore above all the lack of responsiveness of public services to respond to requests and investigate cases: 62% of users are dissatisfied, compared to 54% on the agent side according to this study. Listening to users is also not up to par for 56% of users and 44% of agents. On the other hand, a major divide is emerging on the issue of equal treatment. Indeed, nearly one out of two users declares himself dissatisfied (47%), against only 25% of agents.

As noted by Webhelp in the third edition of its annual barometer on the scope of public services, agents are clearly aware of the appreciation that users have of the public service. Indeed, when asked how users judge the public service overall, the agents aim just at two points: 53% believe that the French are not satisfied, against 51% in reality.

Another lesson from this Ifop study for Webhelp, with more than two years of hindsight on the Covid-19 epidemic: the health crisis has had a negative impact on the sustainable transformation of public services for more than one French person in two (54%), including 18% considering this impact very negative. The main grievances concern the performance of services (opening hours, response time, quality of response): 62% of users have a negative opinion, 54% for agents, but also the volumes of requests to be managed (58% of negative opinions on the user side and 59% of negative opinions at agent level) or the overhaul of the organization of user reception (54% of negative opinions among users and 49% of negative opinions among the agents).

In addition, the majority of French respondents (62%) are in favor of the digitization of public services. They see positive effects on their daily lives in terms of simplicity of procedures (57%), additional availability (56%) and responsiveness to provide them with answers more quickly (55%), the main cause of user dissatisfaction.

On the other hand, they fear that digitalization leads to less attention to their needs (49%) and does not promote equal access to public services (43%). If this survey shows that the majority of them support digitization, 43% however consider the dematerialization movement under way since 2017 to be anxiety-provoking, i.e. three points more than in 2021. They are also 81% to deplore the lack of targeted support in the dematerialization of public services. For them, the digitization of public services requires specific support systems according to the needs of users.

“The health crisis has made it possible to accelerate the digitization of public services, but this digitization is not synonymous with simplification for all, in particular when it becomes the only channel of access to the public service”, notes Fabien Adnet, public sector director at Webhelp.

In addition, if users remain reluctant on the issue of complementarity between public actors and private partners, the tipping point has taken place this year 2022, according to this survey: they are more favorable (46% against 41% in 2021) to the use of private partners for administrative tasks such as telephone reception, file processing or compatibility. This underlying trend is even stronger among the youngest: 50% of those under 35 want to create a link with private partners, compared to 43% for those over 65.

Methodology: study carried out with a self-administered online questionnaire with a sample of 1002 users, representative of the French population aged 18 and over from July 25 to 29, 2022 and 635 elected officials or public service agents, from July 26 July to August 20, 2022.