Digital Government Best Practices for Meeting the Expectations of Today’s Multichannel, Multi-Device Citizens
For over 10 years, ForeSee has been measuring and reporting on citizen satisfaction with the digital government experience. In that time, we’ve seen technology evolve – and with that comes continuously increasing citizen expectations.
In the recently released ForeSee E-Government Satisfaction Index (Q2 2014) – available for download here – we see the aggregate citizen satisfaction score for government websites continue to hold steady around 75 on the Index’s 100-point scale, as it has for the past four years. The good news for e-government is that there has not been a major decline in citizen satisfaction for quite some time. The bad news is that citizen satisfaction scores have not increased significantly over this period, either.
At ForeSee, we look at satisfaction as the combination of the experience one has compared to one’s expectations. For e-government, meeting and exceeding citizen expectations is key. For years, our research has revealed that citizens want to get information from departments, agencies and programs through digital channels. Delivering an optimal digital experience provides 24/7 accessibility, consistency of information and—with citizens leveraging an efficient self-service channel—the opportunity to reduce the cost to serve.
One major influence impacting citizen expectations is the growing availability of mobile as a direct line for citizens to interact with government organizations, agencies and departments. Thus, as mobile is the next natural step for citizens, it should be the logical next step for the digital federal government to measure and manage.
In this post, we’ll outline some best practices for digital government leaders tasked with creating satisfying experiences for today’s multichannel, multi-device citizens from the ForeSee E-Government Satisfaction Index (Q2 2014). Download the full report here, or learn more about how our products and services help digital government leaders meet and exceed the expectations of today’s digital citizens here.
Best Practice: Go Beyond Behavioral Metrics and Feedback
Behavioral metrics are key for digital managers to understand traffic patterns and use of digital channels. However, behavioral metrics won’t give you any insight as to whether your visitors or users were satisfied with their experience or where they’d like to see improvements. You can gain some insight from open-ended feedback, but the responses you get may not be reflective of every users’ experience. A better approach is to develop an effective system of metrics that will tell you whether you’re delivering a satisfying experience, what’s driving satisfaction and where you should invest and improve.
Best Practice: Measure Experiences Consistently Across Channels
To understand how citizens leverage the information and services provided by departments, agencies and programs and whether their expectations are being met and exceeded, government organizations need to accurately and consistently measure the citizen experience delivered within each channel (i.e., mobile, web, contact center, location, social media or e-mail campaigns). Accurate and consistent measurement provides teams with actionable insights to help them understand where to invest limited time, money and resources. Using the same system of metrics to measure the citizen experience across channels also helps teams understand how individual channels are performing independently and influencing one another. For example, how does the mobile experience influence that visitor’s next experience on your website? Is a person who called the contact center likely to self-serve through a less-costly digital channel the next time she or he needs information? Measuring across channels gives you the visibility to understand interactions between channels so you can identify with confidence where to focus improvements.
Best Practice: Prioritize Improvements
If government agencies focus on improving priority areas within, across and between channels, citizen satisfaction should also improve. Why is improving satisfaction important? Because satisfaction has been shown to have a direct impact on a constituent’s future behavior. According to the ForeSee E-Government Satisfaction Index (Q2 2014), highly satisfied citizens are
- 100% more likely to recommend the site,
- 96% more likely to use the federal website they evaluated as a primary resource (compared to a private-sector site or costlier channels like the contact center or in-location),
- 82% more likely to put their trust behind the agency,
- 56% more likely to return to the site and
- 55% more likely to participate with the agency in the future.
Government agencies have an obligation to the public to be fiscally responsible by using the federal budget as wisely as possible. There are definite cost savings associated with offering a highly satisfying website and mobile experience. Therefore, government agencies need to maintain the highest online standards by meeting or exceeding citizens’ expectations. Federal websites that are already successfully meeting users’ needs should take note of their achievements without becoming complacent. If done right, improving the citizen experience will increase users’ likelihood to participate with government in the future, use the government website as a primary resource (rather than costlier channels such as branch locations and contact centers) and recommend the government site to others.
For more information, including a complete list of scores for all 103 participating federal websites in the ForeSee E-Government Satisfaction Index and the latest ForeSee Mobile Federal Government Benchmark, download the ForeSee E-Government Satisfaction Index (Q2 2014) here.