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Changing the Government IT Game With Self-Service Portals

This blog post was written in partnership with TeamDynamix.

$22 vs. $2.

That’s what HDI states is the average cost of a support call vs. the cost of self-service.

Many government organizations are discovering that today, in an era of increased citizen services and digital platforms, without a self-service portal, resources are drained due to high call volume that are often repetitive in nature. Yet, many citizens want, and are demanding, the option to find information for themselves, at their convenience and on whatever device they choose.

Does your agency want to reduce bottlenecks and give IT department employees more time to work on high-priority projects? One way to achieve this is to include more self-service options in your client portal. Organizations that optimize client portals for self-service allow users to resolve more IT-related issues on their own with limited or zero involvement from IT staff.

But what needs to happen for a self-service portal to be adopted?  You and your agency should consider the following elements of a self-service portal:


In general, most people would much rather resolve issues themselves instead of submitting a service request and waiting for a response. With the increasing desire for more self-service options, it is essential for those in IT to respond accordingly. Having a well-organized portal with the ability to search for solutions by keywords or tags goes a long way in quickly helping users get the information they need. This could include everything from parking permits to recycling to emergency information. In addition, some municipalities are now using online portals to share details regarding community projects.

Keep it Simple

In government, this can be tricky. But simplicity is key when designing the layout for a client portal. Users should not need to scroll or navigate extensively to find what they are looking for, nor should it take them longer than a few minutes. Outlined information written in understandable, everyday, plain spoken language is essential to encouraging self-service. The Mantanusuka-Susitna school district in Alaska has embraced this concept as they have rolled out a portal for students and parent.

Deploy a Knowledge-Centered Service (KCS)

Inevitably, when discussing self-service, organizations will point to a lack of online information/knowledge base. One of the ways to quickly bolster content is to use knowledge-centered service (KCS), which is essentially a method of crowdsourcing content. By leveraging KCS, new content is created as a byproduct of group problem solving where popular content is reviewed and expanded based on collective experience and knowledge.

Follow WCAG 2.0 / 508 Compliance

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 defines how to make web content more accessible to people with disabilities, and Section 508, an amendment to the United States Workforce Rehabilitation Act of 1973, is a federal law mandating that all electronic and information technology developed, procured, maintained, or used by the federal government be accessible to people with disabilities. It’s critical to follow these set of standards in your self-service portal to make your solution compliant so that a person using software to aide in visual impairment would be able to use your site, so you can serve the largest population possible. It’s also critical to do for legal and financial reasons for your organization; since 2011, at least 142 local governments in the U.S. have been sueddue to website accessibility issues.

Return On Investment (ROI)

Of course, transitioning to a self-service portal does not happen overnight. Such a move requires proper planning, time, and in some cases, new technology. But the ROI potential is there when factoring in the benefits:

  • Reduced service ticket volumes.
  • Enhanced overall user experience.
  • Higher satisfaction throughout the organization.

Self-service may not be the norm in government yet, but it is becoming the expectation. With the increasing desire to “do it yourself,” a self-service portal is essential. Have you taken steps to help users self-serve to resolve their IT needs? Let us know in the comments.

To learn more about creating a modern and accessible self-service portal for your users today, visit TeamDynamix’s site.

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