Government Online Payments – 7 Tactics to Drive Citizen Adoption

Government online payments enable citizens to pay bills online securely using a credit card. Whether a citizen needs to pay for his or her property taxes, utility bills, recreation fees, parking tickets, animal license fees or any other government fees, an online payment system will securely process the transaction and route the payment to the appropriate receivables account. Online payments allow cities and counties to better serve citizens by extending services hours, reducing wait times, and eliminating the hassles and lost time due to driving, finding the correct department and waiting in line. Citizens and businesses can simply log on to their government’s Web site from any Internet-enabled computer when and where they want and pay their bills.

Online payments are an extension of your “front-counter, full-service” offering. Once you have an online payment system in place, it’s important to drive adoption of the system with citizens. Here are a few tips to help you spread the word and increase your online payment transactions:

Build Awareness Through integrated campaigns that promote the benefits of the online payment service, you’ll be sure to create awareness throughout your community.

1. Market. Include information about the online payment option on your website, in direct mail campaigns, on all government collateral, on receipts, in recreation program brochures, on email signatures, written out on posters on the wall, and even in newsletters and e-mail messages to citizens.

2. Publicize. Announcing the news to your local media, newspapers, radio and TV stations can help your citizens understand the convenience, ease, time and travel savings they will experience using the online payment system.

3. Promote Online. You can also drive fast adoption by offering online incentives and even raffles or drawings for the first few citizens who make a payment online. Just make sure your “pay online” Web site button or link is highly visible on every page of your website.

Educate Get everyone excited about the new convenient service as quickly as possible. Citizens can lose their motivation if they feel your online services are too difficult to use. Make sure you and your staff are comfortable going through the online processes so you can answer any questions that citizens may have.

4. Offer Resources. Create a “FAQs” (Frequently Asked Questions) and/or “Step-by-Step Instructions” page on your website so that citizens can reference these resource guides while they’re using the system.

5. Train. A great training tool for participants is an attractive kiosk in an area where you’ll see high foot traffic (e.g. the city hall entrance lobby). You’ll want to have a computer with Internet access and a staff member who’s excited about online services and who is able to give a thorough demonstration on the online payment system.

6. Provide Self-Service Options. You can also have a kiosk set up on high traffic days to help alleviate long lines. online payment software Citizens tend to be more motivated to pay online when they see a long wait as the other alternative.

7. Include Online Payments in Your Overall Customer Service Strategy. Many governments have implemented a citizen request management system or non-emergency 311 contact centers. The call center agents should be enabled to guide a constituent through the online payment process, or as an alternative, is able to take the payment directly over the phone.

Once citizens are aware of the new government online payment system and understand not only how to use it, but the many benefits of paying online, you should see the lines in your government offices start to shrink. Just keep in mind that the best way to drive citizen adoption of any new service is through awareness and education.

I hope you find these tips useful in spreading the word about the many innovative things your local government is doing to benefit your citizens.

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