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[Infographic] The Hierarchy of Needs: Citizen Experience in the Public Sector

by iperceptions, on Jun 23, 2016

This is the third blog post in a series that explores the meaning of the digital citizen experience. In my first blog post, I looked at What is the Citizen Experience in the 21st Century?, the second posts presents The Metrics you need to Improve the Citizen Experience. In this post, I will outline The Hierarchy of Needs: Citizen Experience in the Public Sector.

In my previous blog posts of this series, I have highlighted that public satisfaction tends to improve when governments provide citizens with world-class digital services. 

To expand on this concept, I want to put forward a model that demonstrates the link between experience analytics and the user experience.  This model specifically examines the importance of measuring the quality and effectiveness of citizen interactions. And, by doing so can offer legitimacy and accountability to the services governments provide.  

I choose Mazlow’s Hierarchy of Needs as an analogy for user experience and analytics exploration. This is because just like the needs of the human psyche, the digital citizen’s experience has needs or levels of attainment as well.  So let’s explore the infographic: “The Hierarchy of Needs: Citizen Experience in the Public Sector”.

citizen experience

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Data-driven strategies enhance citizen engagement

Open data and improved analytics are at the forefront of federal, state and local government efforts to improve levels of public engagement, according to a survey from GovDelivery, a digital communications firm. Approximately half the respondents (51 percent) reported their agencies had plans to increase digital engagement with citizens. 

Sixty-six percent of respondents said their organizations already used analytics to track web traffic. Email is highlighted as the most effective channel for engaging visitors in the public sector because it is used to keep visitors informed while encouraging them to take advantage of online services and resources. Direct and repeated options for audiences to sign up to receive new web content is, according to the report, the best way of driving traffic. 

Increasingly, governments' eyes have opened to the possibility of improving effectiveness through public engagement - thanks to open government initiatives. Leveraging analytics, such as the Voice of the Customer with web analytics and other measures, gives governments personalized, relevant and outcome-focused interactions with users. This allows governments to optimize and streamline services and take the citizen experience to the next level. 


The path to high engagement

Government organizations striving to build the ultimate citizen experience must first push past the limited engagement of lesser interactions. At lower levels of citizen experience with the public sector, users are simply glad to have a functioning system. Processes are neither fully effective nor intuitive but may allow for basic measuring and monitoring.

To improve beyond just partial engagement, where citizens view government resources as accessible, useful and transparent but still non-essential, institutions must implement engagement strategies and make assumptions on the data that they collect. According to Government Technology, these strategies include easy-to-use platforms for quickly retrieving data, empowering citizens to provide insights into the decision-making process and developing a fuller communications plan via email, social media, advertisements and in-person informational events.

Reaching full engagement with citizens digitally demands advanced exploration of the citizen experience through structured research and predictive analytics. At full engagement, government services aren't just helpful and user friendly, but also a key part of the citizen engagement with the public sector.  This is because governments are using their data to prioritize areas of the digital experience that need optimization and improvements, helping increase user satisfaction which leads to greater engagement. 

Beyond full engagement lies the possibility of high engagement, a form of self-actualization, in which the government experience is so great that citizens feel compelled to proactively engage with governance. At this pinnacle of engagement, governments use citizen insights to tailor experiences to individual users in real-time using features and tools such as login Government as a Serviced Platform (GaaSP), community forums, live chat, dynamic FAQ systems and retargeting. This is only the beginning to the type of use cases that governments could deploy to personalize the experience of users in a cost effective and meaningful way.


Where do you fit in the engagement hierarchy?

When it comes to measuring citizen experiences governments are at the “start-line” and Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs provides an interesting parallel to the citizen experience – it provides a range of excellence – based on the needs of an actual person. The modern citizen wants more than forced engagement with their governments, they want the ability or at least the opportunity to be engaged and feel like they can make a difference.

From just having an online presence governments’ can make a commitment to strive for different spectrums of citizen experience analytics. From basic measurement and engagement right through to prediction and personalization. 

I would love to hear how your journey is going either as citizen or a public servant and where you feel your government fits in the citizen experience spectrum.


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