Source: Evelina Moulder, ICMA, 2007
With funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, ICMA is conducting the first ever national study on 311 and related customer service technology used by local governments in the United States. The study will explore the benefits of and barriers to local governments adopting integrated systems for customer service. A national survey of local governments, together with information collected from a series of in-depth case studies, will help create a portrait of how local governments are using such systems to respond to citizen needs and build the local government-constituent relationship. When viewed together, the survey results and findings from the case study research will present current practices and successful implementation of coordinated systems for customer service.
Source: Ellen Perlman, Governing, Vol. 21 no. 10, July 2008
Cities and counties want to take the next step in call-center services, but neither their pocketbooks nor their partners are ready to reorganize.
Source: Roger Matus, Sean True, and Chuck Ingold, InBoxer, Inc., 2007
Public schools and local governments may have more stringent requirements than most businesses for email archiving and electronic discovery. Yet, with their limited budgets, schools and local governments are often the least equipped to respond.
The newly revised Federal Rules of Civil Procedure define how email must be handled in federal court cases. Businesses tend to think that the FRCP focus is on interstate lawsuits. Schools and governments, however, also need to be concerned with emails relating to federally funded activities or any activity governed by federal legislation.
In addition, schools and local governments have the burden of responding to (1) requests under open meeting and Freedom of Information Act laws, (2) offensive emails or those with sexual content involving students, and (3) emailed threats.
Source: Cory Fleming, and Bryan Barnhouse, Public Management, December 2006, Volume 88, no. 11
Local governments exist to serve the needs of their residents, but determining the needs of these customers is not a simple task, whether in a community of a few thousand people or in a city with millions of residents. Defining and providing excellent customer service in local government also differs from these processes regarding customer service in the business community.
Local governments must provide equitable services to all residents, whereas businesses can vary their service levels based on a customer’s ability to pay. So, how do local governments determine customer needs and offer better customer service to their residents?