Spencer Stern, Founder, Stern Consulting
For some time, the increase in two-way communications has conditioned Americans to expect increased responsiveness to their questions and concerns; government must keep pace with this situation.
20 June 2017
Within the past 24 months there has been an unprecedented increase in the functionality offered by Citizen Relationship Management (CRM) systems. CRM software vendors and their partners have been promoting digital citizen engagement to offer citizens a modern, interactive experience. These advances have included the following functionality:
Moving forward, municipalities should expect their CRM platform to deliver the following:
CRM systems are including powerful social media listening and monitoring tools which can be incorporated within their platforms that can enable municipalities to participate, learn, and utilize information gleaned from social channels. By harnessing this information, municipalities can then deliver content to targeted populations and better anticipate citizen needs. This tool is designed to allow cities not to control these social conversations, but rather to participate and understand. Most importantly, social monitoring and listening tools detect and reveal larger trends related to the municipality’s departments, and give them the ability to drill into the message detail to see what’s driving that trend.
The more a municipality can provide a personalized experience for citizens while respecting their privacy preferences and securing their personal information, the more they can enjoy a productive on-line relationship with their citizens. Below are some key components that new CRM applications should be able to deliver to enhance the municipality’s on-line presence:
The most innovative technology that contact centers will soon be experimenting with is AI functionality. Municipalities such as New York City and Los Angeles are looking into using AI devices such as IBM’s Watson and Amazon’s Alexa and Echo to have citizens communicate with to get answers, to get services processed, etc., In these instances, they will not be even interacting with a human. Salesforce.com is building their Einstein project which features AI functionality.
Another area where CRM is spurning innovative ideas is through Internet of Things (IoT) technology. Municipalities deploying IoT technologies can, for example, proactively communicate to a department to change a traffic light before it goes out, or to suggest a repair to a water main prior to it leaking. In addition, sensors can be utilized to adjust street lights based on the time of day and weather. Municipalities should inquire how their CRM vendor is integrating IoT into their CRM road map.
Since a majority of the inquiries that a municipality processes are information only, CRM systems must have robust Knowledge Management (KM) features. Some CRM firms are testing and/or deployed the following advanced KM components:
CRM systems should focus on how municipalities can better engage their citizens. Municipalities should work with their software firm and service provider to start small and not try to bite off more than the municipality can chew regarding citizen engagement. In addition, identify a specific department(s) to act as a test bed to utilize specific tools. For example, some organizations want to get on social media quickly and they may want to launch multiple channels simultaneously such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Snapchat, and Pinterest. That may not the best approach. Organizations should start small, be incremental, and build on their successes.
Another critical success factor with deploying innovative technology is to ensure executive mindshare. Personnel, such as the mayor, CIO, or influential department head, that have an enterprise-wide, executive-level view of the organization, should be kept informed and act as advocates. Securing their support to be a continuous champion of the project will help the initiative move forward.
In summary, the new CRM platform should deliver to citizens the following:
Our mission is to assist public sector agencies in aligning their technology solutions with their business and operational needs. Stern Consulting specializes developing and implementing digital citizen engagement strategies, customer service centers, and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) strategies and software solutions. We identify and support the deployment of innovative approaches for governments to connect with their citizens. Spencer Stern can be reached at 773.965.1650, email@example.com, www.sternconsultinginc.com.
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