Taking a Client-Centered Approach to Product Development

Written by Cari Tate

Read how early feedback can support innovation in citizen engagement technology development.

Introducing Conversations 

A Multi-Channel Communications Tool from SeeClickFix

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It is 1 p.m., and Danielle is just wrapping up a press briefing following this morning’s announcement on the latest budget allocations. She has not had time for lunch yet but is busy prepping for the next meeting with the Information Technology Director to review proposals from website design and development vendors. Just before the meeting, she quickly skims her inboxes and notices several requests for more information on the upcoming annual small business fair, as well as reports of illegally parked cars, overflowing trash, and more. As the public information officer in her town, Danielle is often the first point of contact for citizens. She reviews and responds to messages and relies on her colleagues to help resolve any issues. In between meetings, public appearances, and the day-to-day work, keeping up with incoming messages from each of the town’s social media profiles, three different inboxes, four different voicemail boxes, and now even a dedicated phone line that accepts texts can be difficult and time-consuming.  

Danielle wants to be both timely, informative, and personable in her responses to citizens, but with so many other critical priorities, staying on top of each message and getting requests into the hands of the appropriate department or staff members is nearly impossible. 

Taking a Client-Centered Approach  

According to the U.S. Digital Services Playbook, one of the key principles in user-friendly web and software design is to leverage user feedback to inform product strategy and design. Understanding our client’s pain points, especially how they manage and build citizen relationships, and how we can help solve them has made SeeClickFix an essential tool for citizens, public works, and local government leaders. SeeClickFix is helping local government service leaders like Danielle save time, improve administrative efficiency, and support citizens with Conversations, our multi-channel communications tool.

To ensure Conversations include the critical features and functionality that you need to achieve your community’s citizen engagement and public service needs, we partnered with a group of clients as part of our Alpha Testing phase before the product release to identify their business requirements and expectations for best-in-class functionality.  

What Our Alpha Testers are Saying About Conversations 

Our standard Alpha Testing phase focuses on how the initial design and functionality of a product or feature align with our clients’ day-to-day workflows, needs, and expectations.  

Our Alpha testing group used Conversations in a series of standard call-taking scenarios in a sandbox environment to simulate their daily workflows and routines managing citizen communications. They explored the ins and outs of fielding inbound citizen messages, internal triage, and processes and identified ways to start measuring citizen engagement.  

Our Alpha testers provided invaluable feedback and insight that helped shape our upcoming launch of SeeClickFix Conversations: 

  • Our testers liked having a simplified option for communicating with citizens on a one-to-one basis. In addition, personalizing messages can help build a positive and engaging relationship with the community.  
  • Testers immediately saw the potential to expand service coverage by using a hybrid in-person and digital model. Solutions such as templated messages, integration with CivicPlus Chatbot*, and other messaging tools can help answer citizen’s questions or provide processes if the issue needs to be escalated. 
  • Escalation can also mean taking an initial message and transforming it into a service request for the Public Works team. This connection can help move issues along the service queue, resulting in more efficient service delivery 
  • Enhanced filtering and sorting by channel or by message tag helps keep messages organized and can provide more context for individual departments or teams 
  • The importance of documenting both messages and replies to an individual citizen record for both historical analyses, as well as developing a robust citizen contact list for future outreach 

Thanks to the coordination between our Alpha testing group and our Product and Engineering teams, local government service leaders like Danielle and her colleagues will build more engaging relationships with their citizens by adding convenient, time-saving technology as part of their communications strategy. Want to be the first to streamline your public services and open new lines of communication with your citizens? 

Click here to learn more about Conversations from SeeClickFix.


*CivicPlus Chatbot is powered by Frase.