From shopping to entertainment, the business world has crafted engaging consumer experiences. Businesses that successfully draw their customers in are rewarded by sales and profits. However, governments have been slow to adopt technology-based solutions which engage their citizenry. What would happen if governments approached their citizens the same way that businesses approached their customers? Engaged citizens are more productive, produce more vibrant communities, and solidify the legitimacy of their governments. By embracing three e-government initiatives, public bodies can improve citizen engagement. 

By offering services online

Waiting in line at a government office is inconvenient for citizens and increases administrative budgets. Secure websites are simple to build and can save citizen time and reduce administrative overhead. Departments and agencies can start by moving documents, contact directories, announcements, and calendars online. Over time, they can add interactive feedback forms and automated services. 

The next step is to build mobile apps around key services. Agencies typically start with document libraries and popular processes. With an integrated feedback feature, officials will receive real-time information about the impact of their services. Apps can help government offices improve engagement by removing the physical hurdles between the government and its citizens.

By developing a comprehensive communications strategy

Citizens will most likely be interested in a useful government app, and once it is installed on their mobile device, government agencies have a direct line to the citizens. This makes it easy to send out notifications, and requests. When these messages have a comprehensive communications strategy behind them government officials can greatly increase citizen engagement. For example, adding a push notification system which alerts citizens of road shutdowns, emergency areas, new public space openings, and other events will make an app invaluable.

By tracking the right metrics

Mobile applications can be used to retrieve valuable data regarding various engagement initiatives. By tracking metrics such as retention, bounce rate, app engagement and others, your office will be able to iteratively improve the effectiveness of your communication and engagement strategy. There are also data points that are correlated, but outside of your mobile app. For example, you can check the attendance rate of events announced through the app, compared to the attendance rate of events that were advertised through other means. Tracking the results of your efforts in this way will help you know exactly where you stand in regards to the citizenry, and it will help keep up your team’s morale as they see improvements in various metrics.

This is just the beginning of e-governance. There are new use cases every day being developed by creative officials around the world to improve their services to their constituencies. And with the rise of distributed ledger technologies (aka, blockchain), there as an enthusiasm in e-government application development that we have not seen since the advent of accessible mobile devices. As both a pioneer and leader in e-government services, we are confident that software is one of the most affordable and effective ways to improve citizen engagement.

Siddharth Chattopadhyay

Author Siddharth Chattopadhyay

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