Candi Harrison replied to the topic Are Citizens EVER Happy With Government? How Do You Know? in the forum Leadership, Management, Supervision 7 years, 6 months ago
I think customers are “happy” when they can do what they came to do, as fast and easily as possible. They may not like the result – if they’re paying a traffic ticket online or discover that they really don’t qualify for that program, they probably wouldn’t say they were “happy.” But I know I’m happy with a government website when I can find what I need, get it done quickly and easily (understanding what I’m supposed to do the first time I read it), and leave. And I may never come back (if it’s that ticket-paying thing, let’s hope not!). But that’s OK.
There are lots of metrics that can help an agency figure out how it’s doing. But they aren’t all equal. You have to be oh-so-careful how you interpret them (and how your bosses interpret them). You may have 6 million people visiting your website every month. But if most of them can’t find what they want or complete the task that brought them there, you’re not making your customers “happy.” Your visitors might average 5 page views per visit. But is that good or bad? What if they were jumping from page to page because they couldn’t find what they wanted?
In my experience (and I was a late convert), the most important measures of success are usability data: how long does it take customers to find what they want? How long does it take them to complete the task? Did they get the right answer/outcome? If they had problems finding/completing the task, were they able to find help? And then how much did you improve those numbers by making improvements, in the past year?
I think citizens would be happy with government if you could show them data that says you reduced the amount of time it takes them to find and use government services and increased the successful completion rate. And if they get stuck along the way, there’s help (preferably human) available immediately. Amen.
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