How to Create Meaningful Connections With Residents Using Tailored Digital Experiences

The private sector has set the bar high for what defines a positive, digital service interaction. AI-powered chatbots are expediting customer service transactions, big brands are engaging with customers over social media, and email subscription options are becoming highly nuanced in options related to frequency and content. Local governments that have wanted to emulate these types of interactions have too long been hindered by public-sector technology systems that cannot deliver the types of personalized service interactions that parallel the private sector.

Finally, change is coming in the form of tech gov that can redefine what a positive digital resident interaction looks like. Accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic and local governments’ need to rapidly migrate services online, local governments have an opportunity to continue providing high-quality service to residents using time-saving tools and automations.

HOW INNOVATIVE DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY IS RAISING RESIDENT EXPECTATIONS

Smart technology is everywhere, and it is training residents to expect digital experiences that are highly personalized and tailored. To keep up with these expectations, it’s important to prioritize the development of tech-based solutions to the forefront of your strategy for providing high levels of customer service satisfaction.

One online survey asked 124 mayors their main areas of focus going forward as the landscape of local government interactions continues to change due to a COVID-19 shining a spotlight on the need for contactless services. The survey found that 63 percent said they’d be prioritizing and expanding online city services, and 97 percent mentioned the need to invest in technology, specifically to reimagine how buildings could be used.

Chatbots are being utilized more heavily across all sectors, and these solutions are already a big part of local government online resources and continue to grow in popularity. An online survey indicates that up to 64 percent of counties are either currently utilizing chatbots or plan to in the future, and the numbers are similar for local government at the municipal level.

Another indicator of a shift to a focus on digital solutions and experiences is the rise in digital transformation officer roles in organizations seeking to maximize the opportunities to engage and transact using the latest technology, software and digital solutions. The fact that organizations across sectors are identifying leadership roles dedicated to driving growth and development through technology is strong evidence that the expectations residents have when it comes to digital solutions will only grow higher and higher.

CUSTOMIZATION IS POSSIBLE

Technology can facilitate personalized digital interactions for residents without creating time-consuming tasks for local governments. In the past, personalized may have meant in-person attention, but now there are types of tech interactions that can create personalized experiences:

  • Chatbots – Even if you’re not sure exactly what it is you’re looking for, chatbots can create an efficient interaction that feels personalized, all with the power of artificial intelligence (AI) and automation doing the extensive searching for you and providing you with suggestions that are most likely to solve your problem.
  • Service subscription notification – When residents sign up to receive notifications from your website, they should be empowered to choose those specific topics that matter most to them and their family, such as when the public pool will be closed for maintenance or development progress on the new shopping center being developed in the town square.
  • Recreation software and catalogs – Having a comprehensive recreation programming listing as a part of your digital toolkit will allow residents to sign up for classes, events and programs online, but it can also suggest activities based on a resident’s past preferences, which can increase engagement and revenue, creating opportunities for additional future interactions and revenue potential.
  • Website AI – Consider software that can identify when a customer who was just browsing your local pet shelter web page and suggest to them related content like how to register their new pet, get them spayed / neutered, chipped, and what adoptions steps they can take[JM4] to bring a new fur baby into their home.

CREATING TRUST AND APPRECIATION THROUGH A PERSONALIZED APPROACH

Personalized experiences, whether in person or digital, can create positive civic experiences, resulting in trust and appreciation for your local government. Local governments looking to add to their tech stack should be sure that they are not only looking for options that are affordable, integrable and easy-to-use but solutions that empower personalization that can power positive civic experiences.

About the Author
As the CivicPlus® Director of Product Marketing, Jennifer focuses on understanding the challenges local governments face in communicating and engaging their residents. She ensures that the benefits of our Civic Experience Platform are communicated and being leveraged by our local government customers. She also leads the corporate marketing effort for CivicPlus and assists with communications and special project implementations.

Jennifer holds a bachelor of arts degree in mass communications and journalism with a minor in public relations from Kansas State University. She has over 17 years of experience in both the public and private sectors, handling internal and external audience communications with a focus on marketing.

About Us: CivicPlus® delivers technology that enables municipalities to optimize the experiences they deliver to residents. Over 7,500 local governments use our solutions when serving their 340 million residents. We deliver the industry’s only Civic Experience Platform, which enables municipalities to drive more revenue, operate more efficiently, and generate positive recognition.

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