Rate us: says Human Services

Awesome – or not? Human Services asks customers to rate its digital support products.

The Department of Human Services (DHS) has asked customers who access Centrelink, Medicare and Child Support payments online or with the Express Plus mobile apps to rate its digital support products.

The Department wants customers to use online forum Speechbubble to rate its video guides and screen shots that provide step-by-step advice on tasks such as how to update their assets and income and relationship status or applying for benefits.

Customers are encouraged to suggest ways to improve the Department’s digital support and to suggest other products or features that would make it easier to deal with DHS online.

It is a bold move, considering the flack DHS has copped about its digital offerings in the past, particularly from customers struggling with being locked out from their MyGov accounts and battling with crashing smartphone apps.

Feedback is divided into four categories: product awareness, user experience, improvements and further support.

One of the key issues to emerge from the survey so far is that how-to guides aren’t always easy to find. People were dismayed that they were redirected to YouTube or they had to search for guides, rather than having them available as they completed forms online.

One said: “When I go to complete a task online and don’t know how to complete it – that’s where I want a tutorial on what I’m about to do. The tutorials are great, and having them accessible when you are completing something would be really useful.”

Another said: “I just had a look at your step by step guide – it is great, but do you know that it CANNOT BE FOUND by users on the website? From the request a document screen there is a help link but it doesn’t lead to the step-by-step guide you have just linked to. There is no point having this guide if people can’t find it on the website.”

Some customers wanted user guides to pop up before they started a claim so they knew what to expect before they began.

Customers using the Express Plus mobile app also want these guides to be more accessible.

One said: “It’s annoying to have to go to YouTube or the website on your phone to learn how to use that app. I want to be able to stay in there and do what I need to do all in one go.”

Other suggestions have included using podcasts, infographics and other types of visualisation to convey instructions, and a new brochure to encourage people to download the Express Plus app.

You can find the list of DHS online account guides and video demonstrations here.

The consultation closes at 5pm on Friday September 11 and the Department has pledged to publish comments as they are received.

Many people were keen to contribute to the survey and praised the Department for seeking their feedback, but it will be what the department does with their feedback that is important.

During a 2012 DHS Speechbubble exercise customers were clear about wanting a Live Chat function, which would enable them to speak directly to a staff member in an online text-based discussion.

The DHS said at the time: “We received lots of valuable feedback and suggestions about how we could use Live Chat.

“You told us you would be keen to use this function if it was quick and easy to log in to, and it would be beneficial to be able to quickly receive answers to general enquiries and assistance with online services. You told us that it would be important for you to be able to use this in the evenings and from mobile devices. We expect to begin trialling this feature with some users in late 2012.”

The result? There never was a trial and the function is still not available. DHS has said it is committed to introducing it but no date has been set.

However, DHS said it took notice of other feedback from the 2012 Speechbubble by improving the look and feel of its homepage, making services mobile friendly and designing apps.

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