When you visit a primary care physician for the first time, you must fill out a questionnaire. It might take about 10 minutes to complete, but it’s no big deal because it seems essential. Now imagine going back to the same doctor on multiple occasions, each time having to fill out the same paperwork and answer the same questions. After the second time, you might assume the office made a mistake, but after the third or fourth occurrence, you’re wondering why they don’t know who you are by now. Finally, you grow tired of feeling like every visit is the first visit, and begin to doubt the office’s capabilities and whether you can place your trust in it.
Fortunately, you won’t have to worry about the above scenario in your doctor’s office. Still, it serves as an excellent example of how a resident can see an impersonal, generic interaction with their local government. Forcing a resident to re-enter data and navigate a process path that requires them to reidentify themselves continually, makes it challenging to create a positive civic experience. In fact, the opposite can happen rather quickly.
Meet Residents Growing Expectations for Tailored Content
Residents see a one-size-fits-all digital interaction as impersonal and inconvenient. Regarding your digital resources, a local business owner will likely have much different municipal needs than a college student who just arrived on campus, looking for a local parking permit. Serving these two individuals in the exact same way creates hurdles for both. Your job as a local governing body is to develop workflows and tailored interactions that address the user’s unique needs, rather than following a generic, self-service pathway.
Personalized interactions are the antithesis of a blanket approach, so by their very nature, these custom-feeling experiences can remove barriers for residents. Continue reading to find out how.
The Impact of Personalization on Trust and Transparency
Trust is a critical component of a productive relationship between your local government and the residents you serve. The fact that you can build trust by ensuring your interactions with residents are personalized, is a powerful revelation. Personalized digital interactions show your audience that you have a keen awareness and understanding of their needs and that you’ve invested resources in making their lives easier.
An individual who just moved to town might visit your municipal website looking for information on starting utility services. Consider all the other resources across your digital toolkit that could impact that resident and their family. Not only can you provide the answer to the initial question, but you can proactively offer an event calendar, an invitation to sign up for important community updates, an introduction to your community emergency plans and public safety organizations, recreation programming options, school resources, a move-in welcome packet, and more; helping to welcome and inform a newcomer to the community.
Residents notice when you care enough to make tailored recommendations to help them quickly address an issue or solve a problem. This trusting relationship keeps a resident engaged and returning for future interactions, as they feel like more than just a number in a queue.
Customizations to Keep Up with Rising Tech Expectations
It’s a tall task trying to keep up with the expectations of a digitally savvy population. Residents are more connected than ever, and the smartphones in their pockets are filled with apps that have set a high bar for unlimited access to news, information, and resources. Competing with the lofty expectations set by the private sector might seem daunting. After all, local governments are often faced with constrained budgets and are unable to assign dedicated teams to develop sophisticated apps or methods of integrating systems and data. The good news is that you can level the playing field. It is possible to compete and rival these modern, streamlined apps. You don’t have to create these efficiencies or rebuild these processes on your own.
CivicPlus® offers the most comprehensive suite of solutions that cover the full spectrum of municipal services and resources, offering tools for any sized government to position itself as an organization focused on the user experience and resident satisfaction. Specifically, our comprehensive solution suite allows residents to customize their civic experience like never before. Residents can sign up to receive notifications for specific categories on their preferred communication channels. A single sign-on experience can remove barriers for residents by facilitating a single login, across all CivicPlus solutions, or even utilizing social sign-on for more convenience and connectivity. In addition, you can create tailored customer service experiences through intuitive, artificial intelligence (A.I.)-based chatbot functionality; providing self-service options to residents who might need assistance locating a known or unknown resource.
Centralized Information through Integrated Solutions
Do your digital systems talk to one another? Are there barriers that make transactions difficult for users, as they’re forced to shift between siloed software? Disparate systems prevent valuable information from being shared. Creating personalized content relies upon a strong foundation of information and data sharing across channels. Centralized data stored in the hub of an omnichannel system gives you the best chance to provide a consistent and efficient experience for your residents.
An investment in technology is a must to build a foundational, digital engagement hub and create uniformity across your communication channels. Consider how many vendors you currently utilize for different departments, payment processes, meeting management, online forms, recreation programming, and more. Vendor consolidation is one of the easiest and most efficient ways to achieve centralized information that can create a robust, personalized experience, using information shared seamlessly from one end of your software stack to the other.
Creating personalized interactions for your community leads to more trust, more engagement, and ultimately, more revenue opportunities for your municipality. These personalized experiences rely on solid foundations of actionable data and shared information across solutions. Vendor consolidation and a transition to an omnichannel provider can be a long-term investment opportunity to create this robust collection of connected data. Using this data, you can create targeted content for residents that provides a shortcut to meaningful and impactful resources and the most convenient and efficient processes.