We’ve all done it: Logged on to the computer or picked up the phone so we could look something up or make a last-minute purchase while much of the world was still asleep. Today, people are looking for that same 24-hour convenience from online service options.
Once upon a time, people had to drive to an office, wait in line and speak to a person to fill out a permit or find information on local ordinances. Today, citizens want to accomplish those same tasks without ever leaving home. In fact, 75% of Canadians want the government to make services available online. And with recent events making it even more difficult to meet in-person, getting information online has quickly gone from “want-to-have” to “need-to-have.”
What’s more, online services also provide benefits to government employees, taking simple requests for information, forms and other queries off their plate and giving them more time to handle complex tasks.
To help you make the most of your user-focused digital services, we’ve outlined three steps that will help you get started. Bonus—we’ve included government promotional item ideas to help.
Step 1: Find out what services people need
Are your citizens seeking information? Looking to purchase permits? Wanting to let one of your branches know about a problem in their neighbourhood? Discovering what people want from their government service options is a critical first step to moving those services online.
To get this key information, consider surveying your citizens. If you’re holding an in-person meeting, pass out paper surveys and pens to capture immediate feedback. Or create an online poll and promote via email, on your website and on social media. Encourage participation by offering a pair of Blue-Light Blocking Glasses or a Smartphone Ring Holder and Stand as a thank-you to anyone who fills it out.
Step 2: Improve user experiences
Once you know what people are looking for, make it easy for them to find and use your services. To improve the user experience:
- Produce content that is both easy to locate and easy to understand.
- Design your website to be used by a variety of devices, including computers, tablets and smartphones.
- Include options to leave feedback and use that feedback to continuously improve and update the site. Encourage people to leave feedback by entering those who do into a draw for a cooler tote bag.
Step 3: Make people aware of your offerings
Once your information has been moved online, it’s time to tell your citizens about their new service options with a few government promotional items. Examples might include:
- A magnet that tells people where they can leave descriptions or pictures of issues that need to be addressed.
- A postcard that discusses how they can fill out forms and pay fees online.
Help them help themselves
As more of our lives move online, citizens will come to expect the simplicity that comes with online service options. By making them available, you’ll be able to help your citizens and your staff.