CTIT Universiteit Twente
Centre for e-Government Studies

2008-02 The use of service channels by citizens in the Netherlands

February 2008: Article International Review of Administrative Sciences

This month an article of Willem Pieterson and Wolfgang Ebbers will be published in the journal International review of Administrative Sciences. The title of this article is 'The use of service channels by citizens in the Netherlands: implications for multi-channel management '.

Abstract of the article:

Many governmental organizations are changing their service channel management strategies to multi-channel management. However, very few empirical studies exist that explore how these multi-channel strategies should be shaped. In this article we test a number of hypotheses on citizens' channel use behaviour and the determinants of this behaviour. Further, we take into account the differences between citizens with and without a personal computer. In our conclusions we call for multi-channel strategies that do not only incorporate the features of service channels and the front—back office integration, but also deal with personal characteristics and task characteristics. Further, digital divide issues still influence channel usage by citizens, so it is necessary to keep all channels open for citizens. Finally, our study reveals that multi-channelling is a very complex subject on which research is still in its infancy.

Points for practitioners

• Multi-channel management may benefit most from channel integration.
• Channels have different characteristics that render them suitable for different (parts of) services.
• Computer `have-nots' still rely on traditional service channels, so these should remain accessible.

Reference:

Pieterson, W. & Ebbers, W. (2008). The use of service channels by citizens in the Netherlands: implications for multi-channel management. International review of Administrative Sciences, 74(1), pp.95-110.