Increasing efficiency can often be a challenging task and can come at a cost. Whether it be increased monetary costs to implement a new process in your workplace, or increased labour costs to train and bring on new staff, efficiency comes at a price. But imagine if you could implement a digital municipal citizen engagement solution for your community. One that looks to improve your residents’ engagement and overall satisfaction, and also benefit by handling more service requests with shorter turnaround times.
The Necessity of a Digital Solution for Municipal Citizen Engagement
In our increasingly digital world, properly implemented digital options are no longer a luxury. They are a demand. Consumers expect the solution to their problem to be solvable online – often without needing to speak to a person at all. This expectation has existed in private industry for quite some time and has now pivoted to government services as well.
Not providing a digital option has some very negative consequences. The customer will be significantly more dissatisfied or even worse, will choose not to engage at all. What this means for a municipality is that there is a large subset of your population that will avoid interacting with their local government if there is no digital solution provided for them.
Of course, providing this option for your residents will be a primary benefit. In fact, there is evidence showing that having a properly developed citizen engagement tool online can lead to improvements in the municipality for both citizens and leaders. However, there is another added benefit that isn’t as frequently discussed when looking at implementing a citizen engagement solution – the benefit of getting more done without needing to increase resources.
The Cost of Efficiency
Efficiency is something that is constantly strived for, whether it be private companies or government operations at any level. By definition, increasing efficiency allows you to get more done with the same or fewer resources. In a business, this might allow you to deliver your product or service more quickly or decrease the overall cost of creating your product. For a municipality, it might mean decreasing the time it takes to close a resident’s service request ticket.
On this topic, you might reasonably ask if a citizen engagement program might have a downside of decreasing efficiency. You are opening your staff to more communication with citizens and therefore increasing the volume of service requests coming in, and both staff and citizens both have to learn a new system. In other words, better citizen engagement could come at a cost to your department. Now imagine if you could increase the volume of service requests handled by your municipality AND at the same time increase the overall efficiency with which these are addressed. Let us look at how that’s possible.
We recently went through our customers’ usage habits to figure out basic information on how our customers are using AccessE11. Almost by accident, we discovered clear and direct links between engagement of citizens and increased efficiency within the municipality. To understand this better, let’s look at how staff and residents are using AccessE11 to submit service requests.
The first piece of data is quite simple – submissions of service requests using AccessE11 over the past five years. Although this is straightforward, it is a very good sign. It shows that the longer a municipality has been a customer of AccessE11, the more frequently they are using it to streamline their service request process.
And this is not just the case for larger municipalities. In general, smaller municipalities might think that there is less need for digital solutions to meet the needs of their communities, but our customers are living proof that it is often the residents of smaller municipalities who crave engagement with their local government. One of our current customers, Hastings Highlands, is a wonderful example of how a well-executed digital solution can positively impact a small municipality.
So, this is all great, albeit somewhat expected data. However, you might be asking “what does this have to do with efficiency?” Well, that’s where a third set of data sheds some light, and this was discovered entirely by accident. Analyzing the usage data and looking at trends, we discovered something amazing. Given the first two charts, it’s easy to see that usage of AccessE11 by staff and citizens is increasing year over year. However, this data doesn’t address efficiency and simply focuses on total usage. But let’s look at this next chart.
This is a chart that takes all service requests raised over the past six years and looks at how long it takes for each service request to resolve and be closed. In aggregate, time to close is VASTLY decreased year over year.
What Does This Mean?
So, what does this mean for your municipality? It means that adopting a strong digital solution for municipal citizen engagement and managing service requests not only increases community contribution and overall satisfaction, but it also increases efficiency internally. Increasing efficiency leads to a direct savings of resources for your departments. Whether that be time, money, or a combination of both, your municipality can see a significant increase in service requests and still decrease the time it takes to manage these requests. Best of all, because AccessE11 is designed specifically for small to medium municipalities, it is created with your specific challenges in mind.
Don’t wait any longer to implement a solution for your municipality. The demand for digital services increases year over year. It is quickly becoming a requirement for every facet of business and life. Signing up for AccessE11 will give your community a strong, adaptable solution to manage service requests, increase your efficiency, and end up saving money rather than costing money.