1 Understand how and why people use your service by:

  • mapping the end-to-end user journey of those who currently use your services via offline channels
  • identifying what it is in the offline process that makes it more convenient for service users to continue to use your service this way
  • identifying the benefits that using the digital service will offer (these might include convenience, speed, reduced cost etc)
  • identifying the barriers that stop your users from wanting to use your digital service (what must you convince them about?)
  • knowing which intermediaries your users trust to give them information / reassurance about the service

2 Get users to try digital for the first time by:

  • identifying the (offline and online) ways that your service is currently promoted to first time users, and promoting the digital service through those channels
  • training frontline staff on how to make current users of offline channels aware of your digital service and its advantages, and encourage users to try the service for the first time
  • training and supporting your delivery partners in providing practical support to first time users of your service
  • identifying all your delivery partners and making sure that at every point of contact (between them and your users) they inform users about the digital option in a positive way

3 Communicate effectively by:

  • working out the benefits that each of your potential user groups would gain from transacting digitally:
    • use insight data to test out what appeals and what messages work best for each user group your UX team will be able to help with this
  • making sure that all delivery partners are aware of the benefits and can promote them to the user group(s) they meet
  • being aware of any perceived barriers, amongst your user groups or delivery partners, to using your digital service:
    • develop a set of ‘myth busters’ for these barriers and communicate these to both partners and users
  • providing information about the new digital service and its benefits via both digital and nondigital channels
  • making it easy to get to your digital service – e.g. create a memorable URL that goes straight to the service, not just to a home page
  • incorporating the memorable URL into all your publicity, e.g. letters, email footers, hard and soft copy, out of hours phone messages, etc – put phone numbers and physical addresses in less prominent places in any communications
  • getting information on your digital service into partner publications / websites that your target users might go to for other reasons
  • checking if the information about your service and guidance for using it is set out in jargon free language that your users find comprehensible – be sure to user test it

4 Manage staff and partner engagement by:

  • being fully aware of the organisations and intermediaries that currently direct people to, or assist users with, using your services
  • identifying the benefits of the digital service for your delivery partners and highlighting these in your engagement them with them
  • making sure that these organisations and intermediaries are aware of the digital channels available for accessing your service, and are convinced of the benefits to the user
  • mapping all the offline customer journeys for your service and identifying every ‘touch point’ i.e. through whom, how and where its accessed
  • making sure that all touch points are being used to promote digital i.e. frontline staff, partner organisations, voluntary groups, etc
  • making sure that staff and partners are familiar with the service through prior demos and help with digital transactions – you need to train staff well, so that they can help users and don’t lead them back to more traditional channels
  • handling change with sensitivity – incorporate early engagement with staff and unions into your plans, as well as planning staffing adjustments due to channel shift to avoid future disruption

5 Reward digital users by:

  • investigating whether you can offer extra advantages or benefits if people use services digitally, such as:
    • charging users less for digital transactions
    • extending submission deadlines (e.g. Self-Assessment tax returns)
    • providing additional service features, such as application progress tracking, and text reminders of deadlines. Implementing this approach will require the cooperation of your department’s Information Assurance team, so it’s important to engage them early

6 Overcome legislative barriers by:

  • identifying potential legal barriers to digital take-up (e.g. data sharing restrictions, requirements for wet signatures) and develop a plan to resolve them
  • discussing these with your policy team to work out non bureaucratic solutions

7 Identify and minimise security risks by:

  • setting out the steps you have taken to protect your users from fraud and inappropriate data sharing – in plain English
  • taking necessary steps to educate users about your services and procedures so you can reduce their risk of being susceptible to scams and phishing activity
  • making sure that your department’s SPOC is aware of your service and is helping for your service users appropriately:
    • every department with transactions used by individuals (as opposed to businesses) should have a single point of contact (SPOC) that coordinates the investigation and resolution of end users’ reports about scams or phishing activity

8 Identify users’ triggers for using non-digital channels and satisfy these needs through your digital service by:

  • limiting the need for your users to revert to nondigital channels (e.g. phoning or face-to-face) to do things such as checking the progress of their application e.g. does your digital service acknowledge successfully completed applications and provide reference number, so their progress can be tracked online?

9 Track and measure channel shift by:

  • getting access to usage levels data, so you can make useful comparisons against a task carried out in 2 different ways, e.g. number of registration requests completed via offline channels as well as via your digital service
  • determining how much each transaction costs, through each channel, when accessed by your users – lumping together the cost per transaction for all your offline channels makes it harder to understand how usage is changing and its cost implications for your service
  • setting the right metrics for measuring digital take-up
  • measuring the number of calls that your users are making to your call centre in relation to problems related to your digital service
  • putting a process in place for monitoring the savings that comes from channel shift

10 Set your channel shift targets by:

  • having sufficient demographic information about your user base, so you can set ambitious and achievable targets for channel shift
  • considering projected savings from digital service provision and determining targets of graduated levels of digital take-up across your digital services (both existing and new or recently redesigned)

Finally, what not to do

Your digital take-up will not be as successful if you:

  • have unstructured routes into your service (e.g. email – online forms are much better)
  • make other channels easier (e.g. prepopulating paper forms but not online ones)
  • request unnecessary information
  • unquestioningly maintain service standards for traditional channels; review them once your digital service is up and running
  • enter into outsourcing contracts which discourage providers from promoting channel shift (e.g. paying per call handled)