February 14, 2017 | Dave Lewan

New report: E-Gov should be driven by data, not politics

It’s crucial that decisions about changes to federal websites be directed by data, not by politics.

For the last 16 years, the principle of data-driven digital experiences has been the focal point of ForeSee’s work with hundreds of federal government agencies, departments, and programs. We survey nearly a million citizens every year about their interactions with federal websites and mobile apps, and our research shows that good e-government drives efficiency and trust in government. Our latest data shows that when a citizen interacts with an excellent federal site (80+ on the study scale) they are 82% more likely to use the site as a primary resource, 103% more likely to recommend the site, 51% more likely to return, and 54% more likely to trust in the government. These are all outcomes that are directly tied to bottom-line cost savings, making improvements to citizen experience a top priority for the incoming administration.

In fact, extensive cuts to a number of federal agencies have already been announced, but the government can achieve huge efficiencies just by making digital experiences appealing and useful enough that citizens use them over costlier channels.

Download the latest ForeSee Experience Index (FXI): E-Government Report now.

Today’s release of the FXI E-Government report (covering the fourth quarter of 2016) shows that CX with federal websites is up as the Obama era ends, rising half a point to 75.3 on the study’s 100-point scale.

What remains to be seen is how CX will change as the Trump administration comes into power. There have already been reports of website changes seemingly driven by political motives rather than by CX data and insights. For now, our advice is to make adjustments carefully, rely on data, and be aware that citizen satisfaction often drops during administration changes but should rebound quickly if decisions are driven by CX data. Sudden changes, such as those we’ve seen in the initial weeks of the new administration, may hamper positive citizen experiences. We will know more when our next quarterly report comes out in May.

Additional findings from this quarter’s e-gov study include:

  • Mobile e-gov CX is down. The average FXI score for federal mobile sites and apps dropped to 77.8 (down 1.8 points from 79.6 in Q3 2016). This remains higher than the web average for government.
  • Transactional sites outperform other categories. Exemplary scores included the SSA Retirement Estimator (91), Extra Help with Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Costs (90) SSA iClaim, and my Social Security (89).
  • Most improved sites include: Social Security Online (+9 to 77), U.S. Internal Revenue Service (+7 to 62), and U.S. Geological Survey (+6 to 60).
  • Public sector often outperforms the private sector. Nine government sites either match or beat top U.S. retail site Amazon.com (score of 85) in satisfaction — a notable achievement given the typical resources and constraints of e-gov sites.

Interested in learning more about how e-government can deliver excellent experiences and cost savings? Make sure to read the newly released FXI: E-Government report, which features a brand new format with a sleek design and more graphical illustrations of our findings.

About the Author

Dave Lewan is responsible for managing the organization focused on the public sector, including federal and state government departments and agencies, non-profit organizations, associations and higher education institutions. He is charged with defining strategy and leveraging internal resources to initiate new business opportunities while delivering to existing ForeSee public-sector clients. Dave is also responsible for ForeSee’s growing Canadian business including public and private sectors. In 2016, Dave will serve as ForeSee liaison with the Partnership for Public Service for the Center for Presidential Transition, in an effort to educate some 4,000 appointees who will enter into the federal government from the private sector as part of the new administration. Prior to joining ForeSee in 2009, Dave led in key strategic areas at ADP, SalesLogix, Ultimate Software and Ceridian. Dave graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in speech communications.

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