Magazine article CRM Magazine

Yes Pecan!

Magazine article CRM Magazine

Yes Pecan!

Article excerpt

DOWNWARD economic forces will likely encourage more government agencies to invest in automation and productivity-enhancing technologies. With open minds, government officials can turn customer relationship management (CRM) into citizen relationship management.

Despite a reputation for being secure, government jobs are not immune from the recession. Already, state and local governments have announced plans to slash jobs, or reduce working hours. In November, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) warned it might cut 40,000 jobs, which would mark the first layoff in American postal history. The Postmaster General followed this bombshell with a January suggestion that massive deficits may force the USPS to cut mail delivery to five days a week.

Cutbacks are already making their way into state and local governments as well. Naturally, government agencies will be required to do more with less. Government contact centers, for example, may notice a spike in calls from cash-strapped citizens looking for food stamps, unemployment services, and other government aid. This is where automation can help.

But to get government buy-in, some officials need to change the way they view their constituencies. "In the government space, there is a [reluctance] to refer to the citizen as a customer, and that mindset has to go away. You have to be comfortable with thinking of your citizens as customers, even if you don't call them that," says one industry pundit in our cover story, "We the People" (page 20), by Assistant Editor Christopher Musico. This feature cites a few examples of government efforts, such as New York City's 311 nonemergency support line, that use CRM technology to do more with less.

"Doing more with less" is a popular maxim that many organizations are forced to adopt. People have been hearing this mantra for years and are probably hearing it more today. …

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