How local governments improve service delivery with a single citizen view

Understanding what matters most to your citizens will put you in a better position to deliver the most value to them.

Finding cost-effective ways to deliver benefits and support constituents is key to establishing a thriving government. There are many ways in which local governments can bring value to their communities. But what constitutes value? Ultimately, it depends on who is being asked.

Understanding what matters most to your citizens will put you in a better position to deliver the most value to them. Eventually, satisfying constituents will translate into broader support from your local community, a willingness to contribute to the common good, and a vote of confidence in the next election cycle.

When governments are unaware of the concerns of their constituents, in contrast, it creates the opposite effect, which is why public servants want to ensure that the taxpayer dollars are being put in the right places to make the most impact.

Local governments have a special advantage in this respect: They typically have a closer connection to their residents compared to the larger state and federal agencies. Moreover, they are uniquely positioned to positively impact people’s lives, simply because they’re closer to the point of direct need.

How can they provide outstanding services to their citizens? The answer lies in gaining a 360° view of their constituents. True excellence in local government requires a data-driven perspective.

First, identify what matters most

Businesses deploy customer relationship management technology and advanced data analytics to ensure that they’re serving their customers well, eliminating common causes of frustration, and identifying the things that matter most. This is the essence of many of the digital transformation initiatives we see unfolding in both the private and public sectors.

When members of the community interact with government officials, they may need to speak to several different people to get their questions answered. That means explaining their problem more than once or answering the same series of questions several times over, which negatively affects the customer experience. Local governments can address this problem by using software technology to document each service request and make the handoff process smoother and easier.

Personalize the citizen experience

Government can take this process to a deeper level by personalizing the citizen experience. Let’s consider a few examples of how this might play out in the real world.

Imagine that you’re looking at ways to serve the elderly members of your community better. You will learn that many senior citizens have trouble getting to the store and would benefit from a shuttle bus service that could take them to the local shopping center once or twice a week. By mapping your local population of people 65 and older, you can identify the transportation routes that would serve the widest possible range of senior citizens, while still operating at a reasonable cost.

That calls for a data-driven approach in which population density and demographics can be overlaid on a map showing roads, traffic, and retail amenities.

Consider another example: your local council wants to build a skate park for children and teenagers. You’re sending out a notice to community members letting them know about the grand opening and advertising a “safe skateboarding” class to be held in the coming month. It makes little sense to spend public money advertising the event to home-bound seniors or single professionals. Just as a smart business builds its marketing plan around targeted messages, local governments can tailor their communications so they’re delivering the right messages to the right people in their communities.

A data-driven approach to constituent service

Both of these examples share a common theme: They rely on thorough, accurate data about the citizens who live in the area.

In order to make sense of the citizen data, local governments need to proactively foster accuracy and consistency for a holistic view of their constituents. Local officials must understand their communities from a multichannel perspective. That means communicating seamlessly and consistently, no matter who and where they are.

The ability to provide the right information at the right time to facilitate a frictionless interaction – that’s the final goal.

It is becoming increasingly more difficult for local governments to better understand citizenry needs and provide impeccable service at every point of contact. However, these initiatives can only be effective if the data being relied upon can be trusted. Maximizing the integrity of the data that will drive the organization’s strategies requires integrating siloed data, measuring its quality, adding location intelligence, and enriching it with third-party data. A clear data strategy is needed for success, and that means investing in data integrity.

The most critical insights are hiding in your existing data. To gain a full 360-degree view of the people in their communities, local officials and councils must unlock that information by bringing data together into a single view. That means cleansing, standardizing and validating data on a single platform and linking the information from various sources in ways that can deliver new insights.

In the past, to get this type of information, local governments needed to work with costly external consultants. Such initiatives generally took a lot of time to implement, so the insights they generated would quickly become outdated.

By using a modern single view solution, any user can produce sophisticated models and gain insights in just hours instead of weeks. With the right tools, local government agencies can discover new patterns, visualize real-time insights, and confidently make decisions that drive value for their communities.

Brad Steer is Precisely’s vice president of public sector.


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