Online reviews of the State Department? You may already have an app for that.
Americans already use a number of popular smartphone apps to rate services, from mechanics and handymen to restaurants. Five-star ratings signify an amazing experience, while one star can mean a mouse in the stew.
And now the U.S. Department of State is in talks with Yelp, a popular online and mobile review site. Soon customers of six passport agencies will be able to rate the services they receive — and receive replies from department staff.
“Consumers are familiar with using Yelp to rate services; we are looking into using this platform to strengthen our operations and provide even better service to the public,” says Kaitlin Turck, global digital engagement adviser at the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs.
It’s about making government more accountable to the people. The public already uses new technology to review national parks, airport security and other U.S. government services. But unlike the cafe down the street, the government has never used Yelp or a competitor to respond, until now. The quest for the elusive five-star rating may prove a key to improving citizen interactions with government, and to improving government services.
Now, the next time you visit the consulate or a national park, take a look: Yelp may be the newest thing on the menu.