Web mangers are saving upwards of £44million a month for their councils

I want to ask you all a simple question.
When confronted with an individual, either face to face or via the phone, how many times, when asked, have you said their service is bad?

And now another simple question.
When provided with an on-line questionnaire, anonymised at that, asking the same question, how many of you have rated the service poorly?

Lastly, how many of us talk to the recorded customer service voice in a disparaging manner only to be charming to the human who finally answers, even if you have been waiting for 20 minutes?

The British are inherently civil and have no great desire to be confrontational or rude so when talking to an individual we are going to say nicer things than in reply to a machine. It stands to reason. At least to most of us but not it seems to Socitm.

Socitm compare the amount of satisfactory responses they get face to face or on the phone directly with those derived from ticking boxes. These are not apples compared with apples. And yet from this they suggest users are far more unhappy with the web performance than the other two. And even more staggering is they extrapolate this result using it to suggest LG web sites are costing the tax payer £11 million a month! What!

The oversimplification is breathtaking. Lincolnshire County Council for example has a box on every page of their web site asking if the client found what they wanted. Responses like “Your web site is crap because you don’t have any jobs I like.” are not unusual. Would they make such an inane comment to a real person? Of course not. This speaks volumes of the comparison made by Socitm but even more of the type of question the web site is asked. Not to mention the ability of a human respondent to clarify the questions so as to provide a better answer. Web sites don’t have that flexibility and have to respond to the questions as asked – no matter how badly phrased.

This is not to say local government web sites are perfect. Far from it but neither do they deserve the headline grabbing trite comments recently emanating from Socitm.

Let me just hold the mirror up to their recent comment…
Firstly to draw out £11million losses per month from such vague data is laughable. That said there is of course no benefit to Socitm of saying that nearly 80% of visitors actually “find” what they want – thereby saving some £44million per month (which is of course the corollary of their quote). No, better to tub thump about how bad local government is in order to drive the sheep towards their fold.

What a great quote that would be for us wouldn’t it. “Web mangers are saving upwards of £44million a month for their councils”. And if we use Socitm’s figures, that is precisely what they have proven.

Good news sells no services for Socitm – so don’t expect any. Instead self serving constructs seem the order of the day in the Socitm press office.

You believe what you like. £11million a month losses quoted by Socitm on one hand or “over half billion pounds a year savings are made by local government web sites” proven by those same figures on the other.

Better connected is going to be fun based on this I suspect.

For another view on just how much we – the web site managers- save the councils take a look here…
http://thewaistline.blogspot.com/2009/07 …

Also posted on PSF


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