3 Actionable Steps Toward Resident-Centric Local Government


Government services should be designed with resident usability in mind as residents are the people who will access services most. Municipalities across the nation work diligently to provide top-tier digital experiences for their residents, though the process is not always easy. Providing resident-centric experiences involves planning, strategizing, and executing engagement plans — which is easier said than done in some cases. Fortunately, there are solutions that assist with each step along the way and make it easier for residents to access services.

Granicus created a list of three actionable steps that local government can take to provide resident-centric experiences.

1. Conduct a resident-centric audit

Understanding essential stakeholders like residents will help local governments prosper with their engagement strategy and plan and scale for the future. When agencies recognize residents’ needs and their preference for accessing services, whether it be smartphone, laptop, or in-person visits, it leads them to make more informed decisions and better serve their community. Most people in a community desire access to services that are relevant to them — utility billing, parks and recreation, library services, etc. A local government can make informed decisions by taking an audit of the current services provided and the processes associated with those services.

Audit questions may include:
•  What are all the services your local government currently provides?
•  What are the steps residents must take to access those services?
•  How do your community members currently find information about these processes?

When the audit concludes, local governments can take steps to build customer-centric experiences that model residents’ top services and reflect channels that are intuitive and user-friendly, like smartphone apps or laptops.

Overarching checklist for positive resident digital experiences:
•  Interactive features that allow for resident self-service
•  Clear, easy-to-find information displayed.
•  Supported with low-code/no-code solutions.
•  Simple interfaces and design
•  Repeatable, measurable processes
•  Capabilities that adapt as users’ preferences change

2. Empower city staff in their roles

Public-facing services require operations across multiple departments. For example, it’s common for a public works department to be responsible for street repair, sidewalk repair, and capital improvements, whereas the 311 department is responsible for 311 requests, a knowledge base, and resident-facing comments. Grouping government services by departments is necessary as different departments have specialties and resources that allow tasks to be completed efficiently.

The structure can be complex, and residents may not know the operations internally. Residents don’t care that the transportation services department oversees the broken stoplight in their neighborhood, they just want the broken stoplight repaired. When local governments give staff the technology to support them in their roles, residents have more positive sentiments toward their local government.

3. Use resident-centric technology and break siloes.

Public sector organizations across the nation are embracing a government CRM (constituent relationship manager) to break siloes, automate workflows, improve resident engagement, foster transparency, and more. Essentially, the technology allows residents to submit and track service requests until completion, requests like pothole repair, graffiti, illegal dumping, and more on their preferred device (smartphone, tablet, laptop). Internally, the request is automatically sent to the appropriate department, using integrations to insert the complete request into the asset management system. As the agency completes the request, automated updates are sent to residents based on the request’s progression through stages in the asset management system.

Residents feel empowered because they have control over resolving their public service requests, and city staff feel empowered because they have automated workflows to help them complete tasks. Local governments like Cranbrook, BC, embraced a government CRM and found efficiencies within its 311 processes and fewer resident complaints. Further, the CRM allows municipalities to track and gauge interactions between residents and local government. These tracked interactions help local governments form actionable insights into residents’ thoughts, behaviors, and actions, allowing for more informed decision-making for resource allocation.

Bottom Line: Maintaining resident-centric local governments isn’t always easy, and that’s why technology helps support public agencies in serving residents. For a more resident-centric local government, conduct a resident audit, empower city staff, and use technology that embraces this process.

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