We live in a wonderful period of time where nearly everything we want and do is quick and convenient. In fact, in most cases, you can complete transactions within minutes. With convenience at hand, it has changed our expectations. Whether it’s at a restaurant, movie theater, or retail store, we expect to be served with little or no waiting. Connectivity allows us to have groceries ready for pick-up or delivered right to our door. If you need a ride, you can order one and have it waiting for you at your home or on any street corner. If you’re hungry, there are plenty of drive-n or eat-in restaurants where you’ll get tasty food fast.
Due to budgeting constraints and legislative tie-ups, local governments have been slower to add technology which creates a faster, more satisfying experience for citizens. Many local governments are still using outdated paper processes and haven’t ventured out into the digital world. The lack of digital tools and processes means that citizens have a limited number of ways to pay for their bills and services. Local governments limit them further by not making it possible for citizens to conduct their business outside of normal business hours.
For local governments that are interested in building a better citizen experience, technology offers a great way to create a customer-focused mindset that allows municipalities to better serve its citizens.
5 Steps That Build a Better Citizen Experience
With very little effort or cost, your local government can utilize a customer-focused website and citizen portal that will demonstrate value, increased civic engagement, and improve trust and transparency. Community by Diligent takes the design elements of corporate board management systems and customized it to the needs of local government citizens.
The following five steps explain how to maximize your system so that you can provide the people in your community with a better citizen experience.
Attract and engage a wide population.
The more citizens that you can attract to your website and encourage them to complete transactions and interact online, the more engaged and involved they’re likely to become. The larger numbers of people that use your services online, the more valuable your digital tools become. It will be easier and more accurate to measure the impact of implementing digital processes by counting your savings rather than counting impressions and activity to your website.
Use offline sources to direct citizens to online services.
As much as it takes time for local governments to acclimate to using digital services, it sometimes takes citizens even longer. It will take a bit of time to introduce new services to your citizens and encourage them to start using them. Use offline contacts like billboards, newsletters, postings, and flyers to redirect citizens to links where they can register for online services that are quicker and easier to use. Once they see how easy it is to pay for services, obtain documents, and get alerts for emergencies and weather, it will alleviate their hesitation about signing up for anything new. By optimizing your website, it will direct citizens to the parts of your website where they can find preferred content.
Connect all government apps and tools seamlessly.
Your website should reflect all the niceties of your communities. Design a welcoming, online space that is intuitive and user-friendly where citizens can arrange for all public services like garbage pick-up, paying utilities, purchasing permits, parking fees, etc. with one easy login. Make it even easier to attract citizens by partnering with other government agencies to make all services convenient. For example, add a link to your local government site to the county site where they can pay property taxes and access other services. You can also add pop-up bubbles to inform visitors of other valuable ways to use the site. Your citizens will also appreciate the convenience of a chatbox where they can chat with a staff member to get specific questions answered.
Target your audience.
To effectively reach your citizens, it helps to have a little knowledge of digital marketing. There are certain strategies that you can use to attract online search engines to your site, optimize it for your target audience, and segment your audience. Such strategies will help direct the right demographics of people to the right sections of your website, making it just that much more valuable. If your content is relevant, it will capture and engage the right audience. Be sure to obey the CAN-SPAM Act, respect their privacy, and refrain from deluging them with emails.
By implementing a Community by Diligent web portal, you will be able to elicit feedback from your constituents. This is the best way to find out what is and isn’t working for them. Getting valuable feedback will also help you to streamline and identify digital services even further. Through their comments, you will learn more about the ease of navigation, transparency, and functioning of your site. You’ll also learn more about what their needs are and be better able to answer their questions.
Don’t forget that your employees are citizens who also use your local government services. Their feedback is equally useful and valuable. By getting this information, it will allow you to act on their feedback and communicate updates and changes which will draw even more visitors to your site.
Some Final Thoughts on Building a Better Citizen Experience
Local governments may have been lagging behind the rest of the world with technology, but that can all change when you implement Community by Diligent where you can offer your citizens a truly connected experience. With the right board management software solution, you can offer your citizens a truly modern government citizen experience. Community provides you with an opportunity to streamline and automate many of the tasks you now have which is a great benefit for government staff and those they serve. With Community by Diligent, your citizens get the same quick and convenient customer service that they expect and are already getting everywhere else in town.