Citizens and Service Channels: Channel Choice and Channel Management Implications

Citizens and Service Channels: Channel Choice and Channel Management Implications

Willem Pieterson (University of Twente, The Netherlands)
Copyright: © 2010 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-931-6.ch014
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The arrival of the electronic channels in the 1990s has had a huge impact on governmental service delivery. The new channels have led to many new opportunities to improve public service delivery, not only in terms of citizen satisfaction, but also in terms of cost reduction for governmental agencies. However, until now these promises of e-government have not been met. Surely, the usage of the electronic channels has skyrocketed in recent years and some organizations do witness cost reductions, but in general the usage of the traditional channels remains high and the costs of introducing and maintaining the electronic channels have merely been additional costs. These observations call for a deeper understanding of the behavior of citizens. Why do citizens choose the channels they use to obtain services? Furthermore, how should knowledge about these behaviors be used to improve governmental multi-channel service strategies and marketing activities? In this chapter the authors will analyze citizens’ channel behavior. They will discuss channel usage and explore the channel choices of citizens. Further, the authors will discuss how these findings may help in improving channel strategies and marketing and thus help in improving citizen satisfaction and reduce cost of governmental service delivery.
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Usually, governmental organizations are seen as “bureaucratic” organizations. This Weberian type of organization focuses on such aspects as departmentalization, specialization, standardization and routinization of the production process (Simon, 1976). Consequence of this focus is that “cost-efficiency” is a central goal of bureaucratic governmental organizations (Tat-Kei Ho, 2002). This primary focus on internal processes and procedures led to a low service orientation in the public sector until the 1970’s. As a consequence, within the public sector, there was little attention for the relationship with its environment; why ask citizens about their needs if you are able to assess those needs yourself?

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