Translating telephone calls to spreadsheets: Creating data on citizen multichannel behavior through practioners’ involvement

Research output: Journal Article or Conference Article in JournalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Public organizations increasingly seek to digitalize their services, and migrate citizens from traditional communication channels towards digital self-service channels. In Denmark, digital communication and self-service channels are mandatory for public organizations, citizens and businesses. Denmark has the highest share of citizens who use digital channels to interact with public authorities in the EU. However, the use of traditional channels remains high, and occurs among adopters and non-adopters of digital channels alike. Within the multichannel management stream of e-government research, there is a methodological gap in how knowledge can be generated on citizen multichannel behavior, and why citizens continue to use traditional channels. Practitioners need this knowledge to improve administrative efficiency and citizens’ satisfaction with digital services. Therefore, this paper presents a study of how scholars, practitioners, and caseworkers collaborated to generate data on citizen multichannel behavior. The study occurred in the public authority Udbetaling Danmark, where caseworkers periodically use an IT system to log incoming calls. First, a draft version of a classification scheme was created from co-listening to calls and contextual interviews with citizens. To ensure engagement and a common understanding of the classification categories, the scheme was co-developed with caseworkers in three iterations. Observations, joint discussions and interviews were used to uncover problems related to caseworkers’ understanding of the scheme, and identify technical and practical problems related to its use. With the new classification scheme, the share of logged calls increased from 10 - 50 percent to 90 - 95 percent. Moreover, the collaboration led to a closer understanding of citizens’ problems among the involved actors and a willingness for future collaboration to improve the services. This paper contributes to the multichannel management field of e-government and to practitioners by presenting a method for how knowledge can be generated on citizen multichannel behavior in collaboration with caseworkers.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3
JournalElectronic Journal of e-Government
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)106-118
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2018


  • multichannel management, citizen multichannel behavior, action research, collaboration; caseworkers, Udbetaling Danmark


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