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Behavioural insights case study: changing channels

We worked with a range of business areas to encourage Victorians to use digital services, rather than phone calls and paper bills.

The problem

Victorians increasingly want to do business online, and government can deliver programs and services at scale efficiently through online service delivery. However, many Victorians are not aware of which government services are available online, so interact with government in traditional ways, such as phone calls and paper bills.

What we did

We have worked with a range of business areas to encourage Victorians to use digital services, including the State Revenue Office and Consumer Affairs Victoria.

Using the behavioural science concept of salience, we worked with the State Revenue Office to run a randomised controlled trial to test the most effective message to encourage land tax payers in Victoria to switch to BPAY View, redesigning the Land Tax Assessment Notice and including a step by step guide to registering for BPAY View when the notices were mailed out.

We also worked with Consumer Affairs Victoria to change the on hold message for the Consumer Affairs Helpline, supporting customers to manage their enquiries through the website where possible. This allows the Helpline to prioritise callers who are unable to self-service through the website as well as complex enquiries that require a personalised response.

What we found

Small changes can have significant impact.

Land Tax Assessment Notice

The inclusion of a BPAY View flyer with the redesigned Land Tax Assessment Notice increased BPAY View registrations by 34%. Although this was from a low base (only 1.63% of Victorian customers previously received their notices electronically), it demonstrates the ability for simple changes to increase uptake of digital services.

This figure illustrates the proportion of customers registered for BPAY View. Only 1.63% of customers who received the control letter registered for BPAY View. On the other hand, 2.18% of customers who received a BPAY View flyer with the redesigned Land Tax Assessment Notice registered for BPAY View. The proportion of customers who registered for BPAY view was significantly higher for customers who received the redesigned flyer compared to customers who received the control letter (p < 0.05).

Transitioning Consumer Affairs Victoria queries to its website

The simplified messaging that encouraged callers to use the Consumer Affairs Victoria website resulted in a significant increase in people leaving their calls, from 11.4% to 17.5%, with corresponding increases in website traffic. The new message has been implemented and is estimated to be moving approximately 13,600 callers from seeking telephone help to the website every year.

This figure represents the proportion of customers leaving phone calls. 11.4% of customers who received the original phone message leaved their phone call. By comparison, 17.5% of customers who received the behaviourally-informed phone message leaved their phone call. This represents a 54% increase in customers moving from seeking help by phone to seeking help on the Consumer Affairs Victoria website. This increase was statistically significant (p < 0.05).

"Since introducing the new message, 70 to 80% of our callers visit the Consumer Affairs Victoria website before contacting us, allowing our staff to focus on more complex questions."

~ Consumer Affairs Victoria

What's next?

Digital channels need to be easy to take up. While our trial with the State Revenue Office significantly increased the proportion of customers using BPAY View, most Victorian land tax payers receive their notices via mail.

There are multiple steps required to sign up for BPAY View, including logging into the separate platform of your online banking. In contrast, the Consumer Affairs Victoria website is a straightforward way for customers to find answers to general queries about consumer matters.

As more and more government services go digital, it will be more important to consider the human factor behind the screen, so that citizens can easily and efficiently make the decisions that best meet their objectives.

Thanks

We thank our partners The State Revenue Office and Consumer Affairs Victoria.

Reviewed 05 July 2019

Contact Us

Behavioural Insights Unit

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