Email Can Be Better — at Least in Cary, North Carolina

In government, there tends to be more data than agencies think to leverage. A case in point — emails. Agencies can easily overlook this voluminous and robust data source right under their noses.

“Traditionally, we had thought of email as a communication tool and [that] that’s all it did. Business happened elsewhere,” said Wes Everett, 311 Manager for the town of Cary, North Carolina.

But that changed once the municipality realized the value of the data living in their staff’s inboxes and integrated it with its customer relation management (CRM) tool.

“The first thing is, people don’t know [of this capability]. It’s important to bring this knowledge, that it can be connected, that it can be easier,” said Gal Steinberg, Vice President of Partnerships and Strategic Alliances at RevenueGrid, a Salesforce customer engagement platform.

Before the integration, Cary staff did not have readily visible information that best served their residents, Everett said at GovLoop’s virtual summit Wednesday. Different employees often responded to the same inquiry multiple times if the resident emailed multiple people, because the team didn’t have visibility into email data. To have these kinds of insights, staff had to manually update their CRM tool. But who has time to manually enter data with everything else on their plates?

The integration of email and its CRM tool transformed the way the municipality served its residents. Now when employees open their inboxes, an accompanying CRM window pops up to provide context to the interaction.

“I know who I’m talking to, if they’ve emailed the same thing before or emailed three other staff members the same thing,” Everett said.

According to Salesforce, 91% of relevant data is missing from CRM tools, Steinberg said.

So, the automation part is key. Manual entry is not only time-consuming but likely to be less accurate and less thorough.

“The decisions we make are generally as good as the data we have. The cleaner that is, the more accurate — the better decisions,” Everett said.

All of these decisions ultimately point toward the purpose of providing better services for people. As Everett said, municipalities like Cary are in the business of serving people.

“It behooves us to understand as much about those people as we possibly can,” Everett said. “As we start to connect the data, we start building our situational awareness. All of those things lead to better-informed decisions. For us, that means better services for our citizens.”

Don’t miss out on other virtual learning opportunities. Pre-register for GovLoop’s remaining 2020 virtual summits today.

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