Online advisory services have become ubiquitous and are playing a more vital role in people’s lives.
From online loan terms exploration to health care eligibility self-assessment, various services are
delivered to clients through online advisory tools. Government agencies in particular are offering such
services to the public. Due to increased awareness that government service delivery should be “citizencentric”,
this study assesses the impact of providing online advisory systems to assist the public. Building
on insights from practice and literature, the study utilizes an experiment to empirically examine the key
role that effective online advisory tools play in generating a sense of empowerment for the general
public. The results of the study reveal that optimized explanation features that suit the cognitive
processes of users and the resultant process transparency are pivotal in differentiating the winners from
the losers in the online government advisory services arena. Furthermore, having effective online
advisory tools empowers individuals, giving them a better sense of control over their future assessment
outcome and better perceived power relationships with the government agency to which they are
beholden. Finally, this service process leads to improved perceptions of the government agencies’
service provider image.