E-gov, e-learning, and e-commerce are just a few of the many “e-services” that are overtaking the economy.
The global marketplace, as many business professionals know, is undergoing rapid digital transformation.
One consequence of this global digitalization is the development of online services, or e-services.
In this article, we’ll learn why e-services are the future and why business leaders must act fast in order to keep up.
E-Gov, E-Learning, E-Commerce, & More: An E-Service FAQ
To better understand what e-services are and why they matter, let’s look at a few of the most frequently asked questions (FAQ) about online services.
What are e-services?
E-services, or electronic services, refers to a the use of digital technology to provide services and solutions online.
E-commerce (or “ecommerce”) is one of the most well-known examples – customers can shop, order goods, and receive customer service directly online.
However, customers are not the only ones who can receive services.
Governments can provide electronic services to citizens, schools can teach students online, and employers can onboard and train employees remotely.
Why are e-services becoming so popular?
The adoption of e-services is being driven by a number of factors, such as:
- The digital revolution. Digital technology is continuing to advance, and as it advances, so too do online capabilities. Since the private sector has been the source of digital innovation, it is only natural that areas such as ecommerce flourished first. However, e-services are quickly spreading to other sectors, such as finance and government.
- The COVID-19 pandemic. Early in 2020, organizations around the world implemented mass telecommuting policies. Working from home (WFH) became the norm, driving the adoption of a wide range of e-services, from remote customer care to remote employee training.
- Customer preferences. Many customers also prefer the adoption of digital services and solutions, since they are more convenient and less costly. It is easier, for instance, to perform product research and shop directly from one’s mobile device than it is to drive and shop in a store.
Though customers preferences are driving innovation and the adoption of ecommerce and remote customer care, those same preferences are fueling the adoption of e-services in other industries as well.
Which industries will adopt e-services?
Today, many other industries, institutions, and sectors are adopting e-services.
In the near future, we can expect to see more digital services.
- Digital banking allows customers to make payments and transactions remotely
- E-gov solutions allow governments to provide public services to its citizens online
- E-learning gives students an opportunity to receive an education over the internet
- Remote employee training, through tools such as digital adoption platforms (DAPs), allows employees to learn work skills remotely
- Telehealth and telemedicine focus on treating patients online, through technologies such as remote monitoring and even remote surgery tools
Since people often prefer to use digital services, organizational leaders should pay close attention to e-services within their own industry and be ready to offer it as soon as possible.
Why are e-services so important?
In the private sector, good user experiences are a competitive differentiator.
That is, good user experiences improve customer loyalty, longevity, and value.
This explains why e-services have exploded in the commercial sector, and it also explains why they have lagged in other areas, such as government – after all, governments have no need to differentiate themselves from competitors, so there are few compelling reasons to rush forward with e-gov programs.
Yet organizations can reap rewards by offering e-services, such as:
- Expediency. Online services are faster, which saves time for an organization’s employees and the organization as a whole.
- Cost-savings. Savings come not only from time, but also from overhead – online services cost less that on-site services, since there is no need to pay for, for instance, facilities costs.
- Security. Though many people rightfully worry about online security, it is important to note that analog processes also suffer from security flaws. The more that IT advances, the more secure online technology becomes, opening the way for many new processes, from online banking to digital voting.
Of course, it is also worth noting that e-services do have limitations and should not be implemented indiscriminately.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, for instance, many students were dissatisfied with their schools’ online teaching efforts and, in some cases, even sued their schools.
This particular instance may suggest that many students prefer on-site learning to remote learning. But it may also indicate that educational institutions simply weren’t able to offer great online learning experiences – and that more improvements need to be made.
How can organizations get started with e-services?
When assessing the state of e-services within one’s own sector, it is important to consider several areas, including:
- Customer expectations and behavior
- Government regulations
- Security and safety concerns
- Technological capabilities
The right strategy can help organizations offer e-services quickly and efficiently, while also reaping many of the benefits covered above, from cost savings to an improved user experience.