Ramsey, MN Saves Hours of Monthly Manual Administration with CivicRec
Before its migration to CivicRec, Ramsey’s Parks & Recreation Assistant—who at the time was half of the department’s two-person staff—spent 24 to thirty hours per week on the phone with citizens coordinating facility reservations. According to Jason Fredrickson, City of Ramsey Information Technology Manager, when graduation season approached annually, the peak season for facility reservations, the Parks & Recreation Assistant’s time became nearly entirely consumed with manual request management and scheduling.
“Facility scheduling became a real challenge because our Assistant would be on the phone all day, every day, for weeks,” said Fredrickson.
At the time, the City of Ramsey was using a combination of manual documentation and Microsoft Outlook calendars to coordinate and document facility reservations. The Parks & Recreation Department needed a dedicated solution that would free-up the Assistant’s time for other initiatives, and that would allow citizens to self-service their scheduling needs.
“The reason we sought out a solution was in part to free-up our Assistant’s time, but it was also to have a centralized place to store information, to process payments online, and to provide a 24/7 self-service solution for citizens,” said Fredrickson. “And it was a good move. For what we’ve seen since going live, people are placing facility reservations at all hours of the day and night.”
A Single Platform and Partner
When it came time to select a recreation management software solution, the City of Ramsey chose to turn to its existing website solution provider.
“We reviewed a few software choices, but we have enjoyed the opportunity to tie our recreation management software in with our CivicEngage website. The continual innovation with CivicRec and the CivicPlus Platform steered our decision. It was an easy choice.”
During the implementation process, Fredrickson led the integration strategy, migrating the City’s existing data into the CivicRec system.
“Like our Parks & Recreation Department, our IT Department is small,” said Fredrickson. “As the project lead during the CivicRec implementation, I worked with our internal staff and our CivicRec team to learn the platform, configure the inner workings, and transition our manual processes into the CivicRec software.”
Today, thanks to the implementation of CivicRec’s self-service facility scheduling solution, the Parks & Recreation Department Assistant at the City of Ramsey spends significantly less time on the phone and can dedicate her focus to other vital projects.
“Our Assistant’s days are a lot less hectic,” said Fredrickson. “We went live with CivicRec at a time when she would normally be flooded with reservation calls,” said Fredrickson. “To help facilitate the transition, we notified some of our busiest and most tech-savvy groups and people of interest in advance about CivicRec. We watched the phones and monitored the online system closely during that first month. We immediately saw a reduction in volume and call duration. Having CivicRec available for people to go online and self-service their reservations allows us to expand the window during which people can place reservations.”
In addition to the self-service reservation functionality, CivicRec offers additional time-saving benefits for the City and its citizens.
“Over the last few years, the City of Ramsey has started to expand its community recreation programs include adding classes like dance, Zumba, yoga, art in the park for kids, exploring archery and star watching,” said Fredrickson. “For that initiative, in its infancy, we used Eventbrite, but it was confusing to people, especially those who had never used Eventbrite previously. This year, we migrated our class registrations to CivicRec, and we’ve received a lot of positive feedback. Our citizens appreciate being able to use the same system to register for an event that they use to reserve a facility.”
Administratively, the City of Ramsey is benefitting from CivicRec’s integrated payment functionality as well.
“We like having the ability to process refunds,” said Fredrickson. “We adapted our processes to take advantage of what the system can do for us, and it’s quite beneficial.”
Looking Ahead to Future Innovations
Today, Fredrickson and the Parks & Recreation Department are looking forward to the next release of CivicRec enhancements—part of CivicPlus’ commitment to continual improvements and innovations.
“There are some features CivicRec will be releasing soon that we’re really excited about. They’re going to continue to make our work easier.”