An Introduction to Government Use of SMS
How it’s going to go • Why SMS? • What the Introduction is and what it isn’t • Case studies • Lessons learnt • Where to from here?
First, a caveat: Think first about a problem you have that you need to solve. Then consider if SMS may provide a solution to. Don’t jump on the SMS bandwagon just because it is new(ish) and shiny.
Why SMS? • 90% of people in NZ own a cell phone • SMS can be used for communication AND service delivery • Plenty of corporations are doing it, so it is an entrenched part of society • There is buzz around 3G, iPhones, mobile internet and so on but SMS is holding strong
About the Introduction • It is a collection of case studies and some lessons learnt • It is meant to be a starting place for agencies considering SMS • It is not a definitive guide to everything you need to know, nor is it law
Case Studies In this talk I’m not going to go into great detail, but the Introduction isn’t signed off yet, and Chatham House rule apply.
Four case studies: • MED • Immigration NZ • Collections • Electoral Enrolment Centre
TXTB4UBUY (the MED) • People can text in the number plate of a second-hand car before they buy it, to check if there are any unpaid fines or the like on the car. • On average, in 2008 there were 2500 text inquiries per month. • Having the search available via text message makes it accessible when people need it the most – when they’re in car yards.
Immigration New Zealand (Department of Labour) • SMS updates on work permit status • Reduces calls to call-centre = great value for money • Potential to mine data further • They have had overwhelmingly good feedback from the scheme
Collections (The Ministry of Justice) • Collections Wellington ran a pilot scheme using text-messaging to contact people to remind them that they were due in court the next day. • Attendance rates have risen from 60% to a 90% attendance rate. • SMS is a non-intrusive way of contacting people
Electoral enrolment centre • Since 2002 the EEC have let people request enrolment packs via SMS. • They receive a large response – 124,000 before 2008 election • 37% of people who signed up for the electoral roll in the last six months before the 2008 election requested an enrolment form by text. • The service is free to users with EEC paying the text costs
What agencies thought were the best things about SMS • Improved service delivery (really good feedback) • Efficient one-way communications channel • People have their cellphones with them, immediacy of messaging • Large audience, most people text • People who may not have landlines will still often have cellphones • Non-intrusive
Lessons learnt: SMS is exactly that – a short message
Protecting the authenticity of text messages from the government is vital
SMS services are sometimes delayed and may not be ideal for time-critical messages
Paid services delivered via SMS can be charged to the customer easily
Consider your customer’s preference for how they would like to be contacted
The SMS service may need to be promoted and customers may need to opt-in
The use of SMS by a government agency may have an impact beyond the team it emerges from
Where to next? 1. Read it! 2. Share your own experiences! 3. Talk to Victoria University about it! 4. Report back to groups like this!
Read it – just as soon as it’s finished The Introduction to Government Use of SMS will be available soon at these locations near you:
Introduction to Government Use of SMS available from: • The Participation Wiki: http://wiki.participation.e.govt.nz/wiki/Main_Page
Introduction to Government Use of SMS available from: • The E-Initiatives Wiki http://initiatives.e.govt.nz/wiki/E-initiatives What is the e-initiatives wiki? This site is a library of interesting projects across the New Zealand Public Sector that you can edit. What is an e-initiative? Any project across Government, often involving some kind of information and communications technology.
Introduction to Government Use of SMS available from: • Web Standards Wiki http://webstandards.govt.nz/index.php/Home_page The New Zealand Government Web Standards and Recommendations aim to help government make well-designed web sites that enable access regardless of disability, web browser, mobile device, or connection speed.
Introduction to Government Use of SMS available from: • Me! email@example.com I’m also happy to meet with you to discuss the Introduction in greater depth. As long as you contact me before June 30, that is.
Victoria University Research Effective Electronic Records Management in the 21st Century The project is led by Professor Miriam Lips with research activities by Anita Rapson and Tony Hooper. Anita.Rapson@vuw.ac.nz