January 27, 2014 | JJ Cramer

ForeSee Federal Government Mobile Benchmark


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ForeSee’s mobile practice hits another milestone with the launch of the Federal Benchmark of mobile sites and apps for its clients.

Just the fact that there is a mobile benchmark for these organizations is huge accomplishment, meaning more and more federal government agencies, departments and organizations are actually measuring the mobile experience, which shows federal leaders are understanding the value this digital medium has in interacting with the citizen.

The satisfaction score of these federal government site and app visitors are starting strong out of the gate and showing higher average scores than other industry sectors measured by ForeSee. The aggregate satisfaction score for visitors’ traversing through the federal mobile and app sites is at 82 out of 100, and ranges from 60 to 91. In comparison, the aggregate for federal websites in Q3 2013 was 75. And, the federal mobile benchmark score is higher than the average for the ForeSee Website Index (69), which includes both public and private sites, and the general ForeSee Mobile benchmark (76).

ForeSee's Mobile Government Benchmark

We know that the increase of mobile use across the board plays a crucial part in the overall experience a visitor has with an organization. Digital communications play an important role in delivering messages to the public, reducing the cost of disseminating information and building trust and transparency to citizens.  Digital experiences, whether good or bad, have a huge impact in driving the behavior of your visitors.

So what is the value of satisfying visitors to government mobile sites and apps?  Highly satisfied citizens are 123% more likely to recommend the site and 113% more likely to return than dissatisfied visitors.  Satisfying visitors and helping them accomplish their tasks helps reduce call volume, and that can mean greater efficiency and enormous savings for organizations that are typically strapped with stringent budgets.  ForeSee’s work has shown that satisfaction increases of even just one point can generate ROI of millions of dollars for an organization.

While these federal sites score well at the aggregate level there is always room for improvement. That’s the great thing about having a robust metric system to continuously measure the citizen experience with – you can prioritize improvements to what citizens want rather than just guessing.

Analyzing the aggregate data, there are some consistent trouble spots that need improvement.  With an abundance of content that is hard to scale from web screen to mobile screen visitors struggled with navigation.  In fact, in the benchmark, 80% of the sites and/or apps registered navigation as a top priority to focus on, meaning it was the lowest scoring and highest impact to the overall experience for visitors to federal mobile experiences.

Throughout much of our work we typically see mobile play a unique role in the needs of customers and the same is holding true for citizens.  Federal sites need to align their mobile content around the specific primary needs of their mobile audience.  This will help them optimize their content prioritization and navigation layouts for mobile users. This makes measuring the unique needs of the mobile audience all that more important.

Granted, there is a bit of an advantage in the Federal sector in that many of these sites do not contain significant (or, in some cases, any) functionality and often time are informational only sites.  Not having data entry, payment processes or other functional elements may make it easier to satisfy visitors, but even when compared to mobile content sites Federal mobile sites are scoring higher on average (82 vs. 74).

Mobile continues to change how you not just communicate but how you can service and engage your constituents. While e-government is typically limited on functionality, it should be at the ready to increase the experience on this front.  Many government sites have downloadable forms; unfortunately, tablets and handheld mobile devices are not conducive to downloads and document management.  Such sites need to consider email as a means of form delivery. This way, mobile users can have the desired forms sent directly to them rather than having to re-enter their search from a desktop later.

Government mobile sites may also consider other functionality to help communicate such as a calendar for visitors seeking information not yet available. This function could provide an option for a citizen to calendar an event to alert them when the information is available.

With such a great ROI on satisfying visitors whether you scored high or low, the real focus needs to be on continuous improvement.  It then becomes vital to begin establishing internal benchmarks so you can monitor your improvement over time.  Because the only guarantee is that expectations will continue to rise over time and there are many other use cases where mobile functionality can enhance the government efforts to service citizens.

About the Author

As ForeSee’s Director of Sales, Mobile, JJ Cramer contributes to the development of institutional knowledge about the mobile customer experience, influences product innovation for ForeSee’s mobile solutions, and collaborates with ForeSee’s sales team to support clients. JJ has over 10 years of experience in digital research and is an expert in online custom research and customer analysis. JJ holds an undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Pennsylvania and a Master’s degree from Springfield College. He is a former professional tennis player and has been with ForeSee since 2010.

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