When you think of the modern citizen, what comes to mind? Studies have shown that the majority of people, regardless of age, are digitally connected in some way, whether on social media, smart phone, or email. And modern citizens have high expectations; they want things to work, and work fast.
Slowly but surely, public services are starting to meet these expectations. But too often, organizations are looking to the future while still being weighed down by the institutions of the past. So how can you engage the modern citizen while still meeting the needs of the public?
In our most recent webinar, “5 Tips for Engaging the Modern Citizen,” Granicus’ Amelia Helm, Product Marketing Strategist, and Jackie Cole, Digital Engagement Strategist, discussed five easy ways to connect with citizens.
- Understand and Communicate the Need
Understanding the context of what citizens need is the most important first step. If you don’t understand your customer, how can you best design a technology to deliver what they need? This is the building block of a 21st-century public service.
Once you understand the need for delivering new ways to connect with citizens, the next step is to communicate the need within your organization. To make transitions that impact day-to-day in government, you’ll need support from the very top to make it work.
- Internal Audit of Services
It’s a good idea to examine how you’re currently connecting with citizens. How are services being provided right now at your organization? Are you enabling citizens to perform a variety of tasks (applying for permits, submitting payments for records, or other similar services) online, or must they visit your office from the hours of 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Monday-Friday to accomplish these services?
- Involve Citizens in the Process
How are modern citizens involved in your understanding of what they need? Input from those who will be directly impacted by new systems is invaluable. Gather feedback via a dedicated platform, on social media, or even in a public forum to determine where the gaps in communication exist. “Even trying a two question survey can often be enough to get real insight into the modern citizen needs,” said Helm.
- Allow Technology to Enter the Picture
When it comes to adopting technology, it’s important to prioritize the greatest need first. If there’s a program that desperately needs engagement, your attention should turn to that one first. Then, allow technology to enter the picture. The digital revolution is fundamental part of radically reshaping services. New user journeys and ways of working need to be digital first, with an infrastructure that is flexible and built on open standards
Prioritize the services and journeys that must be changed first, but remember that delivering on digital is not a “quick-fix” system. These transitions take time, and may cause a lot of disruptions to processes in the short term. Think big picture and what the future holds by not getting bogged down with outdated systems and processes.
- Test and Re-Test
Testing your new systems, once they’re in place, is the important final step in this process. When analyzing metrics, it’s important to remember that all metrics point to greater outcomes and strong engagement over time, whether good or bad. Building your digital strategy around metrics will tell you how well you’re doing at engaging the modern citizen.
Did you miss this week’s webinar on engaging the modern citizen? Watch the on-demand version of “5 Tips on Engaging the Modern Citizen” here.