Magazine article CRM Magazine

CRM: In the Public Interest: Government's Technological Future Is Beginning with Service Sites and Outreach Programs to Serve Constituents

Magazine article CRM Magazine

CRM: In the Public Interest: Government's Technological Future Is Beginning with Service Sites and Outreach Programs to Serve Constituents

Article excerpt

One of the first words that comes to mind when thinking about government is big--likely followed by slow, inefficient, and other less complimentary ones. To combat this negative image--and to serve citizens while doing so--governments ranging in size from small municipalities to federal institutions have increasingly been turning to technology to reach more people more easily. CRM has become a critical facet of those efforts to make sense of the tremendous volume of inquiries received, and the data involved. The gap now, some experts say, is the distance between the mere digital nature of e-government and the more-complex requirements of what's being called interactive government, or i-government.

"As we get further into e-government and i-government, CRM will be crucial," says Alan Webber, senior analyst in Forrester Research's government practice. "Government by its nature is inherently poor at listening, [but] is beginning to understand what its 'customers' want."

So when did CRM technology first start catching on in the public sector? "It's still not catching on in some, but where it is particularly strong is in local government in the United Kingdom as a result of a national strategy to improve the responsiveness of local authorities," says John Kost, group vice president of Gartner CIO Research. "That all started in the late 1990s. In the U.S., CRM became a major addition to tax-modernization systems starting about 2000 and then with 311 systems about the same time."

Kost notes that the citizen-information 311 systems (or their equivalent in other countries) have made municipal-level governments among the heaviest users of CRM. "Local governments are the only ones widely using CRM at the enterprise level," he says. "At national and state governments, certain agencies use it for high-volume customer service, but usually for only one kind of transaction."

One example from across the pond is Medway, which became one of the largest unitary authorities in England due to a 1998 reorganization that united the previously separate administrations of the City of Rochester and the boroughs of Gillingham and Chatham. As a unitary authority, Medway Council serves a population of a quarter of a million people, providing the full range of local government services, including education, environmental, social care, housing, planning, and much more.

After the unification, Medway was left with several legacy processes and technologies. After reviewing its CRM efforts during a 2006 performance assessment, Medway Council saw inefficiencies and instituted a program called Customer First to upgrade and consolidate inherited working practices and systems to maximize the customer experience. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.