Digitize Your Services: Stage 5 – Personalize
This post is part 5 of 5 in a series about digitizing government services.
Across all sectors, technology is making our experiences online more personalized. A search for restaurants uses our location to recommend nearby options, our favorite clothing store will suggest the size we usually select, and transportation apps let us save the addresses for where we live and work.
Residents have higher expectations for what they can find and do online, and local governments are working to meet their needs. Constituents want to get things done quickly, with a convenient, personalized experience online, on their phones, or in person. Local government can leverage emerging technologies that allow people to access historical activities while keeping their personal information safe.
Once a local government has digitized all its services, there are several ways to personalize the citizen experience.
Aggregate search data – Use tools like Google Analytics that allow you to see trends in your web visitors’ activities. These insights can allow you to suggest related services that people often look for together, like registering for a parking permit and looking up street cleaning schedules. You may find that people search for some services or information more commonly during a certain time of year. Feature these services more prominently when your data shows it’s peak season.
Location-based suggestions – Allow people to input their zip code to filter for services in their neighborhood. Your content management system likely has a way to tag content. Tag things like alderman offices, voting locations, bus stops, or trash pickup schedules by the zip codes they serve. If your web capabilities are more advanced, you can ask users to opt-in to allow the site to recognize their location automatically each time they visit.
User profiles – Tag your content so that people can filter their searches by a certain attribute — like services for veterans or for business owners. This is a simple way to show people all the benefits they may qualify for, or remind them of necessary permits they may have missed. With more advanced functionality, you can give residents a way to store their profile using a login and password. People will store their information if there’s a benefit to them. For instance, storing credit card data to easily make monthly water bill payments. Or being able to log in and quickly view any commuter delays for the bus routes they’ve stored. For that business owner, they can see prompts to complete a permit application they started earlier, or be notified that this month they qualify for a tax deduction.
The end goal when you digitize your government services should be to deliver those services in a differentiated way to each user group or even household. Through technology you have the ability to understand both behavior (i.e. how constituents want to interact) and individual’s unique profile (i.e. demographics or property ownership). Combine both, and you can be proactive in better serving your constituents.
Also published on Medium.