This blog is an excerpt from GovLoop’s recent guide, “Tech Priorities for a Modern State and Local Government.”
For state and local government, engaging constituents is about creating an experience that meets constituent needs while also allowing agencies to do more with less. As constituent demands increase, state and local agencies should explore customer experience strategies and options to achieve this critical balance.
In an interview with GovLoop, Natalie Fedie, Vice President of Customer Success at Granicus, a leader in government cloud solutions, discussed how state and local governments use customer experience-centered solutions to both deliver better services to constituents while making the jobs of agency staff much easier.
One major challenge for state and local agencies is delivering seamless and integrated services. Often, constituent requests or inquiries are processed through several departments, with multiple employees handling different facets of the same request.
This process makes it especially difficult to track who’s working on the request and ensure consistent responses from the agency to the constituent. “Constituents are served by multiple agencies throughout the state,” Fedie said. “If they had more of a customer-centric view, however, they would be able to deliver better services.”
That’s why Fedie emphasized the importance of streamlined approaches rather than siloes to improve the process for both agency staff and the constituents. In this case, streamlining means more efficient methods to enable employees to deliver quicker and better services. “You can have the best systems in place to provide the best service, because those technologies are available today,” Fedie said. “But, those systems have to connect to provide a streamlined approach to the customer experience so that the customer can access multiple departments, easily, at the same time.”
Customer experience solutions are empowering state and local agencies to turn tedious, cumbersome processes into seamless interactions with constituents. Take processes like setting meeting agendas, for example. Constituents attend meetings with their state and local government representatives to understand issues in their area and voice their most pressing concerns.
But internal waste, like time on manual processes and paper can be inefficient. The tedious processes to print the documents, manage them and help all employees keep track of the documents as well as events in the meeting agendas can take crucial time away from engaging with the constituents. Not to mention so much paper is a waste of the precious few resources state and local agencies have. The City of North Richland Hills, Texas, faced this same predicament in 2015. Like many of its counterparts across the country, the city did many processes, like meetings, manually. Agency staff would place copies of agenda items on a long table in the order in which they were meant to go, spending more time making sure documents were in the correct order.
So in 2015, the city decided to invest in a new strategy to receive and review agendas. Using Granicus’s Meeting and Agenda solutions, the city went from worrying about paper documents for meetings and agendas to enabling every staff member to receive their agenda on their iPads and electronic devices.
Ultimately, the city saved about 12,000 paper sheets per month and saved 18 trees per year by not printing agendas. Additionally, the city saves one full day per meeting in preparation and assembly time.
Solutions like Granicus’ Meeting and Agenda Suite help clerks, board secretaries, agenda coordinators and other government staffers complete their pre and post-meeting process tasks faster and more easily. The software can streamline workflows, promote cross-departmental communication and collaboration and establish meaningful connections with constituents.
With customer experience cloud solutions to support agency personnel in providing quality constituent services, your agency can better: manage your entire legislative process from end to-end; digitally assemble legislation and agenda packets for upcoming meetings; reduce the time spent producing minutes, while livecapturing actions, votes and notes; live-stream public meetings; and save on printing costs and time by digitally delivering public meeting packets instead of manually.
Additionally, Granicus can help your agency walk through your customer service journey to identify areas that need improvement. “When we walk through the customer experiences and their touch points with the agencies, we can actually make the user experience better and then in turn make better operational decisions to streamline the process behind the scenes,” Fedie said.
State and local government needs solutions that enable them to meet constituent needs while allowing staff to do more with less. Customer experience software like Granicus’s Meeting and Agenda Suite can help turn a wasteful, tedious paper process into a seamless, digital interaction with constituents. Ultimately, this results in more informed decision making, a more informed public and a process that produces a happier and more efficient agency.
For more information about how to innovate state and local government, you can find the full guide here.