E-services are services such as applications for government benefits, customer orders for products and class registration provided electronically, often over the Internet. To access e-services, users log on to an interface, set up a profile if they do not already have one, then request the necessary services. Such systems can be more efficient and easier to use than conventional methods for connecting people with services, such as requiring people to come into an office or file paperwork through mail or fax. Both the public and private sectors rely heavily on e-services.
One aspect of e-services is electronic commerce. Companies can create an interface online to allow customers to order products and services at any time, submitting a convenient payment method. The same interface also can provide customer service functions. If a customer needs to return or exchange a product, dispute a charge or work out a problem with the order, he or she can log on to do so. A company representative can evaluate the information that the customer submits and decide how to proceed if the transaction cannot be handled automatically.
Colleges and universities use e-services for their students to cut down on paperwork and make their systems more efficient. Students might be able to register for classes online in addition to taking care of other business matters through a student portal. They can check on financial aid, sign up for counseling, request tutoring assistance and perform many other tasks. Portals also can provide services to the school's faculty and staff. Staff members might be able to do things such as sign up for healthcare plans, for instance, and faculty members can submit grades and reports electronically.
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Government agencies also use e-services to reach citizens. It often is possible to pay taxes and registration fees online in addition to changing addresses and taking care of other tasks. This can cut down on crowding at government offices, because people do not need to come in person to handle basic matters. It also can increase efficiency and allows government employees to focus on more complex tasks that require their personal attention.
Companies that specialize in e-services can provide a basic software package for an agency or company to use. The user can customize the package to meet specific needs with things such as inserting a logo or adding new fields for different activities. It also is possible to request a custom software package for a very specific purpose that cannot be met using generic software. Government agencies, for instance, might have concerns about the privacy of information and might need a more robust program with excellent security.