77% of Irish people believe automation would enhance service quality in the public sector, according to a survey by OpenSky.

The research involving more than 1,000 citizens across Ireland, found that 55% of Irish people prefer to contact public service bodies and government agencies online.

Telephone is the second most popular method of communication, while less than a fifth of the Irish public would choose to contact these organisations in person.

The findings revealed that online or digital communication is the preferred method across public sector activities including collecting benefits, applying for visas, renewing passports and driving licences, filing or accessing tax records and accessing health records.

It was also the channel of choice for private sector activities such as renewing insurance, making appointments and banking enquiries.

The research also revealed what people see as the main benefits of online public services.

56% said it means they can do it at any time, 52% said the response time was faster, while 43% said it increased efficiency.

The survey found that the most popular complaint when dealing with public services is the long waiting times.

While a quarter of citizens also expressed frustration with poor customer service levels and some 22% cited rudeness or unhelpfulness of staff as one of their biggest criticisms.

Speaking about the findings, William Flanagan, Technology and Commercial Director of OpenSky, said there has been a shift towards the use of digital services and self-service options across both the private and public sector.

"Increasingly, people want more information and greater access at their fingertips, as illustrated by the significant uptake of the Covid-19 contact tracing app. They also want better, faster service which has resulted in online channels of communication and technologies that enable automation coming to the fore," he said.