What’s the use of benchmarks…

The full title of this would be – “what’s the use of benchmarks if you don’t change anything?” This is stimulated by a post by Steven Clift on his newswire in response to the latest Pew Internet results.

Steve asks questions about the result to a Pew question, which is:

“Overall, when you have a question, problem, or task that requires contact with your local, state or federal government, which method of contact do you prefer most?…Calling on the phone, visiting in person, writing a letter, visiting a website, sending email [ Q.14 ]

Today              –                         Aug 2003

35% Calling on the phone – 38%

20% Visiting in person – 15%

11% Writing a letter – 15%

10% Visiting a website – 17%

18% Sending email – 9%

1% Some other way (Vol.) – 1%

4% Never contact government (Vol.) – 4%

1% Don’t know – 1%

*% Refused

Note from seven years ago that the most preferred way to contact government has sending an e-mail up 8% and visiting a web site down 7%. Very interesting. So for those governments and elected officials who have deleted their e-mail address from their website and replaced it with only a web form, please take note. Also interesting is a 5% increase in those who prefer to visit government in-person. Must be the free coffee.”

The issue I see with the Pew Internet results is that whilst they show the channel shift, they don’t help to explain it. They show usage of the web site dropping, whilst face-to-face and email increase. Without satisfaction ratings to reinforce the data, I’d assume that this was as a result of web site delivery failure and citizens falling back on email and face-to-face to get a service completed. But, that can only ever be an assumption without some data to support it.

The figures shown are for the USA, which I personally find quite shocking if UK e-government is modelled on that, it potentially shows a near-complete failure of e-government with a drift away from web to existing channels. Email might as well be face-to-face, it requires a lot of manual handling.

I suspect the US need to consider something like the Socitm Customer Access Improvement Service or one of the other channel comparison systems I list in my Company table V8.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: