It’s Okay, Your Constituents Don’t Want to Engage With You In Person Either

In today’s digital age, people are increasingly not only comfortable handling administrative tasks online, they actually demand it. The millennial generation in particular grew up accustomed to banking online, paying bills online, doing their taxes online, and even dating online. So it’s only natural that they expect to interact with their local governments online. Let’s take a deeper look at why citizens might prefer to handle things like making government related payments online rather than in person.

People Aren’t Able to Physically Go to Court

Did you know that for many people it is very challenging to make it to the courthouse? These individuals, like most of us, have demands and obligations in their daily lives that cannot be ignored. Being required to come to the courthouse for minor court-related issues can add unnecessary financial and physical stress especially for those who:

  1. Hold a Demanding Job
  2. Are a Full-Time Parent
  3. Live at Distance (Outside of the Jurisdiction)
  4. Are a Full-Time Student
  5. Serve in the Military
  6. Have a Disability

Courts should be cognizant of these challenges for their constituents and where applicable invest in technology that gives people in these types of situations more options to satisfy the court. For example, offering easy self-service through online technology can enable courts to be “open for business” 24/7 from anywhere in the world. Also, technology can automate and streamline many processes that do not need to take place in person thus giving these individuals a better way to engage with courts.

Courthouses are Scary

Let’s be honest, for the average citizen courthouses are often intimidating especially when it is their first time being in one. Courthouses are designed to be imposing structures meant to instill a sense of awe and reverence. Even the Judges wear all black and sit elevated as to demand respect and order. In addition, litigants who cannot afford to benefit from legal counsel are understandably nervous and often unprepared. So what does this means for the court? People who are scared due to the stigma around courthouses are less likely to pay fines and fees on time or to show up for court dates. In both scenarios, the court is stuck spending more time and money to close these types of minor cases.

Courts can improve collections and reduce time spent closing cases by offering an alternative for physically coming to court to satisfy a judgment, fine, or fee. Through careful integration and implementation of your rules and workflows, technology can create greater efficiency in some routine activities such as collecting court fines and fees. Those who are intimidated to come into the court in person to pay can now do so from the convenience and comfort of their home.

Smartphones are Changing the Way People Engage

Twenty years ago smartphones didn’t exist and since this time a lot has changed. In today’s world, we cannot even remember the last time that went a whole day without using our smartphone. Smart devices and mobile internet are changing the way we do things and how we connect with other people. According to recent studies, people spend an average of 3 hours and 40 minutes on their mobile devices daily and that amount of time doesn’t include phone calls. In fact, people on average check their phones every 6.5 minutes. In a recent survey, 93% of millennials reported that their smartphone was “definitely more important” than their deodorant or toothbrush.

So does this mean that the courts need to be mobile friendly? YES. People no longer want to come into the courthouse to handle routine proceedings. The landscape has changed, and people expect to be able to access case information and to satisfy minor judgments (including fines and fees) from the convenience of their mobile devices. Now is the time to start investing in mobile technology, and if you court cannot afford it at this time, no sweat. There are many partners willing to give away free mobile technology in a “User Funded” model that is cost-free to the courts.

About Gordon Lucas

Gordon manages the day to day operations for FivePoint Payments and helps ensure on-time product delivery, data analysis and seamless integrations. His ability to navigate both the technical and financial components of our products is critical to the success of the company.

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