Low uptake is one of the largest risks facing government agencies that seek to increase efficiency and reduce costs by providing services online. To date, very few studies have tested interventions to increase citizens' use of e-government services. Instead, almost all existing research has focused on identifying correlates of adoption. In the current study, we developed an intervention to increase citizens' use of an e-government service and tested it using a quasi-experiment. The intervention used several techniques informed by research from the applied behavioural sciences to encourage usage, including: altering defaults (customers who visited a customer service centre were invited to complete a form online rather than joining a queue), providing facilitating conditions (customer support was made available), and promoting the benefits and ease of the online service (a customer service representative and in-store written materials emphasised these points). Results indicated that the intervention significantly increased customers' use of the online service by 14.1 percentage points, 95% CI [9.1, 19.2]. Additionally, a survey of customers who experienced the intervention showed they were highly satisfied and appreciated the time-saving benefits, ease of use, and customer support provided. This study is among the first to provide a rigorous test of an intervention to encourage citizens to use e-government services, and can be used to inform practical efforts to increase e-government uptake.
- Digital services